It started with Zach Lowe calling Luka Dončić a whiner. The Slovenian wunderkind came into the season out of shape, the Mavericks had a tough schedule, some injury bad luck, and important players missing due to COVID. All that resulted in the Mavs dropping to 13th in the West.
When the comment came out, a majority of basketball fans (including Mavs fans) agreed with the statement. Luka was spending too much time arguing with refs and leaving his teammates out to dry in transition defense. Mark Cuban was having none of that and went straight back at Lowe.
“I’ll tell you exactly what I think. F*UCK YOU ZACH LOWE, YOU DON’T KNOW SH*T. I know Luka, and he’s not a big whiner.”Mark Cuban, VICE
It seems his 21 year old superstar is a bit more realistic when it comes to the criticism. As mature Luka is for his age, and his answer will prove that once again, we still have to keep in mind he’s only 21. No matter how early you start to play professional basketball, and Luka was in Real Madrid’s lineup at 17, some things you can’t outpace. While hosting Luka on his show, Stephen A. Smith didn’t beat around the bush. He asked Luka directly – what’s up with the whining?
“I think some of it is true, because you know -especially this year- but I think the last couple of games I’ve been getting better and better. I gotta stop this, I know it’s not right. But I think more than whining, it’s just wanting to win. We were in a bad spot for 6 losses in a row, and that just makes you do things you don’t want to do. I know I did a lot of things wrong, and I gotta learn from this. I’m still young, and I can learn from this.”Luka Dončić, Stephen A’s world
Props to Stephen A. for being direct, and even more props to Luka for owning up to his mistakes. Luka did make similar statements in the past, and the complaining kept happening and even got worse. But I think Dončić made the right diagnosis. It was a combination of personal frustration with coming into the season out of shape and the frustration of the position the Mavs found themselves in.
With last night’s win, Dallas is on a three-win streak, and Luka is starting to play better. If you look at his box scores, he’s been great all season. The key here is efficiency. Last night Dončić had a triple-double performance – 28/10/10 – but more importantly, he did it by going 9-18 from the floor. The three-pointer still needs work (2-7), but Luka’s overall game is becoming more efficient, and he’s bringing the best out of his teammates.
That should help with the on-court attitude, but more importantly, Luka’s answer and his attitude off the court is reason for optimism for everyone who enjoys watching Dončić play. He gets it, he’ll get there.
In the meantime, let’s get Cuban on the Lowe Post!