Luka Doncic was ranked third overall in NBCSports.com’s “50 best players in five years” thought experiment this summer. That was based on our belief that he will take some big steps forward off his impressive rookie season once his conditioning improves, allowing him to better use his gifts.
Doncic’s off-season conditioning has been a topic on his social media this summer.
Dwain Price at Mavs.com spoke with Doncic about his summer routine.
MAVS.COM: So how has the summer gone for you so far?
LUKA DONCIC: It was a different summer for me. It’s the first time I’ve had so many days off – actually, months. So it was great for me.
MAVS.COM: Millions of us saw that photo of you on social media where you posed with a flat stomach while holding your dog, Hugo. How much weight did you lose, because I heard you lost as much as 20 pounds?
LUKA: Yeah, but I didn’t check it. I just lost it, so I don’t have to worry about it, so that’s the key.
MAVS.COM: What has been the immediate results of the weight loss? And do you believe that’s going to help you going forward, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
LUKA: I would say I’m faster now. So (my defense is) going to get better, for sure.
Take all this with a grain of salt. Every NBA player (or their trainer) posts workout videos and said he gained/lost 10 pounds over the summer and is in the best shape of their life. Let’s see what that looks like when he’s in training camp and then games.
That said, Doncic certainly had room to improve. The longer games, the longer season, and the higher level of athleticism in the NBA compared to Europe and Doncic was not there physically last season (most rookies are not). This is not going to be a one-season process, either, it’s going to take years of work in the gym and eating well (Mark Cuban reportedly got Doncic a personal chef) to get in peak shape. Doncic averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6 assists a game as a rookie, if he gets in better shape the rest of the league should be worried.