Luka Doncic’s 2018-19 rookie season was by all accounts a huge success. Yet fans who didn’t tune in to Mavericks games missed out on the Slovenian phenom. By now, all this has changed, with Doncic having the kind of breakout sophomore season that makes all NBA fans take note.
With that increased attention comes added praise. While there’s no denying that Doncic has the makings of a superstar, many experts wonder if all the praise is a little premature at his age. So what do we know about Doncic so far? And what can we accurately predict about his future in the NBA?
Luka Doncic’s experience at a young age
Doncic may be in just his second NBA season, but compared to most league sophomores he has a wealth of professional experience. In fact, he signed his first contract with the esteemed Spanish club Real Madrid at just 13 years old — when most of his NBA peers still played AAU ball.
Of course, Doncic made his professional debut at 16 years old. But by then he’d practiced with full-grown men for years. After a quiet first year, his greatness began to show in the 2016-17 season. The next season, Doncic led Real Madrid to a EuroLeague championship victory, earning MVP honors in the process.
In other words, by the time the Dallas Mavericks drafted then-19-year-old Doncic in June 2018, he’d already played three years of pro basketball. The guard’s growth continued in his NBA rookie season; he not only earned NBA Rookie of the Year, but also an All-Rookie First Team selection.
Doncic’s 2019 performance
A lot of rookies experience a sophomore slump, struggling against defenses that learn how to plan for their game. Doncic, however, has only become more unstoppable this season. A look at Doncic’s numbers makes his phenomenal skills more clear.
For starters, Doncic has maintained a scorching average of 29.3 points per game. If he can keep this streak up for the rest of the season, he will be one of only three players to average more than 25 points at the age of 20. The other two? Just a couple of guys named LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Not only is Doncic putting up huge scoring numbers, but he’s averaging 8.9 assists and 9.6 rebounds per game as well — good for third and 17th in the league, respectively.
Doncic’s dominance in all aspects of the game has made him a legitimate MVP contender in many people’s eyes. He’s even put up enough triple-doubles to shatter the under-21 record previously held by Magic Johnson.
Too much praise for Doncic?
There’s no denying the sports world loves to predict who will be the next great NBA player. With the way Doncic has played this year, basketball pundits have lavished him with praise — so much so that Doncic himself even had to put the brakes on.
When asked how he felt about breaking Michael Jordan’s record for the longest 20-5-5 streak, Doncic made it clear that stats aren’t everything. He also said he wasn’t comfortable with being compared to the GOAT. “You can’t compare nobody to Michael Jordan,” Doncic stated.
It’s nice to see that the 20-year-old hasn’t let his stardom go to his head quite yet.