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Old 02-27-2020, 05:43 PM   #1521
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Does Devin Harris get a phone call now?
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Old 02-27-2020, 05:52 PM   #1522
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Just for source purposes..

Tim MacMahon: Sources: The Mavs fear backup PG Jalen Brunson has a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Brunson, a lefty, has been ruled out the remaining two games of this road trip but plans to return at some point and play the remainder of the season. Postseason surgery is a possibility. –
I mean, if he can play the rest of the season, then I'm don't see a huge issue if he needs surgery in the offseason.
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Old 02-28-2020, 06:29 PM   #1523
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Question is, can he be effective?
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:02 AM   #1524
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MKG article to the Players Tribune.

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en...christ-hornets
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Old 03-02-2020, 01:42 PM   #1525
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MKG article to the Players Tribune.

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en...christ-hornets

Props to MKG for keeping it real. Props to MJ for not treating MKG differently when his ceiling became apparent.
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Old 03-02-2020, 02:30 PM   #1526
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MKG article to the Players Tribune.

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en...christ-hornets
Wow, great read. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-05-2020, 04:52 PM   #1527
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Will Curry ever slow down? I'm so glad we have him on a four-year deal for less than the MLE
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Old 03-06-2020, 01:24 PM   #1528
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A formal job offer was given to Dirk according to sources. -per Shams
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Old 03-06-2020, 02:03 PM   #1529
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A formal job offer was given to Dirk according to sources. -per Shams
The Mavericks have a standing formal job offer to franchise and NBA icon Dirk Nowitzki, according to sources. Nowitzki has not yet wanted to accept a formal role. Dallas officials said during Nowitzki’s final season a year ago that he would be given a position of his choosing upon retirement.
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Old 03-06-2020, 02:05 PM   #1530
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Tim Reynolds: The NBA announced today that Commissioner Adam Silver has denied the Dallas Mavericks’ protest of their February 22 game against the Atlanta Hawks and fined Mavericks Governor Mark Cuban $500,000 for his public criticism and detrimental conduct regarding NBA officiating.
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Old 03-06-2020, 02:24 PM   #1531
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Tim Reynolds: The NBA announced today that Commissioner Adam Silver has denied the Dallas Mavericks’ protest of their February 22 game against the Atlanta Hawks and fined Mavericks Governor Mark Cuban $500,000 for his public criticism and detrimental conduct regarding NBA officiating.
Bad officiating isn't the problem. People pointing it out are the problem.
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Old 03-06-2020, 04:40 PM   #1532
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They are basically saying that it is ok for a basket to count that occurred after a stoppage.
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Old 03-06-2020, 05:22 PM   #1533
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Tim Reynolds: The NBA announced today that Commissioner Adam Silver has denied the Dallas Mavericks’ protest of their February 22 game against the Atlanta Hawks and fined Mavericks Governor Mark Cuban $500,000 for his public criticism and detrimental conduct regarding NBA officiating.
Hopefully Cuban will chill out and voice his displeasure via email or phone calls to the league moving forward

I don't think it helps the team to public call out the refs because of that incident in 2006 didn't help out
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Old 03-06-2020, 05:36 PM   #1534
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I never understood the notion that refs are above criticism. Players aren't, coaches aren't, yet refs it's like they're above it all. They get paid pretty well, maybe not like the players but they make more than the average U.S. citizen for referring a game. I'm not saying they're job is easy, but I just don't see where if they make a mistake and a player, coach or owner calls them out on it why they get fined. It's one thing if a player gets into a physical altercation with the ref or something along those lines that can't be allowed, but just saying words it just reeks of "we don't care if you're right or not, we're trying to protect our league"

The league not only defends the refs actions when they're wrong they double down and fine the person who rightfully calls them out. Probably why we had the ref scandal with Donaughy and other refs.

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Old 03-06-2020, 11:08 PM   #1535
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So what good is a protest if the league won't correct their mistakes when the team protesting a call is correct?
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Old 03-07-2020, 12:10 AM   #1536
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Adrian Wojnarowski
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NBA statement: A team owner’s effort to influence refereeing decisions during and after a game creates perception of an unfair competitive advantage and thereby undermines the integrity of the game. Demeaning league employees also creates an intimidating workplace environment. https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1235998498509582336
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Old 03-07-2020, 12:10 AM   #1537
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The NBA fined Dallas owner Mark Cuban $500,000 on Friday for “public criticism and detrimental conduct” regarding officiating. Separately, the league sent a memo to teams reminding them of rules that govern conduct of owners, coaches and other team personnel during games.

The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, laid out parameters for proper conduct by team personnel toward game officials, how team personnel other than coaches are not allowed on the court during games and how they cannot use “profane or objectionable language that might be heard by spectators” during the game.

Further, it said the league’s “enforcement of these rules with enhanced penalties will be a point of emphasis for the league office” during the rest of the season and beyond.

The memo about the rules of conduct for team personnel does not mention Cuban specifically, though he typically sits near the Mavericks’ bench during games.

The first order of business Friday was NBA Commissioner Adam Silver denying the Mavericks’ protest of the outcome of a Feb. 22 game against Atlanta. Dallas contended that goaltending rules were misapplied when a late basket by Atlanta’s John Collins was counted. Collins scored as a whistle was blown and goaltending of a layup attempt by the Hawks’ Trae Young was called on Dallas’ Dorian Finney-Smith. Collins grabbed Young’s miss and scored, as confusion reigned.

“What I’ll say on the record is hopefully they’ll let us release our actual filing of the protest,” Cuban said Friday before the Mavericks’ home game against Memphis. “I’m waiting to hear back from them. Then everybody gets to see why we thought it needed to be protested.”

Cuban also said he would match the fine with a donation that would include funding the heart transplant of a local man.

Officiating crew chief Rodney Mott told a pool reporter that night after Atlanta’s 111-107 win that “the original call on the floor was a goaltend” and that Collins’ basket was allowed because “the ball was blocked and reviewed. The ball hit the rim, so it was deemed an inadvertent whistle. ... Because (Collins) was in his shooting motion when my whistle blew, it’s deemed continuation, so therefore the basket counts.”

The NBA said that after the game, Cuban “walked onto the court and approached game officials shaking his head and directing comments toward them” and noted that was the second time he was on the court to challenge a call that night.

