Luka Doncic has been away from the Dallas Mavericks for the last month and has been playing hard to ensure that Slovenia secures qualification in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. His dedication to his national team has been evident since before he made it into the NBA, being an integral part of the 2017 Slovenian national team that won EuroBasket, the first in the country's history.
While the Mavs lost Doncic's co-star in Jalen Brunson and haven't replaced him with anyone, Luka is busy putting on a show for the European fans he left to come to play in the NBA. With Dirk Nowitzki in attendance, Doncic led Slovenia to an 81-84 win in Sweden, responding to 'overrated' chants with 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists.
In the game, Luka proved to the Swedish fans that he definitely isn't overrated after converting a beautiful skyhook that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would be proud of over the outstretched Swedish defender.
This was the last international game Luka has to play for two months, as Slovenia will be participating in EuroBasket 2022 to defend their crown as champions in September. The 7 weeks in between today and Slovenia's EuroBasket opener against Lithuania will be Luka's true offseason, as he has stayed busy with basketball.
Luka came into international games looking noticeably fitter, a great sign for the Maverick fans that have been waiting to see Luka figure out his conditioning issues. Nikola Jokic became a two-time MVP after focusing on his weight and conditioning, so a similar leap is expected by many from Luka.
If the Mavericks don't replace Brunson, Luka's workload next season will be that much heavier. The Mavs have also missed out on Slovenian teammate Goran Dragic. The Mavs have one roster spot left and will have to choose between prioritizing a backup guard for Luka and Spencer Dinwiddie or signing a wing to add depth behind Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Tim Hardaway Jr.