The Dallas Mavericks are rightfully thrilled to have acquired Slovenian phenom Luka Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft last night. They are so thrilled that head coach Rick Carlisle is already thinking outside the box when it comes to how to utilize Doncic’s skill set:
Carlisle on Doncic: "Him playing 4 is gonna be a problem for teams to match up with."
— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) June 22, 2018
Doncic at power forward means that he can play four different positions when you combine together point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. The 2018 EuroLeague MVP stands at 6’8, so there are certainly some match-ups where you can use his height as advantage. The problem rests in the fact that Doncic weighs 228 pounds, which means certain power forwards would provide trouble physically.
So basically, Doncic won’t be playing any power forward against Anthony Davis or LaMarcus Aldridge. However, teams usually gravitate towards small ball lineups at the end of games now, meaning that having Doncic at power forward when trying to close out a game could be lethal for the Mavericks,
It’s likely that Doncic will be Dallas’ opening night shooting guard alongside Dennis Smith Jr. in the backcourt, which would send Wesley Matthews to a bench role. Harrison Barnes will be the small forward, and Dirk Nowitzki will likely shift back to power forward to accommodate the need for a free agent big man, something the Mavericks are said to heavily be pursuing.
Dallas is optimistic about their chances of signing DeMarcus Cousins, who will be the top center available on the market, but other options to upgrade the depth at power forward and center this summer via free agency include Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, Jabari Parker, Greg Monroe, Jahlil Okafor, Jusuf Nurkic, and Aaron Gordon.
ESPN reports that we won’t see the 19-year-old Doncic participate in the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas, as the Mavericks would like to give Doncic some much needed rest after a long season playing for Real Madrid.
Doncic averaged 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 45% from the field and 30% from three-point range in 61 games for Real Madrid.
Photo: Getty Images