Report: Mavs rookie Luka Doncic will not play in the Summer League

2018 NBA Draft

When the Mavericks traded up to acquire international star Luka Doncic with the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, they made a significant step forward in their rebuild.

Doncic will now join a mixed core that includes second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr. as well as veterans Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki.

Although there will undoubtedly be some kind of learning curve for Doncic as he adjusts to the NBA style of play, his accomplishments overseas were wildly impressive for a 19 year old.

Fresh off of a Euroleague MVP honor and championship with Real Madrid, he also led his native Slovenia to the Eurobasket championship in September. That being said, he’s been playing competitive basketball for nearly a year-straight and could be a bit fatigued at the moment.

Despite the fact that the NBA Summer League is a great way for newly-drafted rookies to begin their development, the Mavericks have different plans for Doncic.

“The Mavericks are leaning toward holding No. 3 overall pick Luka Doncic out of the Las Vegas Summer League, team sources told ESPN, as the franchise is prioritizing rest for their prized rookie on the heels of the 19-year-old's long season with Real Madrid,” reported Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“With Doncic playing competitively for most of the past 10 months, the Mavs believe he would benefit more from a break than from playing in the NBA's summer league,” MacMahon added.

Despite the fact that he won’t be taking the court during a game this summer, it doesn’t mean he’s going to be away from the team. In fact, he will work out with teammates while following a strength and conditioning program. Therefore, he will still be able to bond with them and develop some chemistry.


Holding Doncic out of Summer League action could also benefit the Mavericks in another way. Since every second of in-game action is filmed and is accessible to every other team's scouting department, opposing teams may now have to guess when game-planning against Dallas at the beginning of the season.

"I like challenges," Doncic said during a press conference on Friday. "When they say you're going to be good, I like to be challenged. When they say you're not going to be good, I say, let's see. When I step on the court, I need to show. No matter what pick you are, you need to show it on the court."

It seems like he’ll have to wait until the season opener until he can show off his on-court skills. 

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