It's always nice when a young player in the league has enough self-awareness to know when he needs to correct something. After Thursday night's big win over the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks superstar guard Luka Doncic admitted to the NBA on TNT crew that he's been "complaining way too much" this season.
When Ernie Johnson mentioned to Doncic that he and Dwight Howard are tied for the most technicals in the league at 15 each, which puts them both one shy of triggering an automatic one-game suspension from the league, the third-year guard said he'll continue to work on controlling his emotions with the officials.
"This season has been long, with the officials I wasn't myself this season," Doncic said. "I'm complaining way too much, and I've gotta work on that. I just have to stay calm and not talk to them, I have to learn from that."
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That's exactly what you want to hear from your star player in that situation. Doncic is right, he has been complaining far too often with the referees this season. Not only has it resulted in a ridiculous number of technical fouls, but it takes him out of his game when he gets worked up like that. As the best player on the team and someone who is looked at as a leader, it has a trickle effect on the rest of the players when Doncic is irate with the officials throughout the game and spending more time jawing with them than letting it go and refocusing on the next play.
If Doncic can control his emotions during the game, it will help him in the long run not just with the referees, but improving as an all-around player as well. It's important for star players to have a short memory when it comes to a missed shot or blown call, and in Doncic's case, those are two areas where he certainly needs to improve. There have been several instances throughout the season where he hangs his head after missing several shots in a row. While it's understandable to show emotion and get frustrated with the game not going your way, that's not the type of body language you want from your best player.
Lucky for Doncic, when the playoffs roll around he won't have all those technical fouls hanging over his head as everything resets in the postseason. For Doncic to reach that automatic one-game suspension in the playoffs he would have to get seven technicals before that happened. With Doncic focusing on controlling his emotions more in games, it doesn't sound like it's something the Mavericks will have to worry about in the playoffs, or past this season.