By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
From the 2022 NBA Playoffs nearly directly to the Slovenia national team is the plan for Luka Doncic. “If I am not injured, I am going to play for the national team,” he underlined in the 2021-22 season exit interview of the Dallas Mavericks.
Doncic, 23, plans to start practice with the senior national team of his country on June 15. From there, he intends to play and help Slovenia stay alive in the 2023 FIBA World Cup European Qualifiers. After settling for a 2-2 split over the first four games of the Group C double-legged round-robin schedule, Slovenia will host Croatia on June 30 and visit Sweden on July 3 looking to clinch one of the top three spots and thus enter Group J of the next stage.
Following a short period of rest, Doncic will be back in preparation mode as Slovenia shifts focus to the 2022 EuroBasket. As part of Group B, his side will collide with Lithuania, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, and France in Cologne from 1-7 September. The top four national teams will advance to the knockout stage, which will be held in Berlin between 10-18 September.
The busy summer will include the Mavs as well. During the exit interview, the Slovenian superstar additionally confirmed his involvement in the roster decisions ahead of the 2022-23 NBA Regular Season. General manager and president of basketball operations Nico Harrison noted both Doncic and head coach Jason Kidd will have a say in the summer decisions.
Eliminating the Utah Jazz in six games and the Phoenix Suns in seven games, the Mavericks made it to the Western Conference Finals but bowed out in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series opposite the Golden State Warriors last Thursday. Doncic averaged 29.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.6 blocks per contest over 80 appearances in the 2021-22 season.