May Everyone Say, “Get Luka Some Help”

We’ve said this numerous times about countless NBA stars, but the phrase “get (insert name) some help” never rang more true than it does for Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

“Get Luka some help” was the phrase of the day on social media following Dallas’ 126-111 Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Doncic scored 46 points on 17-of-30 shooting and added 14 assists and seven rebounds to his total. Including his scoring output, he accounted for 77 Mavericks points, which are the most ever by a player in a Game 7. That level of individual production should have been enough to get past the Clippers, but it wasn’t, and that’s why Mark Cuban needs to make it his No. 1 priority to get Doncic some assistance.

Nothing yet. We’ve been in the playoffs twice since I’ve been there. We lost both times, so nothing yet. You get paid to win, and we didn’t do it.

Doncic on what he’s proved in the playoffs.

While all five Mavericks starters scored in double figures, the bench accounted for six of 111 points. Luka’s supposed co-star, Kristaps Porzingis, who’s on a five-year $158M contract, only scored 16 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, and while those stats don’t sound terrible, he scored half of his points in the opening four minutes of the game. He was pretty ineffective through the remainder of the game on offense. Porzingis averaged only 13.1 points per game for the series, which sounds more like a fourth option on a championship-caliber team instead of a second option like he’s supposed to be.

As for the bench players, Josh Richardson, who started 56 games (all but three games that he was active), was sent to the bench late in the season and played a bench role in the Clippers series. Sadly, despite playing more than 15 minutes per game through Game 4, Richardson couldn’t seem to get anything going offensively before getting his minutes cut from Game 5 to Game 7. He averaged 4.8 points per game in the series, despite averaging 12.1 points per game through the season, including six 20-point games. Richardson may have been the most disappointing of the bench players because of the role he played for the Mavericks throughout the season. He was virtually non-existent through the series when he should have been Dallas’ leading scorer off the bench.

While Jalen Brunson had two productive games in the series for the Mavericks, he only averaged 8.0 points, which is a far cry from his 12.6 average through the season. Contrary to Richardson’s situation, Brunson logged relatively consistent minutes throughout the series. Still, outside of his two games scoring in double-figures, he didn’t make the most of his time on the court and wasn’t the lift that Dallas needed off the bench in Game 7.

Luka needs help, which is more evident now than last season in the bubble when the same thing occurred. Porzingis isn’t the $158M player that Cuban hoped he would be. Richardson’s situation needs to be defined, and adjustments must be made, while Brunson, Dwight Powell, and Maxi Kleber simply need to step up.

Dallas is unlike most teams in the NBA because they have Doncic. While the typical contender needs two superstars and a fringe all-star as a third option to contend, the Mavericks have one superstar that only requires one fringe all-star and a solid supporting cast to succeed in the NBA.

Think about it.

This article is discussing how inconsistent and lackluster Dallas’ role players were. Yet, they were 15 points away from defeating two superstars (Paul George and Kawhi Leonard) and an experienced supporting cast of players with championship or bust aspirations. Dallas isn’t far away, but the time is now for Cuban to make some blockbuster moves for his superstar while he can.

Addam M. Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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