“He’s coming in shape like we’ve never seen… Notable guys that won their first MVP at 24, Michael Jordan, LeBron James” - Matt Barnes picks Luka Doncic to win the MVP next season

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic drives to the basket.
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic drives to the basket.
Justin Thomas Hamill

How much of a difference has Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic's offseason conditioning made? Enough so for Matt Barnes to pick him as the MVP favorite, with the former NBA player noting other stars who have won the award at 24.

“He’s coming in shape like we’ve never seen. … Notable guys that won their first MVP at 24; Michael Jordan, LeBron James.”

Analyst picks Luka Doncic for next seasons MVP

Luka Doncic, the driving force of the Dallas Mavericks, has been using this offseason to get into great shape. As soon as the first picture of Doncic’s new physique came to light, headlines ate up his new athleticism.

As if the young star was not already a big problem for the league, he is now getting into the best health of his career.

In his first four seasons, Doncic already averaged 26.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game.


LeBron James and Michael Jordan both won their first MVP awards at 24, reading like there is nothing prohibitive of greatness in that number. If Doncic wins the award next season, he will replicate the accomplishments of two of the greatest to ever do it.

With that, he still has an entire NBA future to continue to make waves towards the great names of MJ and LeBron ever further.

Doncic brought Dallas into the Western Conference finals last season, only to end up against the Golden State Warriors. However, Luka could not hold the weight of that squad alone, and the Mavericks' postseason run ended.

There's little shame in losing to the eventual NBA champions. Beating Golden State's Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and their new youthful members is a tough feat for any team. That includes Dallas, whose only realistic contender against a squad of that caliber is Doncic.

It looks like Doncic took the loss personally. Coming so close to the NBA Finals in just his fourth year may prove to be motivating.

Analyst Matt Barnes pointed out that the weight Doncic is cutting and the shape he is getting into will give him a great opportunity to be MVP this season.

Doncic's improvement with a body that was arguably on the line of out of shape is significant. As he cuts into a healthier, more agile state, that provides a reason to fear Dallas.

Being in better shape does not translate to Doncic losing strength, either, and even if he had, it arguably would not be that problematic. Doncic utilizes his speed, skill and craftiness more than he does bully opponents. If he needs to show toughness, he can, but keeping extra pounds on for it is unnecessary.

Barnes’ prediction of an MVP nod for Doncic next season is realistic. The greatness already seen by the three-time All-Star is remarkable for his age.

Throw in a new, quicker body with a hunger from coming so close last season, and there may be a leveled-up Doncic coming for blood.

After being critiqued for his conditioning, it is nice to see Luka slim down and take the notion seriously in the offseason. It shows that he can take criticism and use it as fuel to refine his problems.

Slim Doncic is about to be an issue. Despite arguably never being in peak shape before, he still displayed a level of greatness. Cutting down into this version reads as though Luka is simply getting started.

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein


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