“Following the game, Mr. Cuban spoke to reporters in the arena and tweeted several times that night and into the next day with comments that were highly critical, personal and demeaning to the league and its officiating staff,” the league said.

Cuban’s $500,000 fine raised the total that NBA has fined him over the years to at least $3.1 million, and the Mavericks’ owner has said in the past that he always donates the equivalent of the fine amount to charity simultaneously. This was the third time a fine of at least $500,000 against Cuban was announced by the league; he was fined $500,000 for comments about officiating in 2002 and $600,000 in 2018 for public comments on tanking.

“Team personnel who watch games from seats, especially seats near the court, should set a positive example for fans by ensuring that any isolated comments directed at the game officials or the officiating are respectful and appropriate,” the league said in its memo. “Of course, brief social interactions resulting from courtesy between team personnel and game officials are always permitted.”
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Old 03-11-2020, 04:48 PM   #1538
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Article on The Athletic about Luka for those that have a subscription.

https://theathletic.com/1667603/2020...g-luka-doncic/
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Old 03-13-2020, 03:39 PM   #1539
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Brunson has surgery to repair a torn labrum. Out indefinitely.
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Old 03-13-2020, 04:55 PM   #1540
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Brunson has surgery to repair a torn labrum. Out indefinitely.
Might as well. We may not play another game until July.
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Old 03-13-2020, 05:14 PM   #1541
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Article on The Athletic about Luka for those that have a subscription.

https://theathletic.com/1667603/2020...g-luka-doncic/
Great read!
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:07 PM   #1542
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Great read!
Care to share for those without a subscription? Mods, is that allowed? Not sure if there are rules against posting articles like that.
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Old 03-14-2020, 12:42 AM   #1543
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I don‘t have a sub! You get several free articles per month!
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Old 03-14-2020, 06:57 AM   #1544
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Care to share for those without a subscription? Mods, is that allowed? Not sure if there are rules against posting articles like that.
Twenty years after discovering Dirk Nowitzki in the German wine country, the Dallas Mavericks find Luka Doncic, another generational player from Central Europe, in the city of Madrid. The “Wonder Boy” from Ljubljana, Slovenia, this kid who first attracted the Mavericks’ attention as a 13-year-old and whose talents once inspired their executives to hide out in a nondescript hotel on a scouting trip just to disguise their affections, takes fewer than two seasons to assert himself as an MVP candidate who can carry their franchise for the next two decades.

The serendipity of it all is nothing short of storybook.

And how’s this for a reminder that the draft has the power to both humble or help any team: If Mavs owner Mark Cuban hadn’t overruled general manager Donnie Nelson in 2013 when he wanted to take a skinny Greek kid named Giannis Antetokounmpo, who would go on to become the reigning MVP, Dallas would never have been in this position to begin with. Plan Bs don’t turn out much better than this.

But why were the Mavericks so convinced that Doncic was the one, and how exactly did the years-long process of Finding Luka unfold? It has been just 20 months since Doncic came to Dallas, and he’s already producing numbers matched only by LeBron James at this age while looking destined for the Hall of Fame.

To understand how the team picking fifth overall in the 2018 NBA Draft found the player who looks on track to be the best of that bunch, The Athletic spoke to Mavericks officials most responsible for bringing him to town and others close to Doncic who played a pivotal part.

SEPTEMBER 2017

Roberto Carmenati doesn’t travel to Istanbul to take in the EuroBasket knockout stage. Instead, he watches it on live television from his home in Fabriano, a cozy comune of 30,000 located in the Marche region of Central Italy. As an international scout for the Dallas Mavericks, Carmenati first heard about Luka Doncic years ago. But as he watches this 17-year-old dazzle for the Slovenian national team en route to the country’s first championship, Carmenati becomes increasingly convinced: This is the guy.

After Doncic scores 27 points against Latvia – while facing, ironically, his future teammate Kristaps Porzingis – Carmenati texts his own teammates, Alvydas Pazdrazdis, the Mavericks’ director of international scouting, and Tony Ronzone, the team’s director of player personnel.

“Luka’s doing magic,” Carmenati tells them. “That’s our guy. That is the first guy to watch (in this draft class).”

Ronzone’s title doesn’t properly convey his true role for the Mavericks. He has visited nearly 100 countries spanning his three-plus decades of international scouting with multiple teams, working with Dallas since 2012. He can claim some role in discovering, scouting or drafting dozens of non-American players. Truly, Ronzone might be the world’s leading international prospect connoisseur.

In the late ’90s, Ronzone spent several years in northern Italy, often driving two hours east to Ljubljana, Slovenia. Years later, old friends there start telling him about a 12-year-old who is “something special” on the basketball court. “But you hear that all the time,” Ronzone says. “You just check it off and keep your eyes open if you hear it again.” But Ronzone does. In fact, this kid’s name keeps coming up, over and over again. He scores 54 points in the championship game of an under-13 tournament hosted in Italy and, later that year, moves to Spain to join the Real Madrid academy. This is when Ronzone – and Carmenati, for that matter – begins to pay serious attention to Luka Doncic.

Ronzone first scouts Doncic in person during the junior tournament of the 2013 Copa del Rey, where the 13-year-old is outclassing players four and five years older than him. “When I came away from that game,” Ronzone remembers, “my whole thought process was, ‘This kid is something special.’” He starts calling European coaches and other connections to learn more about him. The more he hears, the more intrigued he becomes.



One story in particular stands out. During the 2016 preseason, Real Madrid plays an exhibition game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Doncic, then 17, comes off the bench and records modest statistics, just three points and four assists. But late in that game, during a timeout, Doncic approaches his head coach, Pablo Laso. “I want to guard (Russell) Westbrook down the stretch,” Doncic tells him. For several minutes in the fourth quarter, until Laso finally returns to his full starting lineup late in the game, Doncic does just that. These are the types of stories Ronzone keeps hearing and sharing with his Dallas colleagues.

So no one in Dallas is surprised when Doncic ascends from a dominant youth star to a member of Real Madrid’s first team to a frequent starter contributing key minutes for the team that might be Europe’s best – not Ronzone, not Carmenati, not Pazdrazdis, not even Keith Grant, the team’s assistant general manager, whom Carmenati remembers texting in 2016 to convince him of Doncic’s potential.

