Luka Doncic was the NBA's Rookie of the Year last season.
This summer he's been committed to transforming his body.
He appears to be well on his way to a dramatic change.
There's been a tidal wave of change in the NBA since the Toronto Raptors won the championship back in June. While player movement has set the league ablaze—the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George have all landed with new teams, just to name a few—it might just be a player who finally had the chance to stay put that made the biggest change.
Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks is good. That's not exactly a bold take—he was the NBA's Rookie of the Year for the 2018-2019 season, after landing on Dallas as the third overall pick in last year's draft. But at the time of his drafting, he had spent 12 straight months playing with Real Madrid, so the Mavericks instead chose for Doncic to prioritize rest last summer.
The result had Doncic's listed weight of 218 (he's 6'7'') looking not quite accurate last season. Again, he's been called a generational talent, and has drawn comparisons to LeBron James, so he still managed to put up more than 21 points a game, and become the new face of the franchise for the Mavericks. But with a summer to focus on shaping his body into what it's capable of, he could come even closer to those LeBron comps. "The sky's the limit for him," Doc Rivers told The New York Times back in February. "Wait until he gets in shape."
So, clearly, this summer that's been the primary goal for the versatile Slovenian forward. Back in June, Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban said that he saw Doncic working out with coach Rick Carlisle, and that he "saw an ab." Yep—pretty sure just one. "There may have been 2. But he’s definitely in better shape."
. @mcuban says @luka7doncic is "on a boat somewhere," but was in Dallas about 2 weeks ago.
"He came and he was working out with Coach . . I actually saw an ab, so it was a step in the right direction.”
Just one ab?
"There may have been 2. But he’s definitely in better shape."
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) June 6, 2019
Doncic clearly saw this as something of a challenge, responding to the reporter's tweet with a light-hearted promise (please take note of the 'crying laughing' emojis) of a six-pack by the end of the summer.
A few months later, and it looks like the reigning Rookie of the Year is well on his way to fulfilling his oath. Doncic posted a series of photos on Instagram that find him mid-exercise, looking leaner than at any point in his first go-around in the association.
The three pictures show him doing trap bar carries, dumbbell rows, and what appears to be a loaded barbell push exercise. The carries will be the most effective for his six-pack aspirations, as we've discussed how versatile and efficient the movement can be at Men's Health. Want to give carries a go in your own routine? Check out the all-carry workout Men's Health advisor Don Saladino used to get David Harbour into shape for Hellboy.
Other ballers are taking notice to the work he's putting in as well. The comments on the post found comments from the likes of teammate Kristaps Porzingis and Courtney Lee (who both came over last season from the New York Knicks), as well as the team's official account.
Porzingis, who hasn't played a game for Dallas yet, seemed excited about the stellar shape that his teammate looks to be in. "Yessirrr!!! Keep putting in work" he wrote. Lee put it more bluntly: "Skinny Luka bout to be a problem," he wrote.
Lots of eyes will be on Doncic this year, as he attempts to take a major step after a super-impressive rookie year. Anyone drawing LeBron James comparisons is going to have a tough time living up to those expectations, but Doncic's commitment to fitness and transforming his body this summer definitely have him off to a good start.
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