If you’ve been paying attention to the NBA at all, you’ll know that Dallas Mavericks rookie, Luka Doncic is absolutely tearing up the entire league.
Doncic has been a professional basketball player since he was 16 years old, spending time with Real Madrid from 2015 to 2018, and before making it to the NBA, won a Euroleague title and league MVP at 19 years of age. He’s also a three-time Liga ACB Champion and one-time MVP, and has made the All-Liga ACB and All-Euroleague First Teams.
Again, he’s 19 years old.
Since being drafted at third overall by the Atlanta Hawks and traded to the Mavs, he’s not only proved to be Dirk Nowitzki’s more-than-worthy successor — he’s well on his way to being one of the very best players in the league in his first year, and will probably be a league MVP and lead a championship-caliber team down the road.
Doncic has lived up to the hype — perhaps even surpassed it by now — and has thrust his way to the top of All-Star voting via the fan vote. Even if he doesn’t get voted in as a starter, he has to be strongly considered for the team. Since 2000, only two rookies have made the All-Star game: Yao Ming and Blake Griffin.
Yao Ming had the entire country of China behind him, received a tremendous amount of votes, and was an incredibly talented center. Griffin, before being derailed by injuries, was on his way to being a superstar in the league. Doncic will have a better career than both Yao and Griffin’s.
Doncic is averaging 20 points, 5 assists and 6.7 rebounds and has led Dallas to a 20-22 record, good for 12 in the Western Conference. Dallas is 2.5 games behind the eighth-seeded LA Lakers, and a Doncic-led run near playoff time shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.
Luka has an endless bag of tricks on offense: three-pointers of the stepback and pull-up variety, ball fakes, and swerving handles to shake off his defenders. The scary part is he’s only going to get better.
Something that could work in Doncic’s favor for the All-Star vote is his versatility. He can play as an oversized guard, as well as the power forward position with his 6”7 frame. Doncic can be voted in as either a guard or forward, and fans should want to tune for his exciting style of play.
One thing for sure, though, is Doncic being invited to the Rising Stars Challenge, which has showcased Team USA vs. Team World in recent years. Doncic can represent his home country of Slovenia and make an appearance on all three All-Star nights should he be an All-Star selection and participate in the Skills Challenge or Three-Point Contest on All-Star Saturday night.
Doncic is a truly transcendent player that will likely dominate the league for years to come, but his time to be an All-Star is now. There haven’t been many rookies to come along and show this type of development and skill in such a short amount of time.
Luka has had some signature performances already, dropping 29 points on the Timberwolves last night, including a pull-up three late in the fourth quarter to give Dallas the lead. He also went on an 11-0 run by himself against the Houston Rockets last month to give the Mavs another win.
Doncic has definitely locked up the Rookie of the Year award, but should also receive recognition as an All-Star selection, and be put in a position that only a few rookies have been in. Luka is different. Luka is special. Luka should be an All-Star.