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Can Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving Play Together?

Can Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving Play Together?

Can Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving Play Together?

Can Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving Play Together?

This has been a hot debate since the Kyrie Irving trade got announced as many were wondering if it would be possible to have these two stars play together. It is undeniable that their individual traits and successes are what makes them headline-worthy, but can they play together and combine those skills to produce wins for their postseason push?

The Mavericks have been sitting in-and-around the Play-In Tournament; overall, the duo is currently 3-6. While not sounding the alarm, because it is so early, that they can’t play together, it is interesting to point out that their playing styles may clash with their compatibility and success of this Dallas franchise.

In today’s article, I will be breaking down their on-court chemistry and how that could translate to wins. I’ll be giving you all the details on why it could work, why it couldn’t, and how this benefits the Mavericks for their playoff-push and beyond.

Why the Mavericks pursued this trade

Dallas wanted to make this deal happen because Luka Doncic did not have any strong backcourt help; the presence, to say the least, was lacking. To be honest, their entire team was lacking – despite the names of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Christian Wood being in the mix of good players on that team.

They knew they needed another scorer, a player to take the pressure off of Doncic and to allow him to flourish even more. Enter into the conversation: Kyrie Irving. Irving wanted out of Brooklyn, Brooklyn and Irving had a rocky relationship leading up to his departure (to put it nicely), so he was the perfect candidate to pair Doncic with.

On paper this was seen as the best deal ever, giving up hardly anything to acquire the half-a-season rental. Now the backcourt has grown stronger and there is another offensive player added to the mix; it wasn’t any offensive player, might I add. Irving has a deep bag of tricks and his basketball I.Q. is unlimited and terrifies his opponents.

Put that together with the offensive powerhouse Luka Doncic and now you have something special. Plus, the rest of the team has been struggling with injuries and inconsistency so it was time to make a ground-breaking move.

The pros of this newly assembled duo

Like I previously mentioned, another scorer/offensive mind is added to this team to benefit everyone. Allowing another scorer means more points can be put on the board and allow this team to hang with the big dawgs – in both conferences. Also, Irving (along with Doncic) can be a playmaker when they choose to be, which is another bonus for the Mavericks.

Another great point that should be highlighted is the fact that teams have to strategize for two threats now instead of one threat, what do I mean? What I mean is that there won’t be that many double-teams on Luka or Kyrie, they’ll be running the risk of easy buckets against themselves by leaving that player wide-open. May take a couple of passes or one pass to get the job done, but the job will be done to secure that bucket.

Dallas has good defense, guys like Reggie Bullock highlight that end of the ball, but with Kyrie joining the team, Dallas will be able to add a new layer of offensive potency to create an extra sharp and explosive attack. This league benefits the shooter, not the defender, so by Dallas making this trade they are fueling themselves with the benefits and just how the league has shifted into this new modern era of playing.

However, with all the benefits attached to something, what are the cons that are making people doubt this duo?

The cons of this newly assembled duo

Luka Doncic has been the only true superstar on this team since he has entered the league; he has never had to play alongside someone that is better or the same as him. The same could be said about Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn was so dysfunctional that he was the only superstar playing on the court – due to injuries and load management.

You can make the argument that him playing with LeBron James counts as playing with a superstar, and I’ll give you that. To be honest, I agree with that point and something that separates Luka and Kyrie. Kyrie does have an ego, but not to the extent of Luka’s ego.

Doncic is always about himself and how he is portrayed. He is a very obsessive and possessive man/player, it just can’t be denied. Doncic must have everything go his way or he will cry, he doesn’t know how to act when something goes very wrong and he can’t pin it on someone else. If he has to take some of the heat then all heck is breaking loose.

At least with Kyrie, he played with LeBron and knows how to act when being the “Robin” of the team – portrayed by the media in that light. Again, does he have an ego? Yes, but he keeps himself humble and the team’s needs in view. Always keeps himself in check and doesn’t want to create a scene.

How does ego affect this dynamic duo?

Since you have two ball-dominant players in your starting backcourt, these two ball-dominant players will have to figure it out collectively and individually. Easier said than done for Luka Doncic, he just isn’t wired that way.

When he played Euro-ball, he was the center of attention. Doncic was the one taking those critical shots and being the one deemed the star with everything going his way. Add another influential, successful player into the mix and he doesn’t know how to handle himself.

Doncic will not allow Kyrie to get more spotlight than him, even if he says that publicly we can see the history of Luka Doncic. A very talented player, but a player that is filled with deep ego and jealously when another talented (or well-known) player comes along and tries to outshine him – intentionally or unintentionally.

Kyrie Irving will keep the perspective of the team’s goals in mind, while Luka Doncic will keep the perspective of his goals in mind. Priorities are everything and something is seriously wrong with Luka Doncic’s priorities.

Can they both move past their ego and need for the ball?

No, in my personal opinion, they won’t be able to connect and the chemistry will be off and that’ll strain the team. I’m not saying that they won’t make the postseason, Play-In Tournament, but it won’t be how everyone thought it was going to go and to end with Dallas winning a championship.

Duo has exciting features individually, but collectively, not really. Do they show glimpses of hope? Yes, but I think it is too early to write them off and to say that they are no good. I want this duo to work out, but the way their egos go and how ball-dominant they are; it truly scares me that they won’t be able to work past those issues in time before their playoff-push is coming to an end.

The bad part about the West being so close is that they were once feared at fourth, now they are teetering on the brink of the Play-In Tournament. Dallas is sixth and 3-7 in their last 10 games, y’all can’t tell me that something isn’t off.

In 9 games so far, they have a losing record with this dynamic duo. That has to change quickly and their attitude towards being ball-dominant needs to change in order to help the Mavericks to the postseason.

In the end, though, I don’t believe these issues will be resolved in the 15 games they have left before the postseason. In this type of situation, that isn’t enough time to figure it out and be rock solid as a unit for greater things.


They need more than 15 games to develop some kind of a bond to ensure there isn’t going to be this major collapse late in the season or in the postseason. That’s at the minimum as it isn’t enough but a good start.

But, there is one thing for sure, the Mavericks will be weighing how well this duo plays and if Kyrie will be paid by this organization. A lot rides on these final 15 games heading into the postseason, tons of assessments will be made from the team and their critics.

I’m not going to say that they can’t make this work, however, there are more cons than pros with the obstacles just creating road barriers like we have never seen before.

Ultimately, if both men get past their egos and recognize the full picture, then they have a good shot of making this duo and friendship working. Easier than it sounds, but they have to start making it work.

I will reassess this topic of discussion once we know more about how this team performs in their playoff-push and in their hunt for a championship come playoff time.

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