Mavs: Who Could Fill the Void of Luka Doncic?

Luka Doncic

Getty Luka Doncic questions a call made in a game against the Denver Nuggets

The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the best teams in the NBA this season, despite struggling against the league’s top talent. They sit at third in the Western Conference with a record of 9-3 and are on a two-game winning streak. 

In any season, adversity is something nearly every team faces. Often, this comes in the form of injury. Early in the season, the Mavs have already seen both Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber miss pretty significant time, but have found ways to continue winning. 

Now, they’ll be without their superstar in Luka Doncic for at least one game. One of the best players in the league, this will be extremely difficult to overcome.

How long will he be out? Who could fill the massive void he leaves?

The Situation

Late in a game against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, Doncic had a scary fall, injuring his left leg. It was unclear how serious the injury was, creating tension as the team awaited further testing. 

“Luka walked off on his own power. I think he got rolled up on on his lower left leg, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” said Mavericks coach Jason Kidd after the game. 

Mavs fans got good news on Tuesday afternoon, when Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Doncic suffered left knee and left ankle sprains, but had no major damage, meaning the team will evaluate him daily. 

Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News would go on to report that Doncic traveled with the team to Phoenix now and will be with the them through the four-game road trip, even if not playing.

The Mavericks have already announced that Doncic will miss Wednesday’s game against the Suns, meaning he’ll be out for a minimum of one game, if not more. 

Dallas has a tough road trip upcoming, with back-to-back games against the Suns followed by back-to-back contests against the Clippers. Both of these teams are in the Western Conference, meaning the results of these four games will have major implications on the standings. 

The Mavericks should make sure they’re cautious in getting Doncic back on the court, but really need him to reach their ceiling. 

Filling the Void

In terms of who should physically start in the place of Doncic, guard Jalen Brunson makes the most sense. Not only is he one of the team’s best scorers at 15.1 points per game, but he is also an excellent passer. Brunson is second on the team in assists with 4.7 per contest. 

Outside of him, Kristaps Porzingis will need to emerge as the top player for the Mavericks. The 7-footer will need to increase his scoring output, but also help on the glass. Doncic is one of the best rebounding guards in the league, pulling down a team-high 8.3 per game, meaning Porzingis will also need to fill that void. To this point in the season, he’s only produced 7.9 per contest. 

Kristaps Porzingis, Mavericks, at left

GettyKristaps Porzingis, Mavericks, at left

Finally, Reggie Bullock and Tim Hardaway Jr. will need to continue knocking down 3s, but at a higher volume than ever. Both are excellent shooters and have the ability to bridge the scoring gap over the next few games.

While there’s hope the absence of Doncic will be short, other members of the team will need to step up regardless. 

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