“Basically, Tony and Alvydas were expecting and waiting for the first time (for) Luka to be ready to be considered a top talent,” Carmenati says.

That finally comes with Doncic’s EuroBasket performance. Shortly after Carmenati’s text to Pazdrazdis and Ronzone, he remembers being instructed by Pazdrazdis to track Doncic in every single game he plays in going forward. And Ronzone, too, has his own message: Donnie Nelson, the team’s president of basketball operations, wants to see Doncic again, too.

“I will work out the schedule with Donnie,” he texts. “(We’ll) come as soon as possible.”

MAY 2018

Doncic’s name has sat atop the Dallas draft board for months, but the team’s chances of selecting him in June grows worse after the draft lottery. Even with Mark Cuban openly admitting to tanking as his team finishes with the league’s third-worst record, Dallas falls two spots to the fifth overall selection. While not every team views Doncic as the best prospect, most have him no lower than third or fourth on their boards. Nelson and Ronzone realize that acquiring him will almost certainly require a trade, which only makes it more important that they keep their true intentions hidden from their rivals. For now, at least.

It’s no surprise the two men see this situation similarly. Nelson’s and Ronzone’s basketball careers have overlapped and crisscrossed throughout a four-decades-long friendship, with the two often spending time in distant foreign countries in pursuit of the next great international prospect. After meeting in the ’80s and briefly working together in the ’90s, the like-minded duo finally joined forces when Nelson hired Ronzone in 2012.

“His passport even before he came to us was unbelievable,” Nelson says. “He was doing all kinds of stuff around the world.”

Nelson and Ronzone attend the league’s annual pre-draft camp in Chicago, which starts mid-week following the lottery draw and continues through the weekend, but leave early on Thursday night. It’s by design, all part of a cloak-and-dagger approach inspired by the way they see these stakes.

While most high-ranking team executives are conducting draft interviews with college prospects, Nelson and Ronzone instead fly overnight to Belgrade, Serbia, where Real Madrid is poised to compete in the EuroLeague Final Four. They want one more look at Doncic.

The cautious approach means Nelson and Ronzone do their best not to be seen while in town. That’s more difficult than it sounds.

“Donnie and I have done this so long that it’s hard to be low key,” Ronzone says. “Everyone knows us walking around the arena.”

So they avoid their usual hotel, where agents and executives of European teams frequently schmooze in the lobby. They purchase seats in the second deck and arrive at games shortly before tipoff. They eat every day at a Serbian restaurant owned by Ronzone’s friend called Sesir Moj, which translates to “My Hat” in English. Doncic, as they discuss over all those covert meals, looks worthy of being the rabbit they pull out on draft night.

“That was our meeting spot,” Ronzone says.


The Sesir Moj restaurant in Belgrade. (Photo courtesy of Tony Ronzone)
They skip out on the concurrent junior tournament to avoid being recognized. And, more than anything else, they marvel at Doncic as he wins MVP while leading Real Madrid to the two wins needed for the championship. It’s a bittersweet feeling.

“(At that point), we’re thinking we’re probably not going to get Luka,” Ronzone says. “To me, he just went to another level.”

Still, they feel they have gained an advantage with their subdued presence.

“We might have been the only team with the decision-makers (there),” Ronzone says.

Rival organizations were represented only by international scouts, not American-based executives. For Nelson and Ronzone, seeing Doncic perform like this in person only confirms their impossibly high expectations for him as a prospect.

JUNE 2018

Several members of the Dallas power structure believe Doncic would have been viewed as the undisputed top prospect had he either played his games in the United States or attended the pre-draft workouts, something he was unable to do because of his Real Madrid schedule. Instead, Doncic begins slipping as a prospect in the weeks leading up to the draft because of perceived red flags.

First, there are on-court concerns that revolve around Doncic’s athleticism and whether he has already neared or reached his peak. This never fazes Dallas, which views his success against grown men in the world’s second-best basketball league as sufficient evidence that he can translate his game to the NBA.

There are also questions about his build and diet. Doncic gained weight during his final season at Real Madrid, pushing his 6-foot-7 frame past 230 pounds. To some scouts, it only confirms the notion that work ethic might be a problem.

Others, meanwhile, wonder about the impact of his early professional life, how making grown-man money as a child while playing for Real Madrid might stymie his personal drive and progress. Is there any chance he has already hit his ceiling? Doncic’s off-court lifestyle – the party scene that some suspect might take his focus off of his development in his early NBA years – is a point of focus for some. It didn’t help when ESPN published a story in early April that seemed to confirm some of those fears. The story highlights his “electric blue Porsche Panamera” that he calls “the most beautiful car in the world,” chronicles a scene in which he buys “an armload of Snickers bars” for their group at a gas station mini-mart and notes how he calls the American hamburger joint Five Guys “amazing.”

The Mavericks’ close relationship with Doncic’s agent, Bill Duffy of BDA Sports, helps alleviate some worries. So, too, does their own legwork. As Ronzone remembers it, years of tracking Doncic plus close ties with his coaches enable them to determine what was nonsense.

“We knew all the concerns,” Ronzone, who is longtime friends with Duffy, said. “We’d heard it all. We’d seen it all. And I talked to enough coaches (to know the truth) … I’ve been to Madrid a lot, and if you’ve lived in Europe, (for) one, you’re allowed to go out at an earlier age. You don’t have to be 21 to go out.

“So yes, he’s going to be around that. They don’t card you when you go into a club in Madrid, especially if you’re Luka Doncic or (his former Real Madrid teammate) Serge Llull. You’re not going to get carded, because the athletes are treated with a great deal of respect. The work ethic did not bother me because I’d seen a kid at 13 years old leave his country and come on his own and learn to live on his own and become a pro and be at practice and be on time. That was never an issue with his coach. But once the game came on, when the bell rang, I mean, the kid was ready to play every single night.”

As Duffy sees it, anyone focused on Doncic’s off-court style is missing the magnitude of what he was doing on it.

“First of all, he’s 18, 19 years old; I mean he’s a teenager, so he was doing things that most teenagers do,” Duffy said. “But the one thing you can’t measure in someone is their will and their heart, so … what everybody was saying was just speculation.

