Mavs Thanksgiving Donuts: Donnie On How Luka Doncic Has Altered the Timetable

Mike Fisher

DONUT 1: THE TIMETABLE The Dallas Mavericks are, at 11-6, way ahead of schedule. And the reason, of course, is that Luka Doncic's climb to brilliance is way ahead of schedule.

"Guys who come from Europe don't generally take the Luka Path,'' Mavs GM Donnie Nelson tells via our Mavs Step Back Podcast. "(But) he was playing against men at the age of 16. It's usually .. more of a gradual gestation. But he was thrown into the deep end at an early age and learned how to swim and swim well. Whether at Real Madrid or here ... He loves big moments.

"I didn't know we'd been this good this fast,'' Donnie tells us. "But we'll take it.''

DONUT 2: SO, TITLE CONTENTION, NEXT, RIGHT? In this area, Donnie seems to be asking us to tap the brakes.

"Luka off to an exceptional start,'' Donnie said. "At the tender age of 20, there is a big upside. ... His tapestry is just in the making.


"It's real early,'' Donnie said. "We knew this was going to be a year of them learning to play together. With Kris, it's all brand-new, real-time. 'The Unicorn' is a perfect nickname, But this is Kris' year where he learns to play under (coach) Rick's (Carlisle) system, learns to play with Luka and teammates. We just have to be patient with the process.''

So ... wildly exciting and tap the brakes, too. Right?

P.S.: Is Donnie telling us that we now have permission to call Kristaps Porzingis "Kris''? It sure would be easier to type every day, I'll tell you that.

DONUT 3: DONNIE PODCAST Want more from Donnie and our Mavs Step Back Podcast gang?

We talk to the GM, to the coaches, to the scouts, to the players and to Mark Cuban, the owner who endorses the Podcast as the best in the biz. So, yes. You want more. Dig in.

DONUT 4: ROLLER-COASTER The Luka success is inarguable. He's the Player of the Week in the West, he's a poster boy for all things Mavs, he's going to the All-Star Game, and he's following up on his Rookie of the Year victory with "MVP'' buzz.

Or ... should we slow down on that? Stay tuned. DBcom is on it.

DONUT 5: PROOF IN THE WINNING The Mavs' walloping of the Warriors created a blowout situation for Luka and some others to carry a lighter load - and moved Dallas to fifth in the West. (Game story here.)

And then came another step forward, the gigantic win at Houston on Sunday. (Gamer here and podcast on the game here.)

DONUT 5: PROOF IN THE NOT WINNING The Mavs climbed to 11-5 before getting slapped down on Tuesday by the Clippers. And why? As our Matt Galatzan writes here, Dallas went up against its apparent "Kryptonite.''

DONUT 6: QUOTABLE “"You have two wing players (on the Clippers) that are probably the most physical wing players – and the most athletic wing players – in the game. They are big, they are strong, and they are highly-skilled. Their centers are both very physical in different ways, and their guards play physical. They pick you up full-court and they hound you. This is a game we have to learn from and do better next time.” - Coach Rick Carlisle.

DONUT 7: BY THE NUMBERS The Mavs, via @bobbykaralla, are 9-1 when they shoot at least 35 percent from 3 this season and are 2-5 when they don't. 

DONUT 8: HOW ABOUT A LITTLE TRADE? Our Matt Galatzan does a nice job here dissecting what he believes Dallas needs to get over the hump - well, the next hump, as obviously the timetable with Luka plus the trade for KP represents the overcoming of some humps already.

So how about a trade - nothing too pipe-dreamy - to push Dallas up and over the next level? Read Matt G's analysis here. 

DONUT 9: HOW ABOUT A BIG TRADE? Or ... let's "Go Big or Go Home,'' as they like to say on TNT. Our Dalton Trigg attacks the hump from another angle - and it is an ambitious attack, no doubt.

Should the Mavs trade for Detroit's Blake Griffin? Can they? How? Read all about it here.

(Oh, and no, Local Paper. This isn't "click-bait'' or "fake news.'' It's a very sharp analysis of a very insightful idea, and billed as exactly that - nothing less and nothing more.)

DONUT 10: HOW ABOUT A TRADE SCOOP? DBcom leaves ESPN in the dust on the story of Dallas' trade interest in Andre Iguodala. Start here with the original scoop, and then click here for our advancing of the ball.

Almost 21 years in, and DBcom and The 75-Member Staff is still the best there is at covering your Dallas Mavericks. 

DONUT 11: EXCLUSIVE-EXCLUSIVE DBcom is also proud to be first to a very cool downtown Dallas story.

Luka mural

 What Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is doing, says coach Rick Carlisle, is the result of him being "an artist.'' So it makes perfect sense that a spin through Dallas would take us to a wall mural to celebrate the Art of Luka. Or, at least, Luka as Art. Check it out here.

DONUT 12: WHAT'S ON TAP “It is  Luka.Dallas hits the road starting Friday at Phoenix, then a Sunday matinee at the Lakers, and then bouncing back across the country to play at New Orleans on Tuesday before returning home. The Suns have been impressive enough to be mediocre, record-wise. The Pels are way below that.

The Lakers? They enter the weekend at 16-2. All of these matter, but the premium test is in L.A.

DONUT 13: THE FINAL WORD " - MFFLs, my family and The 75-Member Staff and I are very appreciative of your support of our 21-year coverage of the Dallas Mavericks. Thank you so much, and Happy Thanksgiving.