Luka Doncic's Trainer: Mavs Star 'Not in the Best Shape' Ahead of NBA Restart

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 10, 2020

FILE - In this March 11, 2020, file photo, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) handles the ball against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas. Video games have become a go-to hobby for millions self-isolating around the world, and athletes from preps to pros have eagerly grabbed the controls. Stars like Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic have turned to gaming to stay connected with fans.(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins, File)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

The trainer for Luka Doncic is working to get the Dallas Mavericks star back into peak shape leading up to the NBA restart on July 31. 

Speaking to Russian news outlet RIA Novosti (h/t EuroHoops.net), Jure Drakslar explained that Doncic is "not in the best shape" right now, but isn't concerned about the All-Star guard being ready when games resume:

“We have been working together for the last three weeks. Luka was previously in quarantine and trained individually at home. The last three weeks we have been working hard to prepare him for the resumption of the NBA season. ... Most players struggled to stay in shape. Doncic is no exception. We understand his role in Dallas. Luka is improving every day. He puts in a lot of effort. He has completely dedicated himself to be ready."

Given the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, there were questions about how NBA players were keeping up their training regimen after the season was suspended on March 11. 

Casey Smith, Mavs director of player health and performance, told Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News in April he set up a virtual system and maintained constant contact with players:

“Not necessarily always calling to say ‘Hey, are you working out? Hey, are you eating right?’. More from a personal standpoint just to try to make sure everyone's doing OK.

“While athletic conditioning is important, we don't want to overshadow the fact that they're also human beings with families and dealing with the issues that we're all dealing with."

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle told Caplan before the start of this season that Doncic put an emphasis on conditioning last offseason to improve from his Rookie of the Year campaign:

“It's just a natural progression that every player needs to have going from Year 1 to Year 2, especially someone like Luka that had such a great first year. People are really going to be coming for him in his second year, and the continued work on body and conditioning and developing his game is going to keep moving him in the direction of becoming a really great player.”

The improved conditioning paid off, as Doncic was averaging 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists in 54 games before play was suspended. 

Dallas will enter the season restart as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference with a 40-24 record. If the team is going to make a deep run in the postseason, Doncic has to be in peak shape and play at the MVP level he showed throughout the 2019-20 campaign.