“If you’ve been around him and you’ve seen what he’s done and how he wins, nothing is changing. It’s just miraculous that, at his age, he won the Euroleague. He won the European championships with Goran (Dragic) on the national team, and when you saw him play in that competition against about 15 NBA players, and he more than handled his own, you knew this was imminent if you really watched him closely. Now, nobody watched him as closely as we (at BDA Sports) did, but the guy is just a winner. It’s all he knows. He has this winning gene, the competitive gene, all in his DNA.”

Likewise, other teams bring up an incident where Doncic was caught on camera crying after a close loss and use it to paint a picture of him as emotionally unstable. This never fazes Dallas, which views his emotional reaction as a positive.

“Losing, it’s hard; it breaks your heart, makes you cry, but it teaches you a lot,” Carmenati says. “And when we were evaluating and discussing his upside and if he was a good learner, teachable, coachable, it was a good indication.”

Dallas never loses sight of what other teams scouting him might have: Doncic was a teenager successfully balancing his on-court responsibilities while playing against grownups with the mental weight of becoming a global star.

“When it comes to 18-year-old kids, there’s always something,” Mark Cuban says. “If you have your reasons for picking somebody else, then you have your reasons. It just is what it is. I think we realized how competitive he was, but some people just have that winning sauce, and he’s got that.”

DRAFT NIGHT 2018

Thirty minutes before the draft begins, Donnie Nelson steps out from the team’s war room with Tony Ronzone. They find an empty suite in the American Airlines Center. They know which player they desperately want to draft. They just don’t know if they’ll get that chance.

Nelson asks Ronzone: “You feel good if we can make this happen?”

“We’ve got to do whatever we can to get a star player,” Ronzone replies.

“I feel the same way,” Nelson says.

It’s in this moment of isolation that Nelson decides upon his plan – and trusts Ronzone, once more, as his final sounding board.

“With the draft room, it’s like a scene out of Wall Street. It can get crazy. Sometimes, to hear yourself think, it’s good to remove yourself from the fray,” Nelson says now. “In my gut, I felt like I knew what I needed to do and present those options to (team owner) Mark (Cuban). … I just wanted to affirm that everything that we saw was worth the price that we were about to pay.”

Nelson knows that Cuban will listen to his final recommendation. Five years prior, Cuban didn’t when Nelson tried to sell him on a barely known Greek prospect named Giannis Antetokounmpo. That year, Dallas was set on winning immediately and had a strict plan to do so that involved preserving cap space, necessitating them trading down. As Antetokounmpo has developed into a superstar in Milwaukee, Cuban has openly acknowledged his blame in the matter. Multiple sources say that Cuban has no intention of ignoring Nelson yet again on an international prospect he swears by.

Dallas feels confident that Doncic won’t be selected with the first two picks. Phoenix has been locked into Arizona center Deandre Ayton for weeks, while the team hears that Sacramento’s interest in drafting Duke forward Marvin Bagley with the second overall pick solidified in the days leading up to the draft. The Kings front office, it appears, is all in on young point guard De’Aaron Fox and have concerns about Doncic’s impact on Fox’s game if Doncic were to come to town. “Then we knew that we had to work with (the third pick),” Ronzone says. That pick belongs to Atlanta – and no one knows with certainty what the Hawks plan to do.

There are clues, though.

Atlanta’s general manager is Travis Schlenk, who was part of the Golden State front office that drafted Stephen Curry in 2009 and saw the benefits of building around a guard with exceptional range. The older Nelson was the coach at the time and also advocated strongly for Curry, even comparing him to Nash. In this draft, the closest comp to Curry is Oklahoma’s Trae Young, whose game and style have been compared to Curry’s for years.

Sources say there was near-equal support for Doncic and Young inside Atlanta’s group, but the tie-breaker, in essence, was the chance for the rebuilding Hawks to acquire an additional asset: The 2019 first-rounder that Dallas was offering in a possible pick swap (and which would later become Cam Reddish).

“I knew what we wanted, (and) they knew what they wanted,” Nelson says. “We knew we were perfect dance partners.”

They just need to make a deal.

At 7:43 local time that evening, it happens. Atlanta selects Luka Doncic, Dallas later picks Trae Young and then the organizations swap them at the expense of that 2019 Mavericks first rounder.

“You just have this sense of relief that you got the guy that you wanted,” Ronzone says.

Back home in Italy, Carmenati remains awake all night waiting. Not wanting to disrupt the frenzied draft room by asking for updates, he doesn’t learn about the trade until it’s reported on Twitter. “It will go down as one of the best nights of my life,” he says. At 5:54 a.m. local time, he sends an ESPN article calling Dallas the clear winner of the draft to most of the front office – including Nelson, Ronzone, Cuban, Keith Grant and Michael Finley.

Congratulations, he writes, expressing that he could not be happier with the selection. He will repay you with double-doubles and at least seven or eight triple-doubles in Year One.

“This is Donnie’s masterpiece,” he says. “There are no other general managers in the history of the NBA able to pick the Dirk Nowitzki and the Luka Doncic of the draft.”

That quickly becomes the central talking point – that Luka Doncic could become the next European basketball star for the very team that’s synonymous with the league’s greatest one. But although the two stars hail from the same continent, Nelson isn’t sure the comparison fits. He remembers worrying about Nowitzki’s rookie-season struggles, telling Ronzone that they might be looking for new jobs soon. Of course, Nowitzki soon developed more confidence and grew into superstardom. Doncic, though, already had it.

“(Nowitzki) was that close to literally going back to Europe and playing professionally there,” Nelson said. “When Dirk entered the league, he did so with reverence (for the NBA). He was playing in Division II (in) Germany, and playing free. It was like YMCA ball. He’s shooting and bringing the ball up coast to coast, and this is a whole different ball of wax up here. And so Dirk, just in the sheer honest Dirk (way) that we know today, he just didn’t know (if he belonged).

“Luka was everything (Dirk was not). It’s almost like a country kid and a city kid. Dirk came from Würzburg: It’s the wine country, literally, of Germany, right? What great player usually comes from the wine country? I mean no offense, right? But seriously, right? And it took him a period of time to gain confidence and have, like, Michael Finley and Steve Nash around him to remind him, and a coach like my dad (former Mavericks coach Don Nelson) who really saw the skill and made him do things that he wasn’t used to doing. It was a two-year process.”

And then there was Luka.

