Roundtable: Early takeaways from Kyrie Irving joining Luka Doncic in Dallas

Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic have already played five games together in Dallas, and the Mavericks’ loss to Indiana on Tuesday night dropped them to 1-4 in those games.

But in terms of fantasy production, how has Irving’s move to the Mavs changed his fantasy production, as well as that of Doncic and other team members?

Here are Andre Snellings, Eric Carabelle, Jim McCormick, Eric Moody and Steve Alexander to explain.

There will be more open triples

No one should be surprised at how well Doncic and Irving play together, but the pairing has opened up 3-point opportunities for others. Options on the bench Tim Hardaway Jr. and Christian Wood have been playing particularly well lately, as the opposing defense seems to care less about them. Hardaway has hit 10 of 19 three-pointers in his last two games. That’s what he’s paid for, even though he’s a good shot. Wood’s minutes are much less than usual, but his efficiency is higher; it averages 13.9 PPG for just 19.1 MPG in February. We also have to watch rookie Justin Holiday, a journeyman with three-point potential who pushed Josh Green to the bench. Fantasy managers in deep league may see value in this. — Karabel

Less space for additional options

This is the rare superstar pair of playmakers that hasn’t required or resulted in a significant statistical adjustment. Luka was quite similar to Luka; which includes a high usage rate of 36.3% and elite scoring in his last four games, compared to a crazy 38.8% usage rate before Irving joined. Irving has seen his usage drop from 30.3% with the Nets to a more reasonable 27.2% with Dallas, even though his actual shooting diet seems nearly identical. If anything, it’s that Dallas doesn’t have much room for additional offensive options, with the likes of Green, Wood, and Hardaway all due to the lower offensive floors and ceilings among this pair of commonly used stars. — McCormick

Tapping into each other’s production

What I’ve noticed so far is that both have been losing a couple shots a game since Kyrie moved to Dallas; Kyrie from 20.5 to 18.3 and Luka from 22.3 to 20.8 FGA. Both, however, shoot slightly better from the field in this stretch, so both are only slightly behind in scoring. A more interesting effect was on transmissions; Kyrie went from 5.3 assists per game in Brooklyn to 6.9 assists per game in Dallas. For Luka, it was the other way around, going from 8.2 assists before Kairi to 6.8 after Kairi. Luka has only two games of six assists in this stretch, one of which came in a game in which Kairi sat. Kyrie also got one last chance on Tuesday, with a chance to win at the buzzer. All of which tells me that, at least for now, the partnership has taken a bit more from Luka than from Kairi. — Snellings

Luka has 10 triple-doubles this season, but hasn’t had one since Jan. 21 and hasn’t been particularly close to it. Kyrie eats his passes a bit (and scores), and big players like Dwight Powell and Christian Wood are about to join Maxi Kleber (hamstring) to steal rebounds from him. But unless triple-doubles are encouraged in your league, and you counted on them from Luka, the influence of fantasy was not too noticeable. He’s still been a first-rounder for the past two weeks, and while the Mavs aren’t winning the way they hoped, Luka and Irving seem to be getting along great. And Irving’s numbers, apart from the fact that he scored a point less in Dallas, have not changed much. He is exactly the same in turnovers, steals and three-pointers, he is higher in both categories in shooting percentage, rebounding and assists, and slightly behind in blocks. For pairing two superstars together, at least in terms of fantasy, the results were almost negligible, which is good news for both players. Now they just need to figure out how to win together. — Alexander

Need time to gel

Doncic has got a legitimate co-star in Kyrie Irving, who is arguably the best ball handler in the league. Doncic will have to get used to the fact that the basketball will not always be in his hands. Doncic’s utilization rate this season is 38%, very similar to the rate he had in his previous three seasons. For the Mavericks to win the championship, Doncic must give up some control. LeBron James and Michael Jordan finally achieved the success they were desperate for when they realized this. Since Dallas doesn’t have a reliable big, they can build an offense around this dynamic duo and perimeter shooters. Doncic’s fantastic output may be a little lower in the future. — Capricious


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