This NBA superstar has only made his debut over a year ago, but he’s already climbed his way to the top. This Slovenian guard has been unstoppable and continues to carry the Dallas Mavericks after Dirk’s retirement. At only 21 years old, he has won rookie of the year, and has already been chosen to the NBA All-Star team as a sophomore. Today’s topic is “How Good is Luka Doncic?” and we will evaluate him as a player.
Luka was born in Slovenia. He began to develop a love for the game at a young age. By the age of 1, he played with his small basketball hoop in his room all the time. He began playing organized basketball for Union Olimpija at the age of seven in his hometown. He usually played with the older kids because he was too talented for the kids his age. He constantly was moved up to play on teams at least a few years older than his original age and he competed great against them.
At the age of 13, Luka signed a five-year contract with Real Madrid to play on the under 16 team. He averaged 24.5 points and 13 rebounds per game. He earned MVP and won the under 16 Spain championship. The next season, 2014-2015, he was moved up to the under 18 team and also competed for the reserve team as well. He earned all league honorable mention from eurobasket.com this season. In 2015, he made his first professional debut for Real Madrid at only 16 years old. He became the youngest player to play for Real Madrid in the ACB. Later on in the year, he played against the Boston Celtics in a NBA preseason game and also made his debut into the EuroLeague. Luka continued to perform at a high level while playing in the EuroLeague in the 2016-2017 season. He collected the EuroLeague Rising Star award and the ACB Best Young Player award. The next season, 2017-2018, he took on a more significant role with Real Madrid. He won the EuroLeague MVP award and was the youngest player to do so. He also won the EuroLeague Rising Star award for a second time. Luka was nominated for the EuroLeague 2010-2020 All-Decade Team, and decided to leave Real Madrid after the 2018 season.
He declared for the 2018 NBA Draft and was the third overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks, but was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. The trade included rights to Trae Young and a protected future first-round pick in the 2019 draft. The Mavs were overjoyed to receive a great piece to their franchise. He did not participate in the 2018 NBA Summer League but ESPN favored him to have a great rookie season and win the Rookie of the Year award.
In his NBA debut, Luka scored 10 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. A few days later, he recorded 26 points and 6 rebounds, and became the youngest player to score 20 points in franchise history. He recorded his first double-double on November 19th and scored 15 points and 10 rebounds. On December 28th, Luka scored 34 points and set a record to become the youngest player to make seven three-pointers in a single game. On January 21st, he had his first triple-double performance and became the second youngest player in NBA history to accomplish this at 19 years old. Luka did not earn a vote to participate in the 2019 All-Star game, even though he ranked second in fan votes, but did participate in the Rising Stars Challenge and played on the World Team. After the all star break, he continued to prove himself and recorded another triple-double, making it his third one this season. This made him the youngest player in NBA history to have three triple-double performances. Soon after, he recorded his fourth triple double. He became the fifth player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists being a rookie. He was selected to the All-Rookie team and also won the Rookie of the Year award in 2019. He became the second european player, next to Pau Gasol, to win this award.
Going into the 2019-2020 season, he recorded his first triple double on October 25th scoring 25 points, 10 assists and grabbing 10 rebounds. He then scored a career high 38 points and recorded his 12th triple-double of his career. That career high didn’t last too long because only 10 days later he topped his career high by scoring 42 points. He also scored his sixth triple-double of the season, adding more to his historic NBA career. Luka was having another breakout season and in result he was named Sports Illustrated 2019 Breakout of the Year. He passed up Michael Jordan for the most consecutive games with at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Luka recorded his 10th triple-double of the season and scored 39 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists against the Charlotte Hornets.
He received his first All-Star vote and made his debut as a western conference starter. He broke another record by becoming the youngest european to start in an All-Star game. Keep in mind, the kid is only in his second season, and he recorded his 22nd career triple-double for the most in franchise history, which he surpassed Jason Kidd. The end of the 2019-2020 season was stalled for a few months due to a world pandemic, but they continued the season in the end of July in “The Bubble.” The NBA season was played in “The Bubble” in Florida. Only certain teams were invited to finish the regular season and play in eight seeding games. Every player was also tested for the Covid virus before arriving and competing. Each team fought for their playoff seeding spot. Luka was selected to the NBA’s All-Bubble First Team and averaged 30 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists in only eight games. He was considered for the NBA Most Improved Player Award, but did not win this award. Going into the playoffs in “The Bubble”, Luka scored 42 points and this was the most ever scored in a playoff debut. But they took a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers going 0-1 in the series, which is currently being played. I’m curious to see how this series turns out while Luka is competing against a newly stacked Clippers team.
Luka is such an amazing, talented player who can play anywhere on the floor. Being 6 foot 7 and 230 pounds, he is the perfect size to be either a guard or a forward. I feel like the EuroLeague groomed him for the high level of the NBA, but he also showed true talent as well at a young age. He has many attributes of many players put into one and has been compared to Lebron, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. Luka is only in his second season and had the NBA talking from day one. He’s on the right track to claim a MVP title, but can he succeed even more with the Mavs? Or will he have to venture out to reach that goal?