After a condensed schedule and a grueling seven-game series with the Los Angeles Clippers, many players from the Dallas Mavericks are turning their attention to the Olympic Games in late July and early August.
With a roster filled with international talent, it’s no surprise that the Mavericks feature a host of players eager to represent their country in this year’s big games.
Most notably will be Luka Doncic, who’s set to join the Slovenia national team as they aim to qualify for the Olympic Games.
“This is my next goal, to qualify with Slovenia for the Olympics,” Doncic said with a smile. “I am going to be headed back to Slovenia to start practicing, so no vacations.”
With both Doncic and the Miami Heat’s Goran Dragic out of the NBA Playoffs, Slovenia will have a great opportunity to play two of its best players throughout the Olympic Qualifiers.
However, it’s not just Doncic hoping for an Olympic appearance, four other Mavericks also aspire to be at the big games.
That list includes Dwight Powell (Canada), Josh Green (Australia), Boban Marjanović (Serbia), and Nico Melli (Italy), as reported by Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com.
Maxi Kleber is one player that remains uncertain about his Olympic dreams. He suffered through an injury-riddled end to the season and isn’t sure his body can take the grind of the Olympic games for Germany. However, he remains hopeful that his Achilles injury will heal before the start of the games.
“My body, I want to take care of it first, so if it’s not healthy and I don’t feel well, still can’t run, I don’t see a point in playing,” he said.
Kleber’s ability to play or not aside, every Maverick not named Green will have to slog through Olympic Qualifying this summer. Australia already secured its spot in the Tokyo Games, and with players like Patty Mills and Ben Simmons hopefully competing, Green sees this as a monumental opportunity to grow as a player.
“It’s been a dream of mine,” Green says to Sefko. “Also, just as far as a development standpoint, just being able to get games and feel more comfortable on the court around guys like Ben [Simmons], Joe Ingles, Mills, guys who can really help me grow as a player.”
With everyone else on the list pushing through the process of qualification, this summer may not feature as much time to work on individual skills. However, the lack of individual work does not mean players can’t grow from their experiences, Doncic said.
Olympic gold may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and players on the Mavericks are making sure they at least get a shot at achieving the near impossible. Yet, in typical Mavericks fashion, the team has no players who aim to represent the United State in this summer’s games.
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Featured image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.