“Luka went to the big city when he was a baby,” Nelson said of Doncic’s move to Madrid at the age of 13. “He grew up in one of the powerhouses in professional sport, was a pro at a very early age, and it’s like when Luka showed up he couldn’t wait to get there (to the NBA). I mean, he couldn’t wait to match himself up against (the greats). Dirk was a little bit more, I think, reverent, and Luka was more reckless abandon, couldn’t wait to get there because I think he thought, ‘Yeah, heck yeah, I belong. Heck yeah, I belong.’”

FALL 2018

Whoa, Rick Carlisle thinks the first time he sees Doncic play pick-up.

The Mavericks head coach had first heard Doncic’s name the previous season when his team kept losing games. A high lottery pick was inevitable, causing Carlisle to ask Nelson about top prospects. Doncic, of course, was the first name out of his mouth. When Doncic finally arrives in Dallas as a brand-new Maverick days after the draft, the team intentionally keeps him from scrimmaging because of his heavy workload in the months prior.

“It’s not a situation where we’re doing any type of conditioning assessment or getting him ready to play summer league,” says head trainer Casey Smith, “which are some of the normal things (for draft picks).”

The team sends him back to Europe, instructing him to take some well-deserved vacation. It’s not until he returns in early September that Carlisle sees him on the court – and is astonished by his physical presence.

“Some things were unclear because of the quality of the European film,” Carlisle says. “There were just certain things you couldn’t tell for sure.”

Dallas executives believe Doncic will take several seasons, at least, before he begins fully developing as a scorer. In fact, the man who scouted him closest, Carmenati, only expects him to average “14 or 16 points per game” his rookie year. Those instincts seem to be correct in Doncic’s first weeks on the practice court. While he immediately shows his precognitive passing ability and innate knack for rebounding, the rookie is often passive while scrimmaging, sometimes not even looking to score.

Due to his nontraditional offseason, the Dallas coaching staff doesn’t expect Doncic to arrive in peak physical shape, either. “The season is so long there has to be periods in-season where issues are being addressed,” Smith says. Doncic, they hope, will spend a decade in Dallas. With that in mind, everyone’s prepared to be patient.

Those expectations change just two games into the regular season. In the second game of his rookie season, against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Doncic not only scores 26 points with several key plays in the final minutes but also makes it look simple. “It’s like he wanted to prove he could score against NBA defenses,” one Dallas front office member says.

He’s already way ahead of the schedule Dallas planned for him.

JANUARY 2019

In the opening months of their relationship, some tension builds between Carlisle and Doncic related to offensive control, sources tell The Athletic – similar to the tension that existed between Carlisle and other ball-dominant point guards that have come through Dallas such as Jason Kidd and Rajon Rondo. (The first instance ultimately worked much better than the second.) But just as the front office comes to understand that Doncic is a franchise-altering star, so too does Carlisle.

“It was clear to me early on he was the future and that he was a point guard,” Carlisle says. “When you have a player like him that has a real level of sophistication and professional understanding, even at the age of 20, you’ve got to allow him to grow. And you’ve got to place him in situations where you can cultivate his creativity at higher and higher levels, understanding that it’s not always going to be perfect.”

A former point guard himself, Carlisle is known for being harsh on players leading his offense, especially inexperienced ones who make mistakes. Doncic clashes with him early on about substitution patterns and excessive play calling. Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley, Doncic’s closest confidant on the coaching staff, becomes a pressure release valve of sorts in the process and aids the sometimes-difficult dynamic.

But Doncic and his overwhelming talent begin changing how the coaching staff thinks of him, too. During film sessions early in Doncic’s rookie season, assistant coaches try to steer him away from taking his trademark stepback 3-pointer, telling him it’s a low-percentage shot. As they understand him more, though, they realize how that shot warps defenses towards him and creates space for other players.

“When you play chess, sometimes you’re gonna let the pawn get taken first,” Cuban explains while reflecting on this process. “Luka plays ten-board chess, meaning the other nine players he’s playing against. And he knows that the stepback isn’t always going to be his best shot, but he also knows that he hits it enough that it sets up everything else that he does.”

Eventually, they give him the green light.


Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports
Carlisle cedes more control to Doncic with every passing week, but the roster isn’t yet structured to completely build around him as the offensive system. “Things had to, at some point, be restructured to work towards that,” Carlisle says. “With the New York deal, it happened sooner than expected.”

Indeed, Donnie Nelson isn’t anticipating the phone call he receives from Knicks executives in late January. “A lot of times you hear of (a player’s) availability but it’s really not, and then you call and it’s (not real),” Nelson says. He had long held interest in All-Star center Kristaps Porzingis, another international player he had scouted years before he was drafted in 2015. But New York had never expressed interest in trading the Latvian big man – until now, anyway.

The Knicks essentially tell Nelson this, per a team source: “You’re always asking about Porzingis. This is what it would take to get him.” The deal is all but agreed upon by the time the phone call ends, even though Porzingis is out indefinitely recuperating from a torn ACL. The ensuing seven-player trade, which sends Doncic’s backcourt-mate and fellow lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr. the opposite way, rocks the NBA landscape.

A week later, Dallas trades Harrison Barnes to the Sacramento Kings. Several front office voices encourage Cuban to make that deal, including Haralabos Voulgaris, the famed NBA gambler who was hired by the team in 2018. It’s a final, necessary step to move on from older, ball-dominant players who won’t represent the team’s rapidly approaching new era.

The result is a barren roster that can be rebuilt the following summer – along with a healthy Porzingis – with Doncic as the grand centerpiece. It’s a statement that could not be louder: This is Luka’s team now.

MAY 2019

Carlisle, Jamahl Mosley and teammate Dwight Powell fly to Slovenia the first week of May. It’s a habit Carlisle has developed over his decades coaching. After being hired by the Mavericks in 2008, for example, one of his first actions was visiting Nowitzki in Germany. The previous summer, Carlisle canceled plans to visit Luka’s home country due to a family matter. It makes this trip even more of a priority.

“I just wanted to see where Luka was from, where he grew up, places he spent time,” he says. “A chance to visit with him and talk basketball with him. And it was great.”

RELATED: Slovenia’s enormous passion is willing Luka Doncic to superstardom

A week later, Casey Smith makes his own trip to the Balkan region. His purpose is more tangible: see where Luka will be working, ensure it’s up to the team’s standards and provide any additional assistance for a crucial summer of physical development. But the motivation and the commitment come from Doncic himself. “People sometimes have a misconception that we’re, like, dictating these very specific things,” Smith says. “They’re still adults. They need to have buy-in, they need to feel like they have a say-so.”

