Luka Doncic is your Western Conference Player of the Month and an MVP candidate, leading the league in points, PER, offensive plus/minus, and second in usage %. Here’s a stretch of the games that he went on in the Mavs’ 5-game win streak to end the month:

  • 50 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds
  • 32 points, 9 assists, 9 rebounds
  • 60 points, 10 assists, 21 rebounds
  • 35 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds
  • 51 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds

It’s absurd. They are numbers that not even Wilt Chamberlain put up. It’s historic how much he carries the team all by himself, comparable to that 2007 LeBron-led Cleveland Cavaliers team in which he took Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Larry Hughes to the Finals.

It’s not sustainable.

There are two sides of the coin to Luka’s current level of play: the first is “Wow! I can’t believe how many statistics Luka put up all by himself tonight! This is absolute insanity!” The other is “He is unfortunately putting up these numbers because of the incredibly-flawed roster construction and has very little help otherwise. Please, throw him a life preserver.”

Heliocentric basketball where everything revolves around one player is fine in the short-term if you’re a player that loves the bright lights and is as talented as Luka is, but the moment someone figures out how to hit your one pitch, or that fastball loses its steam, there’s no backup plan. Depth has become more important than ever in the postseason, and the Mavericks might have the biggest gap in terms of skill going from their #1 to their #2 option in the entire NBA.

So, who could the Mavs make a move for to get some help for Luka to try and make a run this year? Dallas currently sits at the 4th seed in the Western Conference where the Suns and Warriors have started slow with injuries to Devin Booker and Stephen Curry. The time to capitalize on Luka’s youth is now, and Mark Cuban realizes that- Dallas tried to make it work with a backcourt of him and Dennis Smith Jr. and it didn’t work. They made a blockbuster trade for Porzingis that didn’t work out as he now is playing especially well in Washington. Ironically, the best hypothetical #2 option for Luka’s style was Jalen Brunson, who they refused to pay, he improved in extended playing time while Luka was out with injuries and illness, and is performing well in New York.

With no Brunson, the trade for Christian Wood this offseason has been fine at best in the moments where he’s started- Jason Kidd has played mind-games with him coming off the bench to start the year and “earn” his spot as a starter committed to winning. With the Mavs still strapped for resources, with few desirable players on the roster and their upcoming pick still convened to the Knicks in the Porzingis deal, they have limited ways to make a move, but still need to move quickly. Let’s go over some possibilities that aren’t too out-of-reach that could make all the difference in Luka not drowning the rest of the season in Dallas.

Dishonorable Mentions: Trae Young, OG Anunoby, Zach LaVine, Kyle Kuzma

These are players that have been rumored to be on the table in potential deals, but Dallas would be foolish to pull the trigger on. For some reason, Dallas is the betting favorite to land either Trae Young or LaVine, two disgruntled superstars. Trae would require a lot to give up and is already a defensive liability due to his size, which would make for a terrible defensive duo with that already being Luka’s weak point. LaVine will require a haul on his 5-year deal, is relatively ball-dominant as well, and has already been relatively public about wanting to be in LA as a UCLA grad; the last thing the Mavs need is pulling a swing-for-the-fences move for someone who doesn’t want to be there.

Anunoby would be a great fit as a versatile big with incredible defensive energy on a middling Raptors team, but EVERYONE would want OG, and the Mavericks simply don’t have the assets to give up for that kind of move unless Mark Cuban blackmails the country of Canada.

Kyle Kuzma has been working wonders in Washington, but could easily opt-out of his contract at the end of the season to get paid. It’s another short-sighted move that feels desperate.

Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors Guard

VanVleet has been underperforming this year on a Raptors team that could potentially look to rebuild after it feels a bit stale after their championship run. He wouldn’t require as much capital to give up as OG Anunoby would, but would still be a fantastic guard to take some of the offensive pressure on Luka as a ball-handler that could play that same role that Brunson did last year. He was the starting point guard on a championship-winning team, an all-star last year, and still averages 18.5 points per game despite having some dip in his numbers thus far. He could be the

Photo: Associated Press

offensive floor general to take the heat off of Luka.

Bojan Bogdanovich, Detroit Pistons Forward

The Pistons are in full-tank mode to be one of the worst teams in the league to improve their odds in the “Worst for Wembanyama” sweepstakes come draft time. Bogdanovich is on an incredibly trade-friendly deal that has enticed the entirety of the league’s contenders as a wing that knocks down shots at 50% completion and 44% from 3 to create 21 points per game that are into Detroit’s abyss of a loss column.

He’s the prototypical three-and-D wing that would theoretically make all of the shots from the behind-the-back passes Luka can make that have often been missed by the supporting cast of characters such as Reggie Bullock or Tim Hardaway Jr. That offensive production from Luka’s passing to space the floor while keeping their size would be invaluable in their half-court offense since the Mavs play so slow by comparison to the rest of the league.

Buddy Hield, Indiana Pacers Guard

Hield is a high-volume shooter that fits the exact qualities just mentioned in spacing the floor with Bojan, but doesn’t have as much size or defensive capability. However, for his value at just $18 million on a tradeable deal (that the Lakers have batted eyelashes at all year), Hield could easily be a moveable piece from the Eastern Conference should the Pacers turn into fool’s gold after their hot start. An 18 point-per-game knockdown three point specialist will always have value.

John Collins, Atlanta Hawks Forward

John Collins is more often rumored to be on the trade block than not, so that could only mean that there’s some sort of dissatisfaction in the role of what he provides that the Mavs could take on. At 25, he could fit Luka’s timeline better than Christian Wood, provide size as a skilled wing in the paint defensively despite having career-low offensive numbers. A change of scenery might be what he needs, and the pick-and-roll potential with Luka could energize Collins. The Hawks have so many dysfunctional rumors going on behind the scenes to that they could easily get desperate for a shakeup. He could be the Tyson Chandler-esque move that Jason Kidd so enjoyed throwing lobs to in 2011.

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