The Dallas Mavericks have been on a tear since January 2022. They’ve gone 31-12 since the start of the year, with superstar Luka Doncic averaging 29.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 8.6 assists during that period. The team sits at the 3rd spot in the Western Conference and is looking to make a deeper playoff run. However, they should avoid the Minnesota Timberwolves as they have a player that can potentially stop or slow down Luka Doncic.
Patrick Beverley: The Luka Doncic stopper
Patrick Beverley is a dog of a defender. He’s physical, and he likes to play mind games. Beverley is not afraid to put his body on the line to get a charge. In short, he goes over and beyond what is required of a good defender. When he said the most challenging player he’s had to guard in his career is the Slovenian wunderkind, Pat might be meaning the opposite.
Numbers show that when PatBev guarded Luka Doncic on 28 possessions this season, it didn’t look good for the Dallas Mavericks superstar.
These look impressive for the Minnesota defender who gives up about five to six inches in height when he covers Doncic. What makes Luka Doncic a nightmare to defend for opposing teams is his pace and heft. At 6’7” and around 240 pounds, Doncic is one of the biggest point guards in the league. He can post up smaller defenders or blow by bigger guys on his way to the basket. Plus, he is an elite passer, so there is nothing teams can do when he is hitting his shots and finding his teammates. So how does PatBev do it?
What PatBev is doing to limit or stop Luka
Doncic and PatBev are similar in the way that they like to sell calls. Doncic uses his body to initiate contact and does a great job of selling it to the refs, as acknowledged by Beverley in his interview on The Old Man & The Three podcast.
They both use some mind tricks on their opponents, and when two things are the same, they just cancel each other out. On the other hand, it’s not a secret that the Mavs star still needs to mature when things don’t go his way. Doncic himself acknowledges that he needs to cut down on his complaints to the refs. PatBev capitalizes on this weakness of Luka and uses it to his advantage.
You can’t entirely stop Doncic, only make it tough for him and lessen his contributions on the floor. Beverley is doing a great job so far but let’s remember it still is in the regular season. Last year, Doncic torched PatBev and the L.A. Clippers in the playoffs, although the Mavs lost that series.
If the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks meet each other in the playoffs, it will be interesting if Jason Kidd and the coaching staff would put Luka Doncic in a situation where he could get past Beverley.