DALLAS — In the Dallas Mavericks’ slow start through 23 games, one thing is apparent.

Luka Doncic isn’t in the same shape he was in last season. And against the Brooklyn Nets, he admitted that his conditioning has “got to be better.”

“People are going to talk about it, yes or no,” Doncic said after scoring 28 points against Brooklyn. “I know I’ve got to do better.”

Doncic’s slow start 

To this point in the season, Doncic has played in 18 of Dallas’ games. He’s missed time for an ankle injury, knee injury, and general soreness. And though it may not be directly related, one cause may be his conditioning.

Doncic came into NBA training camp above 260 pounds, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

The added weight could have contributed to Doncic’s slow start and a few nagging aches and pains.

After Dallas dropped below .500 on the season (11-12) Doncic admitted that the long summer affected him.

“I had a long summer,” Doncic said. “I had the Olympics, took three weeks off, and I relaxed a little bit. Maybe too much. I’ve just got to get back on track.”

Doncic can get better 

Back on track, for Doncic, means getting back his tenacity to get to the rim and seek out contact around the basket. This season, he is averaging 25.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per game.

Though impressive on the surface, his numbers are slightly down in comparison to last season. In the 2020-21 season, Doncic averaged 27 points, 8.6 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 47 percent from the field. This season, Doncic’s shooting numbers have dipped to just 44 percent from the field and 32 percent from three.

The long summer didn’t treat Doncic well. He now has to play his way back into shape. Step one of getting there was admitting the need to be better. At least Doncic has done that.

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Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.