In just five NBA seasons, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has already cemented his status as one of the league’s brightest stars. However, Luka still has yet to win an MVP award or deliver a title. But after a season in which Doncic averaged a career-best 32.4 points per game while shooting a blistering 49.6% from the field, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry said he didn’t believe the Mavericks star was that far removed from adding those accolades to his already-decorated resume.
“Luka’s like the guy, obviously, that’s right on the precipice of all those accolades,” Curry said during on the August 21 episode of “Gil’s Arena,” a podcast hosted by former NBA star Gilbert Arenas. “Just what he’s about as a player. [It’s about] that threshold of just, ‘How do you crack through?’ I hope it’s not now, but when you play against him, you can feel it.”
Steph Curry Makes Bold Statement on His Legacy
Curry knows all about racking up accolades. He is a four-time NBA champ, he has been named league MVP twice (on one, he was the only unanimous winner in league history), he has won the scoring title twice, and has an NBA Finals MVP award.
He has always been a star, but with the numbers he has put up in the last few seasons, it’s become evident that he is a cut above the rest. As far as where he ranks among the top point guards to play the game, the Warriors star says there is only one other point guard who can compare: Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson.
“It’s me and Magic [Johnson], that’s the conversation,” Curry said. “I really feel like … Magic’s résumé is ridiculous. So the fact that we’re even having that conversation, that’s a place I never thought I would be in.”
Mavericks Have Struggled to Find Identity
Doncic came into the league in 2018 already crowned as the potential next NBA star to champion the upcoming generation. Though Luka’s playoff success with the Mavericks has left a lot to be desired outside of their lone trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2022, individually he has been among the most impressive star athletes. He has been named a Western Conference All-Star four times, voted All-NBA First Team four times, and has increased his field goal percentage and points per game in four of the five seasons he has played in the league.
But for most of his tenure in Dallas, Luka and the Mavericks have struggled to find their identity.
“The Dallas Mavericks can’t continue as-is and simply must find a way to mix things up and break from their rut,” FanSided’s Reid Hanson wrote in December 2022.
The identity problem might have started in 2019, when Dallas traded for New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis at the deadline.
“The Mavericks held high hopes for Porzingis as a co-star alongside Luka Doncic,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher in February 2023. “In the end, the ‘Unicorn’ wasn’t real. The plan never came to fruition. And the good idea never worked … because Kristaps Porzingis too rarely worked.”
Three seasons later, Porzingis was gone, traded to the Washington Wizards for roster depth.
That depth created a winning formula as the Mavericks came within two games of advancing to the NBA Finals in 2022, but they fell to the eventual champion Warriors. Even with proven depth, the Mavericks again hit the reset button at the trade deadline, dealing away a good chunk of their roster in February 2023 to acquire Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets. The Doncic-Irving duo wasn’t enough, and the Mavs missed the playoffs.
Most betting sites have the Mavericks with the 10th best odds (+2200) to win the 2024 NBA Finals. However, Luka has a much better chance at winning this year’s NBA Most Valuable Player award as most betting sites have him with the third best odds (+500) to win the award.