The beginning of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving’s partnership got off to a rocky start last season, but Luka says this season will be different.
The pair went 5-11 in the games they played together, after Irving was traded to Dallas in February.
Doncic is confident that the duo getting a full season plus training camp under their belts will make all the difference.
“I mean better for sure,” Doncic said after Wednesday morning’s practice. “He came in the middle of the season last year, and we didn’t have much time. We went straight to playing games. It takes time to do chemistry, especially on the court, so we didn’t have the whole training camp and then I mean the preseason too. So I think it’s going to be way better.”
Mavs head coach Jason Kidd shared similar sentiments to Luka and explained how Doncic and Irving’s relationship will benefit from time.
“We like things that happen right away, but we will continue to grow that relationship,” Kidd said. “There is a relationship, and so they had the summer and now they have a preseason to bond. But that’s the big question: Can they coexist? And it is not that they don’t coexist; it’s the group around them. I think sometimes we are misinformed. If you have the right pieces around, they’re going to coexist, and after day one, they coexisted at a high level.”
No doubt Dallas will be looking to improve on their 38-44 record from last season and get beyond the regular season.
Last year marked the first time the Mavs failed to make the playoffs since Doncic’s rookie season.
Luka took ownership of team’s defensive problems at the back end of last season, but stressed that himself and Kyrie will need to lead by example.
“The two leaders of the team, what we do, us two, other people are going to follow,” Doncic said. “We’ve got to set an example, and that’s everybody. It’s not just us. We got to play. There’s five players on the court. We going to play everybody, so everybody got to help each other.”
The front office recruited well in the offseason and added forward Grant Williams, along with Seth Curry, Richaun Holmes, Dante Exum, Derrick Jones Jr and draft signings Olivier-Maxence Prosper and Dereck Lively II.
It will be interesting to see if an upgraded supporting cast will allow Kyrie and Luka to thrive.