These conversations happen year-round. If Doncic, say, enjoys eating pasta, the Mavericks work with him about how they add vegetables and reduce fatty sauces. If he wants to add or lose weight, or has a specific area he believes he needs to address, they work with him to find the best ways to accomplish that. In Doncic’s rookie season, Smith says that the sheer volume of games and travel impacted Doncic the most.

“He realized after going through that that he wanted to work on his strength, that he wanted to work on his body, and those are things that he knows would help him be more durable, be more effective at the end of games,” Smith says. “A lot of that credit goes to him – not really us dictating what he needs to do. He’s a smart guy, you know?”

The team asks Doncic to periodically return to Dallas, just as they do for any player spending his offseason somewhere else.

“We bring them into Dallas over the summer to get our eyes on them a little bit,” Smith says, “so he had part of that process as well.”

Mostly, though, they trust Doncic to achieve his own goals. The results speak for themselves.

“(It’s) how much he learned from last year, and how much his behavior has changed as a result,” Cuban said when asked about Doncic’s specific advancements in his second season. “He told me he was going to work on his left hand, and Goddammit if he doesn’t have a great left-handed finish right now. We talked (in the summer about), ‘What are you going to work on going into the season?’ ‘My left hand.’ ‘What about your diet?’ You can just see it (in his body). You know, everybody goes through the learning of what it takes to be a pro, and then there’s the learning of what it takes to be a great pro.”

FEBRUARY 2020

“Luka, get over here!” LeBron James yells.

Doncic, it turns out, is right behind him, surrounded by other members of Team LeBron on the floor of Chicago’s Wintrust Arena. It’s the team’s open practice one day before the All-Star game, and they’re all taking half-court potshots in front of the amused audience. The night before, Doncic had nailed a jumper from nearly 50 feet while starring in the Rising Stars game. Of course, James wants him trying another one now.


Photo: Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
Doncic’s attempt falls short, and the practice moves on. But freeze that moment into a screenshot, if you will, and look at Doncic. The person calling his name, James, is his favorite player from childhood. A teammate behind him is Russell Westbrook, whom the 17-year-old Doncic begged to guard so many years ago. Beside him is James Harden, a former MVP who Doncic has earned ample comparisons to. Around him are more superstars – Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokic – from this exclusive brotherhood. Now he’s one of them, too.

The night he was drafted, Doncic filmed a social media video listing his five-year plan. “I get to pick my journey? Let’s go,” he says. His first year, he says, he wants to win Rookie of the Year. He wants to posterize Porzingis and become “the king of New York.” In Year Two, he wants to make the playoffs, the All-Star game, the All-NBA team – and have a signature shoe, of course. He maps out some other ideas – new cars, appearing in a Drake song, winning MVP – before predicting he’ll win a championship in Year Five.

Even the men responsible for bringing him to the Mavericks might not have predicted all that. But Doncic hasn’t been wrong yet.

(Top photo: Getty Images / Art by Wes McCabe of The Athletic)
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:53 AM   #1545
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Welp. It would be hard to lose in the first round if the season is cancelled.
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Old 03-18-2020, 12:06 AM   #1546
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Bored...
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Old 03-18-2020, 10:09 AM   #1547
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The Coronavirus happened because Rick didn't play WCS or Boban enough.
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Old 03-18-2020, 02:04 PM   #1548
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidDaMonkey View Post
The Coronavirus happened because Rick didn't play WCS or Boban enough.
Then he tried to make up for it in the last game where Boban went for 31, but it was too late.
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Old 03-19-2020, 12:11 PM   #1549
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Then he tried to make up for it in the last game where Boban went for 31, but it was too late.
Yeah, once the genie is out of the bottle, a vaccine after infection is just a little too late. :-O

Edit: I am so friggin bored! LOL Upside is that the local beaches have been closed, so my town is not overrun with tourists and spring breakers. :-D I'm enjoying that. Now I just need to get out and do a little spearfishing. :-)

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Old 03-19-2020, 12:18 PM   #1550
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Originally Posted by turin View Post
Yeah, once the genie is out of the bottle, a vaccine after infection is just a little too late. :-O

Edit: I am so friggin bored! LOL Upside is that the local beaches have been closed, so my town is not overrun with tourists and spring breakers. :-D I'm enjoying that. Now I just need to get out and do a little spearfishing. :-)
Where do you live? (If you don’t mind the question)
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:04 AM   #1551
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Looking back at the Mavericks’ bench play this season—and going forward
Though they fell from their early season heights, the bench was—and will be—an important part of the Mavericks’ success

By Kevin Stump Mar 25, 2020, 6:00am CDT

https://www.mavsmoneyball.com/2020/3...-going-forward

As there is nothing at all going on in the world right now, ol’ Kev here is just going to talk about basketball. Everything is cool and normal and good. So here’s some basketball talk.

Early this season (very early) I checked in on the Mavericks bench. At the time the reserves were averaging an absurd 46.5 points per game—a number that would’ve been second best in the league over the past 15 years. Could they keep it up? Probably not, but the injury of Dwight Powell (not to mention Doncic and Porzingis) undercut that idea before it ever really got out of the hangar. The early season tinkering of Coach Carlisle likely didn’t help with continuity between the bench and starting units either.

Tim Hardaway, Jr., once thought to be a spark plug sixth man, became an important piece of the starting lineup (and nearly a 41 percent three-point shooter) thus sapping the bench of some of its would-be firepower. Justin Jackson, talked up as a potential starter on this team, was relegated to the bench and was mostly invisible even while playing against reserves. Jalen Brunson remained a solid third guard, but the leap we were hoping for never materialized.

This sounds bad? Am I making this sound too bad? Overall, the bench was good! Maxi Kleber put up very nice numbers, mostly off the bench, in about 26 minutes per game; Delon Wright has not been the player we hoped he might be, but has still been solid-yet-extremely-unspectacular in his role; Seth Curry, an early season starter and spot-starter throughout, has come off the bench for two thirds of his games and has really solidified his role on this team—and looking like a potential star in the last six weeks of the season.

