Athlete of the Week: Mavericks’ Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic | Image by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is The Dallas Express Athlete of the Week after climbing the team and NBA record charts as the team continues to fight to improve its playoff positioning in the Western Conference.

During Dallas’ Tuesday night loss to the Golden State Warriors, Doncic notched his 76th career triple-double — tying James Harden for the eighth-most in NBA history — and set a new franchise record for three-pointers made in a single season. He also became just the sixth player in league history with 20 triple-doubles in a season, joining Harden, Russell Westbrook, Oscar Robertson, Nikola Jokic, and Wilt Chamberlain.

Doncic followed that performance with 25 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists in Thursday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks before sitting out Friday night’s win over Golden State.

The 25-year-old has been the face of the franchise since he was drafted in 2018, yet the team has faced adversity in the postseason, most notably falling entirely out of the playoff picture after acquiring guard Kyrie Irving last season. However, Irving and Doncic have learned to play better with each other, and that, along with added defensive prowess at the trade deadline, has helped Dallas secure its playoff footing.

“They draw so much attention, and you can’t leave those guys on the island by themselves,” forward PJ Washington, a trade deadline addition, said about the backcourt duo. “It brings open shots for everybody else, and everybody else has to be ready and step up and make them.”

Dallas is in fifth place in the Western Conference with five games remaining in the regular season. The Mavericks are right on the heels of the Los Angeles Clippers for fourth place, having won 13 of their last 15 games. However, they will also have to fend off the suddenly hot Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Pelicans.

“Playing your best basketball at this time of the year — March, April, May, June — that gives you a chance to win a championship, and that’s what we’re playing for now,” head coach Jason Kidd told the media after Thursday’s win.

Dallas is closing a three-game homestand. Having won their first two games, the Mavericks are looking to finish a perfect 3-0 when they take on the Houston Rockets at 2:30 p.m. CT on Sunday.

Past winners:

Wyatt Langford

Jamie Benn

Daniel Gafford

Max Abmas

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