DALLAS – Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic acknowledged that his conditioning “has to be better.”
Doncic’s weight and conditioning were a frequent topic on TNT’s broadcast of the Mavs’ 102-99 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night. Analyst Reggie Miller, a Hall of Fame guard, criticized Doncic, saying he was “trudging the court” and “has to cut back.”
“People are going to talk about it, yes or no,” said Doncic, who had 28 points, six rebounds and nine assists in the loss. “I know I have to do better.”
Sources told ESPN that Doncic reported to training camp weighing more than 260 pounds for the second year in a row.
“I had a long summer,” said Doncic, who joined the Slovenian team’s training camp days after Dallas was eliminated from the playoffs, leading the show to fourth place in its first Olympics bid. “I had the Olympics, I took three weeks off and relaxed a bit. Maybe too much. I have to get back to normal.”
The 22-year-old Doncic, a two-time All-NBA selection from the first team, is averaging 25.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 8.5 assists for the 11-12 Mavs. While those are impressive stats, they are slightly below their numbers from the previous two seasons, as is Doncic’s 44.4% shooting from the field.
Doncic’s efforts to improve his conditioning were recently interrupted by a sprained left knee and ankle, injuries sustained simultaneously that led to him missing three games at the start of the Mavs’ current 2-8 streak. He was left out of Saturday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies due to persistent pain in his left ankle, and the Mavs also mentioned a sprained left thumb in Tuesday’s injury report.
The Mavs are 0-4 in games Doncic has missed.
“It’s still painful, but I try to play and practice,” Doncic said of the ankle. “But it is still painful.”