I mentioned in my piece earlier this season that beginning with the 2008-2009 season, the Mavericks finished 1st, 5th, 1st, 3rd, 1st, and 6th through 2013-2014, averaging 38.6 bench points per game over that stretch.

This season the bench is sitting at 39.1 points per game, a number that seems to belie a return to the top of the league. But, with scoring up over the last several seasons, 39.1 points per game is only good for 11th in the league. Not elite. But very much not bad! 11th is good! The last two seasons that the Mavericks made the playoffs they were 11th and 12th in bench scoring. This season looked to be the return of the Mavericks to the playoffs due, at least in part, to the solid play of their bench.

Upon their return to the court, whenever that may be, the bench will play an important role in the success of this team. Rick Carlisle has made one-year-contract chicken salad out of one-year-contract chicken shit for basically a decade now. Next year’s Mavericks should return a team that is familiar with each other, Luka Doncic with another year under his belt, Kristaps Porzingis feeling fully healed, and a bench that is ready to light up the league. See you soon, benches.
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:21 AM   #1552
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How’s that for an encore? Luka Doncic’s sophomore leap ranks among the statistical best in NBA history
After achieving arguably the best statistical rookie season since Oscar Robertson, Doncic somehow has outdone himself.
By Brad Townsend 9:00 AM on Mar 26, 2020
https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/ma...n-nba-history/


The 2019-20 NBA season is suspended in time, like a photo of a player in midair — with no indication whether he’s on his way up, or down.

Will this coronavirus-halted season resume in a matter of weeks? Or months? Will regular-season games be lost? Will playoff series be shortened?

Or will the night of March 11, when games were suspended following Rudy Gobert’s positive test for COVID-19, be the season’s final snapshot, frozen in perpetuity?

If the season doesn’t resume, there would be a sense of loss for all 30 NBA teams, but especially those in playoff contention, including a 40-27 Mavericks franchise that hasn’t made the postseason since 2016.

Then there’s the individual honors. Would there still be a Most Valuable Player vote? Would James Harden be considered the 2019-20 scoring champion, even though teams played only 63 to 67 games?

“We’ll figure it out,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, when asked those questions by ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “I hope I’m not just in denial, but I’m just not there yet.”

If in fact this becomes the first unfinished season in the NBA’s 74-year history, guard Luka Doncic will be among the players who earns an asterisk next to his name because he’s virtually assured of joining Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash as the only Mavericks named All-NBA first, second or third team.

No Maverick has made the first team since Nowitzki in 2008-09; or second team since Nowitzki in 2010-11; or third team since Nowitzki in 2011-12.

Rather quietly, 21-year-old Doncic is a strong candidate for another award, an honor no Maverick in the franchise’s 40-season history has won — a category that most exemplifies how superlative his sophomore NBA season has been: Most Improved Player.

This is not a misprint or hyperbole. At least one betting service, Draftkings, has Doncic with the fourth-best MIP odds, behind Brandon Ingram, Bam Adebayo and Jayson Tatum and ahead of Devonte Graham.

Let that sink in. After achieving arguably the best statistical debut NBA season since Oscar Robertson in 1960-61, Doncic somehow has outdone himself by attaining the largest numerical improvements by a reigning Rookie of the Year since Bob McAdoo in 1973-74.

Of the 69 players who have won or shared the ROY award, Doncic’s second-season scoring increase of 7.5 points per game is the third-largest largest in history behind McAdoo’s 12.6-point surge and Rick Barry’s 9.9-point spike in 1966-67.

Doncic’s rebound-average increase, from 7.8 to 9.3 per game, is the eighth-largest by a reigning ROY and second-highest among guards, behind Robertson’s improvement of 2.4 per game. Doncic’s 19.2% rebounding increase is the sixth-best by a reigning ROY.

Last but not least, Doncic has raised his assist average from 6.0 to 8.7, easily the largest upswing by a returning ROY, ahead of No. 2 Dave Bing’s 2.3 per-game increase in 1967-68 and No. 3 Grant Hill’s 1.9 per-game rise in 1995-96.

How is that for an encore, Mavericks fans? Doncic’s across-the-board improvements are a testament to the workout and diet program that the Mavericks’ training staff tailored for him last offseason and, especially, a credit to Doncic for putting in the work.

And to think, entering the season yours truly wrote this about what fans could expect of Luka 2.0:

“With more help on both ends of the floor, there is a good chance Doncic’s scoring average will only marginally increase, if at all – but much more likely that his assist average, field goal percentage (42.7) and 3-point percentage (32.7) will rise and that his turnover average (3.4) will decrease.”

Turns out, Doncic improved his field goal percentage (to 46.1) by getting into the paint and to the rim more often. His 3-point percentage has dipped to 31.8.

His turnover average has increased, in part due to the fact that his touches per game have risen from 83.8 last season to 94.3, second-most in the league behind Nikola Jokic. The NBA’s top five in turnovers per game are a reflection of their ball-dominance: Trae Young, Harden, Russell Westbrook, Doncic and LeBron James.

It’s not a given that ROY winners will improve in their second seasons. Of the 69 winners and co-winners, 21 saw their scoring average decrease; 28 experienced a rebounding drop; and 30 had their assist average slip.

Traditionally, NBA players’ most impactful improvements have come in their third or fourth seasons. Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, for example, in his first five seasons improved his scoring average thusly: 6.8, 12.7, 16.9, 22.9, 26.9. Wilt Chamberlain’s biggest jump came in season three, from 38.4 to 50.4.

As you’ll see in the accompanying charts, we analyzed the second-year improvements of Rookies of the Year, but there have been notable scoring jumps by non-ROY winners, the biggest being by Jerry West (17.6 to 30.8), Nate Archibald (16.0 to 28.2), Antawn Jamison (9.6 to 19.6) and Nowitzki (8.2 to 17.5).

For Doncic, of course, historic comparisons matter little. He didn’t remake his body in the offseason simply to improve his statistics. He did it so that he could better persevere through the long season and playoffs, to avoid a repeat of his minor slippage of late last season.

At the moment his tremendous sophomore season is unfinished business and unfulfilled opportunity, in frozen suspension.

