It may only be four games into the 2020-2021 NBA season, but Luka Doncic has gotten off to a rather inauspicious start.
The Mavericks’ star forward is shooting an abysmal 2 of 21 from 3-point range (9.5 percent) to start the season. For reference, Cavaliers center JaVale McGee is 3 of 5 from outside this season.
According to ESPN, Doncic is having the second-worst 3-point shooting start (minimum 20 attempts) after the first four games of a season all time, behind only the Warriors’ Kelly Oubre Jr. (1 for 21 this season).
Per @ESPNStatsInfo, the two worst 3-point percentages with a minimum of 20 attempts through four games in NBA history:
Kelly Oubre: 4.8% (1-of-21)
Luka Doncic: 9.5% (2-of-21)
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 31, 2020
Doncic is coming off back-to-back games of 0-for-5 shooting from 3. It didn’t really matter in the Mavs’ 51-point win over the Clippers on Sunday, but Doncic had one of the worst games of his career in Dallas’ 118-99 loss to the Hornets on Wednesday, posting just 12 points, five assists and three turnovers in 24 minutes. Two of those missed 3-point shots were air-balled.
Conditioning has been a huge concern for players across the league after the shortest offseason in NBA history. It’s possible that Doncic still hasn’t fully recovered and needs to get back in playing shape.
“I just think my legs [are] really tired,” he said following Wednesday’s loss. “But it’s not an excuse.”
“Obviously I’ve got to do way better,” Doncic added. “I’m 21 in my third season, and I can improve so much. I can still prove so much, so I’ve got to work on those shots every day and if you work on it, they’re going to fall in eventually, so that’s my point of view.”
In fact, Doncic returned to the court after the game to get up shots, which is the type of thing you want to see from the young superstar. It’s good to see him taking accountability.
With the 2020-21 regular season being shortened to 72 games, the Mavs (1-3) will need Doncic to find his stride soon. The good news for Dallas is that Kristaps Porzingis is back to practicing fully and could return in a couple weeks, per coach Rick Carlisle. That should help lighten Doncic’s load and free him up for better looks at the rim.