NBA: 8 Stars facing enormous pressure to make a deep run in the 2024 playoffs

Which NBA stars are facing the most pressure to come through in the 2024 NBA Playoffs?
Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics
Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
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Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)

Now to the guy on the other side of that huge 4-5 matchup in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Luka Doncic is a generational caliber player who is just 24 years old and in MVP discussions. However, the Dallas Mavericks have not had a ton of playoff success (just one trip to the conference finals) with Doncic. Doncic has been an excellent playoff performer (32.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game on 47.3% shooting in 28 games), but it has resulted in two first-round exits (2020 and 2021) and two missed playoffs (2019 and 2023) in his first five seasons (along with the WCF trip in 2022).

With him finally having his co-star in Kyrie Irving that everyone has been saying he's needed, this felt like it would finally be the year that Luka had help and we would see him fully formed. However, it's been an up-and-down season for Dallas as they finished as the 5-seed with a 50-32 record.. Dallas started 15-8, but then went just 11-15 in their next 26 games and it looked like they might be a play-in team while sitting at 26-23.

After an 8-5 stretch (34-28), they finished the year 16-4 and are riding into the playoffs with a ton of momentum. While their record is strong, they are looking at a tough path in the playoffs. Their path in the Western Conference very well could be Clippers-Thunder-Nuggets/TWolves (whoever wins the 2/3 matchup if there are not any 1st-round upsets) with potentially the Celtics waiting from the East. Talk about brutal

On the season, Luka led the league in scoring (33.9 points per game), while also averaging 9.2 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game on 48.7% shooting from the field and 38.2% 3-point shooting.

I think we are far too quick to judge players on their lack of playoff success, but I feel the public at large has put some pressure on Luka to make a run in these playoffs.

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