Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic entered the All-Star break averaging 35.4 points, 9.8 assists and 10.3 rebounds in his last 10 games, including a career-high 51-point outing over the Los Angeles Clippers. He was looking like the MVP-caliber player many expect him to be, something that Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban attributes to a couple of things.
During a radio appearance on The Morning Musers this week, Cuban said he thinks Doncic’s motivation stemmed from the criticism he received earlier in the season about his reported weight gain, as well as being snubbed as an All-Star starter this season.
“I think he was humbled a little bit,” cuban said. “He didn’t like being called out for his weight and other things and it finally clicked that there’s a level of discipline that’s required. All athletes at his level go through it at some level, where things are just easy and you’re always used to being the best.You’re always used to getting all the accolades, and then when something doesn’t go according to what you expected it makes you reconsider.”
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Doncic admitted earlier in the season that his conditioning wasn’t where it needed to be, saying he relaxed “maybe too much” after competing in the Olympics. It was reported that he entered the season for the second-consecutive year at 260 pounds, despite being listed on the Mavericks’ game notes as 230 pounds.
It was a major topic of conversation when Doncic looked sluggish out on the floor to start the season, as he wasn’t getting to rim as easily as he has in the past, and looked gassed at certain moments in the game. Doncic’s slow start to the season resulted in him receiving no media votes for Western Conference All-Star starters, as Memphis Grizzlies Ja Morant and Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry were named as the starting backcourt.
But in recent weeks, Doncic is playing with a renewed sense of energy, and it’s resulted in an incredible offensive tear for the three-time All-Star. Doncic said he’s changed his eating habits from him, and has fit in more cardio and weight training into his workouts to build endurance and strength.
“Chicken and rice and vegetables is the most popular [with me] because I don’t eat a lot of seafood,” Doncic said via the Dallas Morning News. “Mostly just eating healthier. …That was the key to be here.”
That change in diet and routine has certainly helped Doncic and the Mavericks, who currently sit fifth in the Western Conference and deploy the sixth-best defense in the league this season. After the All-Star break ends, we’ll see if Doncic can sustain that success he had, as he continues to carry a Dallas team that traded away his co-star in Kristaps Porzingis at the trade deadline.
“He knows what he needs to do, and it finally clicked that if he’s going to be the best — and I know he wants to be the best — that there’s certain things he has to control,” Cuban said. “Once he got a handle on those things it’s just been Katy bar the door, he’s just been unstoppable.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism