Like it or not, Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic is a top 10 player in the NBA, perhaps top 5 offensively. He is a rare breed of talent that automatically makes everyone around him better, and he is one of the most unique players the league has seen in recent memory. Therefore it is all the more troubling to see his team struggle through what should be an MVP campaign that built upon last season. Doncic is young, to be sure, but he has proven his greatness on an individual level, and now it is reasonable to raise the stakes for his success. The Dallas Mavericks have lost four of their last five games, which at this point in the season counts as a bit of a tailspin, especially if they want to avoid this year’s play-in tournament to make the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

Now, the hopes and dreams of an entire franchise are a lot to place on the shoulders of someone as young as Luka Doncic. But he is the unquestioned leader of this team, and as the lion’s share of praise should come his way in the good moments, the lion’s share of shortcomings should be attributed to him as well. These are the three reasons why Luka is right to shoulder the blame for this Mavericks slump.

1. He is the leader

Luka Doncic, first and foremost, is the leader of the Dallas Mavericks. Rick Carlisle is the coach, Kristaps Porzingis is the veteran, but Doncic is both the team’s best player and primary ball-handler. He is the on-court avatar for the entire city and whether he likes it or not, he bears the weight that comes with that responsibility. Anywhere the Mavericks go is ultimately dictated by his play and the example that he sets, so if anyone needed to step up to the challenge of stopping this slump, it’s Luka Doncic.

Doncic might not be entirely to blame for the Mavericks recent struggles, but if he didn’t want to face the music the way he did, no one else would feel obligated to.