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How an All-Star "snub" woke up the beast in Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic is playing like an MVP so far in 2022

Luka Doncic is playing like an MVP so far in 2022

Great players need any motivation to light a fire in them. Luka Doncic is no different. For example, while he was named an NBA All-Star, he wasn’t a starter, and the demotion sparked a drastic change in him.

How Luka performed this season

Doncic was named a starter in the last two All-Star editions, but this year, he wasn’t. He was part of Team LeBron that won the All-Star Game, but something has changed in him physically and mentally after the “snub.” Mark Cuban noticed how Doncic used it as a motivation to improve.

"It finally clicked in that there's a level of discipline involved."

The Slovenian was often criticized for his weight coming into the season, which affected his performances for Dallas. His laid-back approach was compared to other greats who have a laser-like focus in their preparations and a more dedicated to working hard in the off-season. There were games that he seemed exhausted early on. Luka Doncic looking worn out in the regular season is bad news for the Mavs’ postseason chances.

Let’s take a look at his numbers before and after the All-Star starter “snub.”

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Luka Doncic’s averages in December 2021 before the All-Star starters were announced: 26 points, 9.2 assists, and 7.4 rebounds.

Luka Doncic’s averages in February 2022: 36.3 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 9.4 assists.

Coincidentally, his breakout games happened after Kristaps Porzingis was traded to the Washington Wizards. The message was sent loud and clear if he's even making a statement.

Look out for the Mavs in the second half of the season

The Dallas Mavericks are 5th in the West with a 35-24 record, with only two games separating them from the 4th place Grizzlies. The defense has improved, and it has been the key for them this season. Known as an offensive team during the Rick Carlisle era, the Mavericks are slowly becoming a defensive team under Jason Kidd.

They have new additions in Davis Bertans and Spencer Dinwiddie, and it will be necessary to quickly get the two integrated into the Mavs system because that will determine how far the Mavs would go. Dinwiddie and Bertans addressed some of the problems for the Mavs, and the front office thought it was enough to let KP go.

With a more balanced team, a renewed commitment to defense, and Luka Doncic playing on another level, the rest of the league should be worried about Dallas. The Mavericks have figured it out with Doncic leading the attack. 

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