Giannis Antetokounmpo’s winning mentality and skill set have been likened to those of NBA legend Tim Duncan, and sports pundit Bill Simmons has gone as far as to claim that Antetokounmpo could have been the missing piece for the Dallas Mavericks, rather than their current star, Luka Doncic. This intriguing assertion begs the question of how the team would have fared with the “Greek Freak” in its ranks.
Would the Mavericks be better off with Giannis Antetokounmpo instead of Luka?
Simmons argues that if Antetokounmpo had been on the Mavericks instead of Doncic, the team could have secured an additional ten victories. While comparing the two players, he acknowledges the impressive ten-year career of the Milwaukee Bucks superstar, which boasts two MVP titles and exceptional abilities at both ends of the court. On the other hand, Doncic is younger and less experienced, though he has already demonstrated immense potential by finishing in the top five of MVP voting at the age of 21.
Is Luka Doncic a legit MVP candidate? He's not even turning 21 until February…only three players have ever finished in the top-5 in MVP voting at that age: Tim Duncan, LeBron and Kevin Durant. pic.twitter.com/AyYqhKifGR
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) November 20, 2019
Unfortunately, the Mavericks’ performance this season has been lackluster, failing to reach the play-in tournament after a Western Conference Finals appearance the previous year. While Doncic’s scoring numbers have improved, the team’s chemistry and defense have fallen short. This is where Antetokounmpo’s leadership qualities and defensive prowess could have potentially elevated the Mavericks’ performance, especially in working alongside teammates like Kyrie Irving.
It’s important to recognize that the team’s roster changes may have contributed to the Mavericks’ struggles, with key players such as Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Spencer Dinwiddie leaving the team, and potentially mismatched additions like Kyrie Irving and Christian Wood joining. The current roster appears better suited to complement Antetokounmpo’s skills rather than Doncic’s, which may have impacted the team’s performance.
Can the Mavericks bounce back and build a successful team around Luka?
The responsibility to improve the team’s roster ultimately lies with the Mavericks’ management, who must seize the upcoming offseason as an opportunity to recruit players that will complement Doncic’s abilities. Clearly, significant changes need to be made in order to propel the team back to the top of the league.
Despite the setbacks, the future looks promising for the Mavericks, as Doncic remains committed to the franchise for the long haul after rumors circulated about him putting up a trade request. Only time will tell if the organization can surround him with the right talent and build a winning team that capitalizes on his undeniable potential.