Luka Doncic faces damning reality in Finals series against Boston Celtics

2024 NBA Finals - Game One
2024 NBA Finals - Game One / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Luka Doncic faces a damning reality in the Dallas Mavericks' NBA Finals series against the Boston Celtics: he may be the only star on his team, and he may be the lone hope for the Mavs if they hope to win their second championship in franchise history.

Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey fears that will be the case after Kyrie Irving laid an egg in Game 1 with an inefficient game that saw him have his shot blocked several times.

"Coming into Game 1, Luka had 4.6 postseason wins over replacement player (wins over replacement player times 2.7). The rest of the roster has 7.3," Bailey prefaced before saying, "And while teammates like Dereck Lively II, Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington have all had their moments, Kyrie Irving is really the only other star on the team. And when he's off, Dallas is in trouble.

"After Irving went 6-of-19 from the field and 0-of-5 from deep for 12 points, the Mavs are now 1-3 this postseason when he has a sub-40 effective field-goal percentage. Whether it's Kyrie, Washington or one of the rim-running bigs, Dallas has to have at least one or two players to take some pressure off Luka to have a shot in this series."

Kyrie Irving facing legacy series against the Boston Celtics in Finals

If Irving can't help the Mavs close the deal in the 2024 Finals and never comes this close to the Larry O'Brien Trophy again, his legacy will take a serious hit. The most prevalent narrative would be that he can't win without LeBron James. Kendrick Perkins already stirred the pot with this one.

It's not a fair one, either. Irving cannot compete with LeBron getting to the Finals the year after he left and winning a title with his new team after the Cleveland Cavaliers. To be fair, no one can compete with a late-2010s LeBron besides late 1990s Michael Jordan.

But alas, the simplest and most negative narrative will always prevail on NBA social media channels. And if Irving and Dallas lose big to Boston, many will point to the fact that LeBron hasn't lost to the Celtics in the playoffs since 2010 and has owned them with the Miami Heat and Cavs several times since.