Tonight we’ll get to see a dichotomy of two winning teams. On the one had you have the Dallas Mavericks with a player that is likely going to get a lot of MVP buzz in Luka Doncic. This season he’s putting up historic numbers, although some of that comes from historic usage. Tim MacMahon and Kevin Pelton talked about Luka Doncic’s usage and it’s pretty staggering.
Dribbling the ball longer than anyone in the history of the league, (since they started recording that stat) means that you’ll get a lot of opportunity.
That said, Doncic is putting up incredible numbers because of it. He’s averaging 36.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game this season. The question for the Mavericks is does that lead to winning a lot of games? Doncic is an incredible player and a play that involves Doncic usually means a positive outcome. But can you have too much of a good thing? The Mavericks are 3-3 this season and so as the season goes along it will be interesting to see if the Luka show leads to a better record or if they’re missing a secondary playmaker like Jalen Brunson more than we thought they would.
On the other side of the ball, you have the Utah Jazz who are without a superstar. Everything for the Jazz is shared, minutes, shots, assists. The highest amount of field goals per game is taken by Lauri Markkanen at 17. For context, Luka Doncic is taking 25.5. Highest assists per game goes to Mike Conley who averages 7, Luka Doncic leads the Mavericks with 8.7. Highest rebounds per game is Lauri Markkanen with 9.3, for the Mavericks it’s again Luka Doncic at 9.5.
This isn’t to say one system is better than the other. Luka Doncic is a remarkable player, but this does seem to put a little bit of excess risk on the Mavericks. What if Luka has an off night? What if there’s some sort of injury? If something like that happens it can be pretty catastrophic. For Utah, we’ve seen an impressive ability to spread the ball. We also see an interesting minute distribution. Markkanen leads the team at 34 minutes per game, then everyone else on the team is at 30 minutes per game or less. The Jazz are also going 11 players deep. Ochai Agbaji is 11th on the team in minutes but averages 14.3. It’s an incredible amount of depth and Will Hardy has done a great job spreading the wealth.
Again, this isn’t to say one team has it figured out more than the other, it just makes for some interesting contrasts that make for a compelling comparison.
When: 6:00 PM MT
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Radio: 97.5/1280 The Zone