Doncic Dominating in Dallas.
Imagine this, the kid your team drafts wins the Rookie of the Year award. He also finishes with the third most all-star fan votes, just behind the league's eventual MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the face of the league, LeBron James.
But wait, there's more!
In his second season, he's selected as an All-Star starter, then selected to the All-NBA First team. He finished fourth in MVP voting with 200 total points, well ahead of Kawhi Leonard who came in fifth, but well behind third place finisher, James Harden. He even lead his team to the playoffs too. He does all of this while being just 21-years old.
DONCIC'S DEFINING MOMENT
Luka Doncic's first year in the league was impressive. His second, was somehow even more impressive. The defining moment of his season came during Game 4 of the Western Conference first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
With three seconds left on the shot clock, the Mavericks down one, Dorian Finney-Smith inbounds the ball to Doncic. Doncic dribbles a few times before taking the pull-up three pointer over Reggie Jackson and Mike Breen famously yells out, "Bang! Bang! It's good, Doncic wins the game at the buzzer."
What did the rest of the league think?
This list could go on quite a bit longer. How about former players?
Needless to say, Luka Doncic is a special player. Even though the playoffs ended sooner than he had hoped, by all measures, this sophomore season was wildly successful for the kid from Slovenia.
When the NBA returned in bubble-form in Orlando, Doncic addressed the two areas where he has received the most criticism: defensive effort and clutch performance. The shot over Jackson speaks for itself and while his defensive assignments were not the toughest, he proved he could leverage his size to become an adequate defender.
I could talk about how he also received an All-Defensive first team vote, but we will just pretend that didn't happen, instead of lumping into his successes. While I wouldn't say he's necessarily arrived (a playoff series win would help that), he's getting closer and closer.
LOOKING AT LUKA'S NUMBERS
Recency bias would tell you that Luka is the greatest Maverick of all time. Obviously he's not quite there yet, but you might be surprised to find that he's also not that far behind. The Mavericks might not be a franchise with a who's who of former iconic players, but they are well on their way to adding another one.
The all-time leading scorer for the Mavericks is Dirk Nowitzki at 31,560 total points, after 1,522 games. Coming in at 23rd is Doncic, after playing in only 133 games. He's 33rd in total rebounds, 13th in total assists, and 12th in total 3-pointers made. It's fair to assume that before Doncic's rookie contract is up, he's going to be at or nearing the top-10 in many of the Mavericks statistical categories.
He's not only the face of the Mavericks, but is quickly becoming one of the faces of the league. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype recently polled 15 NBA talent evaluators to ask which player under 25 would they most want to build their team around. I'll give you one guess who was the unanimous choice.
Did I mention that Luka is only 21?