NBA

Luca Doncic Still Needs to Improve This Aspect of His Game

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Dallas Mavericks forward still can improve his on-court attitude.

Ever since coming to North America, Luka Doncic has dominated the NBA. Last season, the forward captured the Rookie of the Year award, but he didn't rest on his laurels; this year, he's taken his game to the next level, posting triple-doubles and breaking records with relative ease. After less than two years in the association, he's already being mentioned with the likes of LeBron James and Michael Jordan.

That's not to say that he's already a perfect player, though. In fact, there's one main area where Doncic himself wants to improve.

Luka Doncic's impressive rise to stardom with the Dallas Mavericks

While Luka Doncic hasn’t been in the NBA for a long time, he had quite a full basketball career before ever crossing the Atlantic.

Doncic first hit the hardwood with his hometown club, Union Olpimija; from the beginning, his talent was evident, and he was bumped up to practice with the organization's older players. At age 13, Doncic signed with Real Madrid and moved to the Spanish capital. Before long, he was starting for the senior squad.

After starring in the 2018 EuroLeague campaign, Doncic made a move to North America. He entered the NBA draft and was selected by the Atlanta Hawks; he never suited up for the franchise, however, as they promptly traded him to the Dallas Mavericks. Head coach Rick Carlisle said the rookie could be a franchise player, and Doncic has proved him right; the forward averaged just over 21 points per game and took home Rookie of the Year honors. This season, his stats have only gotten better.

Luka Doncic can still improve his on-court emotions

While success usually comes naturally to Luka Doncic, the forward has been struggling in one specific area. When he feels things aren't going his way, the young star often takes his frustration out on the officials; that's led to him collecting a few technical fouls in recent games.

While Doncic acknowledged he needs to keep a cooler head, he explained that his outbursts are coming more from a desire to win than anything else. “I'm passionate for the game,” the forward explained. “I want to win, and I just sometimes get out of control, because I want to win the whole time. I'm competitive. You can ask my family. Even if it's not basketball, if it's anything, I'm so competitive. But, yeah, I've got to work on that for sure.”

“I know how to [approach officials], but like I say, I'm passionate,” he continued. “I know a lot of times I'm wrong. Persons are wrong sometimes, and I've just got to learn to calm myself down and go to the next play.”

Learning that discretion is the better part of valor

There's nothing wrong with being competitive; no Dallas Mavericks fan would want Luka Doncic stepping on the court with anything less than a complete dedication to winning. At some point, however, discretion becomes the better part of valor.

Doncic has already emerged as one of the NBA's elite offensive talents. While he's virtually unguardable, the young forward is capable of taking himself out of the action, both emotionally and literally; he can't score if on the bench trying to cool down. At some point, Doncic will have to realize that arguing will never change a call. If anything, it will embolden the opposition to try to rough him up and disrupt his offensive flow.

No one doubts Luka Doncic's talent; if he becomes unflappable under pressure, he'll be truly unstoppable.

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Joe Kozlowski
Sports Editor

Joe Kozlowski began his career as a sports journalist in 2013 and joined Sports7 in 2019. He covers the NBA and soccer for Sports7, with specialties in legacy NBA players such as Michael Jordan and Premier League club Arsenal. Off the clock, he's a Kansas City Chiefs fan and a hockey goalie. Growing up loving Shaquille O'Neal and reading everything he could about the great big men throughout NBA history — likely because he was still tall enough, at least relative to his peers, to play center — he's continued to love learning about and exploring the historical and story-based sides of the basketball archives. As for Arsenal, Joe spent a year living in London and latched onto the local support of the club. He's barely missed a match since, loving Arsene Wenger, enduring the Banter Era, and following along through rebuilds. The Premier League interest developed into a passionate following of the Champions League, Europe's big five league, and international soccer as a whole when played at the highest level. Regardless of the sport, Joe is captivated by the stories of athletes beyond the box scores and how they push the envelope — both in terms of what we think a human is capable of accomplishing and how they find new competitive tactics to win.

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Author photo
Joe Kozlowski Sports Editor

Joe Kozlowski began his career as a sports journalist in 2013 and joined Sports7 in 2019. He covers the NBA and soccer for Sports7, with specialties in legacy NBA players such as Michael Jordan and Premier League club Arsenal. Off the clock, he's a Kansas City Chiefs fan and a hockey goalie. Growing up loving Shaquille O'Neal and reading everything he could about the great big men throughout NBA history — likely because he was still tall enough, at least relative to his peers, to play center — he's continued to love learning about and exploring the historical and story-based sides of the basketball archives. As for Arsenal, Joe spent a year living in London and latched onto the local support of the club. He's barely missed a match since, loving Arsene Wenger, enduring the Banter Era, and following along through rebuilds. The Premier League interest developed into a passionate following of the Champions League, Europe's big five league, and international soccer as a whole when played at the highest level. Regardless of the sport, Joe is captivated by the stories of athletes beyond the box scores and how they push the envelope — both in terms of what we think a human is capable of accomplishing and how they find new competitive tactics to win.

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