Luka Doncic Arguing for Calls During Play Puts Mavs 'in Harm's Way,' Jason Kidd Says

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 4, 2021

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 26: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks talks with head coach Jason Kidd as the team takes on the Houston Rockets in the second half at American Airlines Center on October 26, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks won 116-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd has said that superstar guard Luka Doncic needs to stop arguing with referees during the run of play.

Kidd discussed the situation following Friday's 107-91 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans after being asked about Doncic's frequent interactions with the officials:

"I would lean toward playing five-on-five a bit more. You're not going to get any calls. Officials, they tend to not stop the game to change calls. You have to understand there's a point in time in games—dead balls—to be able to talk to officials.
"While the game is going on, transition defense is one of the things we've talked about that we have to get better. If we're lobbying for calls during live play, it puts us in harm's way. ... Just some things have got to be a little bit more important. I think we're going to get better at understanding as a team when to talk to officials. Not just Luka."

Doncic, who recorded 21 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and seven turnovers in the loss, didn't dispute his coach's stance.

"J. Kidd, he's got a point," he said. "I've got to stop doing that."

The perennial MVP contender didn't want to speak too much about the officiating, however, merely adding: "I think you guys can see it. I'll leave it there."

In September, the NBA announced a rule change that urged referees not to call fouls if an offensive player was making "overt, abrupt or abnormal non-basketball moves" in an effort to draw a call.

Several of the league's top offensive players, including the Brooklyn Nets' James Harden, spoke out about the change early in the season as free-throw rates dropped dramatically.

"I'm not the type to complain about it. I asked every official if they see a foul, just call a foul," Harden said in October. "Sometimes I feel like coming into a game it's already predetermined. I already have that stigma of getting foul calls—a foul is a foul no matter what league it is."

While much of that chatter has subsided as the season has gone on, it's clear players like Doncic still believe they aren't getting enough calls for contact.

That said, the Mavs' franchise cornerstone ranks 12th in the NBA with 5.2 fouls drawn per game, and his 8.1 free throw attempts per game are in line with his career average.

Doncic could argue he belongs closer to the top of the fouls-drawn list—the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the league at 8.2 per game—but Kidd's main point still rings true: trying to lobby for a call while the play is ongoing won't help his cause.

The Mavericks (11-10) are back in action Saturday night, when they host the Memphis Grizzlies (12-10) at the American Airlines Center.