Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle spent 90 minutes on Thursday leading a clinic for coaches at the Jr. NBA Global Championship, an international tournament for 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams in Orlando.
And after Carlisle and Mavericks assistant Jenny Boucek finished the question-and-answer session, covering topics sports specialization to creativity versus structure to practice planning, he discussed another strategy.
It’s one specific to his instruction in Dallas: Luka Doncic’s offseason conditioning as the 20-year-old aims to build on his Rookie of the Year debut season.
“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,” Carlisle told The Dallas Morning News. “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.”
Improving his conditioning was of the Mavericks main offseason goals for Doncic, and his recent post on Instagram shows a picture slideshow of him working out, perhaps building on his six-pack promise to Mark Cuban.
Teammates took notice:
Kristaps Porzingis commented “Yessirrr! Keep putting on work!”
Courtney Lee commented: “Skinny luka bout to be a problem”
And Carlisle said he recognized Doncic’s drive to improve when he, assistant Jamahl Mosley and center Dwight Powell visited Doncic in his native Slovenia in May.
“I know he’s working his butt off this summer,” Carlisle said. “I know he’s very motivated for this season.”
Carlisle, who’s held a coaching clinic at each of the two Jr. NBA Global Championships, which this year included a boys youth team from the Dallas area and girls squad from near Houston, didn’t give an estimate for when Doncic would return to Dallas.
But as the Mavericks wait to assemble one of the NBA’s most internationally diverse rosters for training camp, Carlisle worked with a group of 64 coaches he said represented 32 countries. He and Boucek wanted to make the period inclusive to best foster creativity and opinions and to broaden the NBA’s reach.
“Any time you have the opportunity to communicate and hopefully touch a group like this,” Carlisle said, “it’s not only an opportunity, but it’s a responsibility.”
On Twitter: @CallieCaplan