What’s going on with Luka Doncic? Mavericks star in worst shooting slump of career

While the Mavericks have been one of the best teams in the league in the new year, superstar shooting guard Luka Doncic has been pretty cool. It’s the continuation of a season-long balance of ups and downs for the 22-year-old.

We can start with the leads, as Doncic has left in two of his last three outings, scoring 37 points on 13-of-25 shooting in a win over the Grizzlies on Jan. 23 and a season-high 41 points on 13. of-24 shots in a win over the Raptors on Jan. 19, but those two standout performances did little to alter the overall picture of Doncic’s confusing shooting numbers this season.

Even when the previous two games are factored in, Doncic is having a wildly inefficient season from beyond the arc, shooting 15 of 73, or 20.5 percent, from 3-point range in his last 10 games, four of those 3-pointers. . came against the Raptors.

Take away that 4-for-10 shooting night, which is an anomaly this season, and he has a nine-game shooting streak of 9-for-63 (14.3 percent) 3-point shooting, which is out of character. character considering Doncic shot a career-best 35.0 percent of 3 last season on 8.3 attempts per game.

His shooting chart through his first 11 games in January paints the picture:


To be clear, Doncic’s shooting struggles don’t take away from his position as one of the top 10 talents in the league. Despite shooting just 29.7 percent from 3-point range this season, Doncic is averaging 25.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game this season and is on track for a third All-Star selection. Star before turning 23 years old.

To put it bluntly, the Mavericks wouldn’t be a top-six team in the West without Doncic’s scoring, rebounding and plays, but for them to have a serious shot at advancing this postseason, the team will need Doncic to get out of this one. drop shots throughout the season.

What has been the cause?

In early December, Doncic’s weight became the subject of discussion among the TNT broadcast crew on a night in which he shot 9-for-21 from the field and 3-for-11 from deep.

When asked about his conditioning, Doncic admitted that a long summer that included Olympic Qualifying and the Olympics in Tokyo wore him down, causing him to take time off to relax, which he admits he may have done too much.

To further complicate matters, lingering ankle and knee injuries were compounded by a recent bout with COVID-19 that placed Doncic under the league’s health and safety protocols while he was still rehabbing.

Factoring in the long summer, injuries and COVID issues, it starts to add up that Doncic hasn’t exactly looked like the best version of himself this season. The problem is that a player of Doncic’s magnitude can’t get back into things because of his importance, which means his usage will be high and his efficiency will drop until he can get back to his true form, but is that even possible?

The Mavericks should take heart in the fact that their recent hot streak has come while Doncic is still getting back into form. It’s only his fourth season in the NBA, but if history is any indicator, he’ll find his way and improve his efficiency as the season goes on.

With back-to-back first-round exits over the past two seasons in the offing, Doncic figuring things out will play a big role in this franchise taking the next step.