Asterisk pending.
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Old 03-29-2020, 07:02 AM   #1553
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Originally Posted by dirt_dobber View Post
How’s that for an encore? Luka Doncic’s sophomore leap ranks among the statistical best in NBA history
After achieving arguably the best statistical rookie season since Oscar Robertson, Doncic somehow has outdone himself.
By Brad Townsend 9:00 AM on Mar 26, 2020
https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/ma...n-nba-history/


The 2019-20 NBA season is suspended in time, like a photo of a player in midair — with no indication whether he’s on his way up, or down.

Will this coronavirus-halted season resume in a matter of weeks? Or months? Will regular-season games be lost? Will playoff series be shortened?

Or will the night of March 11, when games were suspended following Rudy Gobert’s positive test for COVID-19, be the season’s final snapshot, frozen in perpetuity?

If the season doesn’t resume, there would be a sense of loss for all 30 NBA teams, but especially those in playoff contention, including a 40-27 Mavericks franchise that hasn’t made the postseason since 2016.

Then there’s the individual honors. Would there still be a Most Valuable Player vote? Would James Harden be considered the 2019-20 scoring champion, even though teams played only 63 to 67 games?

“We’ll figure it out,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, when asked those questions by ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “I hope I’m not just in denial, but I’m just not there yet.”

If in fact this becomes the first unfinished season in the NBA’s 74-year history, guard Luka Doncic will be among the players who earns an asterisk next to his name because he’s virtually assured of joining Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash as the only Mavericks named All-NBA first, second or third team.

No Maverick has made the first team since Nowitzki in 2008-09; or second team since Nowitzki in 2010-11; or third team since Nowitzki in 2011-12.

Rather quietly, 21-year-old Doncic is a strong candidate for another award, an honor no Maverick in the franchise’s 40-season history has won — a category that most exemplifies how superlative his sophomore NBA season has been: Most Improved Player.

This is not a misprint or hyperbole. At least one betting service, Draftkings, has Doncic with the fourth-best MIP odds, behind Brandon Ingram, Bam Adebayo and Jayson Tatum and ahead of Devonte Graham.

Let that sink in. After achieving arguably the best statistical debut NBA season since Oscar Robertson in 1960-61, Doncic somehow has outdone himself by attaining the largest numerical improvements by a reigning Rookie of the Year since Bob McAdoo in 1973-74.

Of the 69 players who have won or shared the ROY award, Doncic’s second-season scoring increase of 7.5 points per game is the third-largest largest in history behind McAdoo’s 12.6-point surge and Rick Barry’s 9.9-point spike in 1966-67.

Doncic’s rebound-average increase, from 7.8 to 9.3 per game, is the eighth-largest by a reigning ROY and second-highest among guards, behind Robertson’s improvement of 2.4 per game. Doncic’s 19.2% rebounding increase is the sixth-best by a reigning ROY.

Last but not least, Doncic has raised his assist average from 6.0 to 8.7, easily the largest upswing by a returning ROY, ahead of No. 2 Dave Bing’s 2.3 per-game increase in 1967-68 and No. 3 Grant Hill’s 1.9 per-game rise in 1995-96.

How is that for an encore, Mavericks fans? Doncic’s across-the-board improvements are a testament to the workout and diet program that the Mavericks’ training staff tailored for him last offseason and, especially, a credit to Doncic for putting in the work.

And to think, entering the season yours truly wrote this about what fans could expect of Luka 2.0:

“With more help on both ends of the floor, there is a good chance Doncic’s scoring average will only marginally increase, if at all – but much more likely that his assist average, field goal percentage (42.7) and 3-point percentage (32.7) will rise and that his turnover average (3.4) will decrease.”

Turns out, Doncic improved his field goal percentage (to 46.1) by getting into the paint and to the rim more often. His 3-point percentage has dipped to 31.8.

His turnover average has increased, in part due to the fact that his touches per game have risen from 83.8 last season to 94.3, second-most in the league behind Nikola Jokic. The NBA’s top five in turnovers per game are a reflection of their ball-dominance: Trae Young, Harden, Russell Westbrook, Doncic and LeBron James.

It’s not a given that ROY winners will improve in their second seasons. Of the 69 winners and co-winners, 21 saw their scoring average decrease; 28 experienced a rebounding drop; and 30 had their assist average slip.

Traditionally, NBA players’ most impactful improvements have come in their third or fourth seasons. Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, for example, in his first five seasons improved his scoring average thusly: 6.8, 12.7, 16.9, 22.9, 26.9. Wilt Chamberlain’s biggest jump came in season three, from 38.4 to 50.4.

As you’ll see in the accompanying charts, we analyzed the second-year improvements of Rookies of the Year, but there have been notable scoring jumps by non-ROY winners, the biggest being by Jerry West (17.6 to 30.8), Nate Archibald (16.0 to 28.2), Antawn Jamison (9.6 to 19.6) and Nowitzki (8.2 to 17.5).

For Doncic, of course, historic comparisons matter little. He didn’t remake his body in the offseason simply to improve his statistics. He did it so that he could better persevere through the long season and playoffs, to avoid a repeat of his minor slippage of late last season.

At the moment his tremendous sophomore season is unfinished business and unfulfilled opportunity, in frozen suspension.

Asterisk pending.
This is why Dallas 41 and MavsKiki or Jack Johnson or whatever he calls himself now need to just calm down.
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I thought you said he didn't have anywhere to go
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Old 03-30-2020, 11:25 AM   #1554
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Originally Posted by LukaThaDon View Post
I never understood the notion that refs are above criticism. Players aren't, coaches aren't, yet refs it's like they're above it all. They get paid pretty well, maybe not like the players but they make more than the average U.S. citizen for referring a game. I'm not saying they're job is easy, but I just don't see where if they make a mistake and a player, coach or owner calls them out on it why they get fined. It's one thing if a player gets into a physical altercation with the ref or something along those lines that can't be allowed, but just saying words it just reeks of "we don't care if you're right or not, we're trying to protect our league"

The league not only defends the refs actions when they're wrong they double down and fine the person who rightfully calls them out. Probably why we had the ref scandal with Donaughy and other refs.
Yep. The only reason I can think of is due the the perception (reality?) that the officiating is rigged, and therefore calling out bad officiating hurts the NBA in general by reinforcing that.

Or...same thing, and they're trying to cover up said rigging.

Either way, I agree with you. Why is it so bad to point out where officials screwed up? Particularly in situations like this where it isn't even controversial...they absolutely, positively, screwed up.
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