Former Mavs guard Spencer Dinwiddie was faced with some tough questions about his former teammate Luka Doncic on Gilbert Arenas’ podcast this week.
Doncic received All-NBA First Team honours for the fourth consecutive time and finished the regular season with the league’s second most points (32.4) and was eighth in assists (8).
One of the hardest questions Dinwiddie was asked about Doncic was: how can Luka lift the Mavericks to a championship level?
“Defense, obviously,” Dinwiddie said on the podcast. “He does give effort to a degree on that end but it can be [at] a higher level and you want to get to a space where they aren’t hunting you, obviously. It’s never good when your best player is getting targeted on defense.
“Whenever the right roster gets around him he’s probably going to have to change play style a tiny bit.”
Doncic had a defensive rating of 113.3 this season, which isn’t too bad considering the league’s best was 107.7 (Giannis Antetokounmpo).
Eevn so, rivals like Clippers guard Paul George recognise defense isn’t Luka’s strength.
“Some people just can’t play defense, and that’s okay,” George said of Doncic on an April episode of Podcast P with Paul George. “As good as he is offensively, some people just are not gifted defensively and vice versa… Dennis Rodman, great on defense. That’s not his defense.”
Doncic did have 90 steals throughout the season though but it seems his overall lack of defense is more about his effort level than it is a lack of skill.
Former NBA player Brandon Jennings appeared on the podcast with Dinwiddie and he was much more savage in his assessment of the Slovenian superstar.
“Get in shape,” Jennings said. “Stop bitching. Why you always crying to the ref?”
Dinwiddie made sure to stick up for his “guy” and affirmed that he loved being in Dallas.
“I think he’s in shape, but if you’re talking about that elite level, like, I can be at the rim every single time…when we talk about Giannis, Bron-type of shape?,” Dinwiddie said. “No. He can hoop, though.”
Dallas will be looking to improve on their 38-44 from this season and elevate themselves into the playoffs conversation.
Luka will be a key to their success but it remains to be seen whether Kyrie Irving will be back next season.