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NBA

Luka Doncic 'unstoppable' since criticism of weight

Mark Cuban believes Luka Doncic was inspired by his critics, having rediscovered form and fitness in 2022.

Update:
Luka Doncic 'unstoppable' since criticism of weight
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Luka Doncic took criticism of his weight at the start of this NBA season to heart and has since been "unstoppable", according to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

For the second season running, Doncic was the preseason MVP favourite; for the second season running, the Mavs superstar was accused of turning up for work out of shape.

Doncic himself acknowledged he "maybe" relaxed "too much" after leading Slovenia in a sensational deep run at the Tokyo Olympics.

Doncic shuts critics up

The 22-year-old vowed to "trim down" and "do better" and has done exactly that – reportedly now at a similar weight to his rookie year.

The Mavs were 17-18 up until the end of December, with Doncic featuring in only 21 games and averaging 25.6 points, 8.5 assists, 8.0 rebounds and a plus/minus of -4.0.

In 2022, the team are 18-6, carried by their main man's 29.3 points, 9.4 assists and 10.3 rebounds per game, along with a plus/minus of 9.1. He has not missed a game since January 7.

This calendar year, Doncic ranks third for total points (674), second for total assists (217) and sixth for total rebounds (236) – a response, Cuban suggests, to early-season criticism.

"I think he was humbled a little bit," Cuban told The Ticket. "I think he didn't like being called out for his weight and other things, and it finally clicked that there's a level of discipline that's required.

"All athletes at his level go through it at some level, where things are just easy and you're always used to being the best and you're always used to getting all the accolades.

"Then when something doesn't go according to expected, it makes you reconsider.

"He knows what he needs to do, and it finally clicked that if he's going to be the best – and I know he wants to be the best – there's certain things he has to control.

"Once he got a handle on those things, it's just been 'Katie, bar the door'. He's just been unstoppable."

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