Throughout his career, Luka Doncic played under Rick Carlisle. But last year, the Dallas Mavericks brought in Jason Kidd as their head coach, and Doncic had the most success he’s had. The Mavericks made it to the Western Conference Finals and the team’s defense looked great.
Kidd was able to capitalize on Doncic’s size while building solid defenses around him. Heading into next year, the additions of Christian Wood and JaVale McGee should help make up for the loss of Jalen Brunson, but the team’s ceiling still rests with Doncic.
Although Doncic has already established himself as a top 5 player in the NBA, he is only 23 years old. He still has a lot of room to grow and could become one of the best international players of all time. During a recent interview, Kidd opened up about Doncic’s sky-high ceiling.
“When you’re looking at the ceiling, the sky’s the limit,” Kidd said during a podcast appearance all the smoke. “You can fly 40,000, 50,000. Until he gets tired. If you look at his ability to control the game offensively, he is only 23 years old and loves playing the game. I’m just lucky enough to have a good seat, to watch him play and also just try to make the game stress-free with what I see.”
The Mavericks head coach also revealed what he thinks Doncic would say about the idea of his own blanket.
While Doncic is an emphatic player on the pitch, he has adopted a fairly calm personality off the pitch. Kidd said if he was with him he would say he was always told to play with no stress. At the same time, however, Kidd believes Doncic knows how awesome he is.
“If he was right next to me, he would say, ‘Coach always talks about not having stress.’ But often he thinks he can take on the world. When he understands how to use all the parts, shoot. The sky’s the limit,” Kidd revealed.
And while Doncic’s actual game is incredible to watch, what’s perhaps even more impressive is how smart he is when it comes to basketball.
On the podcast, Kidd was asked if he’d ever seen a player with a basketball IQ like Doncic. Kidd himself was a top-flight NBA point guard, but even he admitted he’s never seen anyone like Doncic.
“I haven’t. If you’re talking about someone who played abroad, he was a pro by the age of 14, 15, look at what he learned from his early career as a pro. So he’s not scared,” Kidd said. “He’s seen the doubles teams, the switches, the box-and-ones. He thinks he can beat them all, and most of the time he does. If you look at what he’s doing, he’s different because he has his own speed limit. I think sometimes his size isn’t talked about. He’s a big boy. And I was close to LeBron (James), and he’s that kind of LeBron size and big boy type of fat. He can stop you, he’s not afraid of contact. And he’s not afraid of the stage.”
It’s clear Kidd relishes the opportunity to coach Doncic and if he can continue to support him, the Mavericks have a real shot at doing something special in the near future.