Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic are 0-2 as Dallas Mavericks teammates. Last Saturday, they were defeated in overtime by the Sacramento Kings, and on Monday, they were defeated by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In both cases, the superstars deferred to one another, which jeopardized the Mavericks’ aggression and rhythm, especially during important periods of those games.
“It feels great. We just have to get more timely stops and take care of a few possessions that can go either way. We’re playing in the Western Conference, and I am learning that there’s a lot of physicality [and] a lot of players that go get buckets,” Irving said to the media when asked about his chemistry with Doncic after two games.
Mavericks' Kyrie Irving on his synergy with Luka Doncic after two games:
"It feels great. We just have to get more timely stops and take care of a few possessions. That can go either way. We're playing in the Western Conference, and I am learning that there's a lot of… pic.twitter.com/87ZiNwxdPP
— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) February 15, 2023
Kyrie Irving arrived before the trade deadline this month. Irving had to adjust to the Dallas Mavericks’ style and system after spending the previous three years in Brooklyn with Kevin Durant.
With Luka Doncic out with a heel injury, Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd let Irving run the offense. Dallas appeared uncertain and discombobulated with two ball-dominant point guards when “Luka Legend” joined the team.
Doncic has never played alongside someone of his talent level and pedigree as a backcourt mate prior to Irving’s arrival. There will inevitably be bumps and growing pains along the road.
Even with an aging Dirk Nowitzki in the lineup, Luka Doncic has never deferred so much to a teammate. Doncic and Kyrie Irving played a game of hot potato against the Timberwolves, each pressing the other to shoot.
Dallas possesses two of the best one-on-one players in NBA history, but neither was ready to take the big shot. That must change sooner rather than later if the Mavericks are to make the playoffs.
Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic have never been known for their defensive skills. Because of their inability to reliably control opposing players, the two have frequently been targeted on defense.
The Mavericks have almost always surrounded Doncic with capable and willing defenders. Losing Dorian Finney-Smith in the trade to get Irving has already been felt.
Kyrie Irving enjoyed the most success in the NBA while playing with LeBron James. During their time together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the four-time MVP was an excellent defender. Luka Doncic has never been an exceptional defender, which may cause chaos in the Mavericks’ backcourt.