Luka Doncic's NBA career may be relatively young, but he's already established himself as one of the all-time talents in the league's history. Despite his God-given ability, Miami Heat sharpshooter Max Strus believes playing alongside Doncic may be harder than it looks.
Doncic's numbers are historic
On an individual level, Doncic has raced off to an unbelievable start to the campaign. The Slovenian international is averaging a staggering 33.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.6 assists.
The numbers jump off the page, but so does the efficiency. Doncic is connecting on over 50% of his shots from the field, is boasting an effective field goal percentage of 56.6%, and currently tracking at a 31.4 player efficiency rating – good for third in the entire league.
Although his personal production has been outstanding, the Mavericks as a team have been inconsistent a quarter way into the season. Dubbed a title contender in the summer, the Mavs currently sit 9th in the West and just 1 game over .500.
There is more than meets the eye
Given his performances, it's difficult to criticize Doncic for his play; however, a contributing factor to his otherworldly numbers is his usage rate - which ranks second in the league.
In reality, the ball is in Doncic's hands for nearly every single possession he is out on the floor, and while, in theory, this may benefit the Mavs, it can sometimes disrupt his teammates' rhythm throughout a game.
Miami Heat guard Max Strus spoke to this aspect of Doncic's game when appearing on Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye's Podcast "Road Trippin."
"I just think Luka just has the ball in his hands the whole time, and it's tougher for guys to get in a rhythm, get in a flow. But as a teammate and being on his team, I think to take a team to a championship, it's tougher to get in a rhythm and a flow as a teammate of Luka's," Strus said.
Shooters understand rhythm
Due to being predominately a catch-and-shoot floor spacer, Strus would know better than most what it takes to stay in rhythm. His main responsibility on the floor is to knock down shots, and being in rhythm and feeling as though you are getting enough touches plays a key role in any great shooter's ability to connect from beyond the arc.
Because of his ability to stretch the floor, the 26-year-old has grown into a vital rotation piece for the Heat and head coach Erik Spoelstra, averaging 15 points per game and drilling over 38% of his three-point attempts for his career.
By not replacing secondary ball handler Jalen Brunson this offseason, the Mavs may have no choice but to live or die with Doncic's heavy usage this season.
Unfortunately for them, it may not be a recipe for success come playoff time. Just ask Russell Westbrook and James Harden.