NBA

Is Luka Doncic a Chronic Complainer or Just a Big-Time Competitor?

There is no question Luka Doncic plays to win. The 6-foot-7 point guard of the Dallas Mavericks is certainly one of the biggest competitors in the NBA. He’s one of the league’s brightest stars and one of the most exciting players to watch. Doncic just might also be the biggest complainer in the NBA.

Luka Doncic’s rise to stardom

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Luka Doncic has only played two seasons in the NBA, and he’s already one of the game’s biggest stars. Doncic was a relatively unknown player from Slovenia before he came over to play in the NBA. His skill level certainly was there, but the level of competition he played against was a big question mark.

Doncic was taken with the third overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2018 NBA draft. He was part of a draft-day trade that brought Trae Young and a first-round pick to the Hawks. Doncic took charge right away in his rookie season, playing 72 games and averaging better than 32 minutes per game.

In his first season, Doncic was named the NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and six assists per game. This season, Doncic was named an NBA All-Star as he put up 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per contest. He also vastly improved his shooting percentage, making better than 46 percent of his shots, up from 42 percent in his rookie season.

What they’re saying about Luka Doncic

During Luka Doncic’s rookie season, Dallas Mavericks veteran Dirk Nowitzki said traveling with Doncic was like traveling with a rock star. No matter where the team went, everyone was there to see Luka. “When we get to cities now, even late at night, there are so many people waiting with things for him to sign that it’s almost like we’re the Warriors,” Nowitzki said last year in The New York Times. “Lukamania is real. We’re living it every day.”

Veteran NBA coach Doc Rivers said Doncic was one of his favorite players to watch in his rookie season. “He’s my favorite player to watch almost, and not talking just rookies,” Rivers said. “First of all, he plays with a great joy — I love that. And he’s just so advanced in the way he plays. The sky’s the limit for him. Wait until he gets in shape.”

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was already comparing Doncic to the big boys of the NBA as a rookie. “I hesitate to throw out names like LeBron James and Magic Johnson, who have been do-everything kind of stars, but it’s pretty clear now that Luka has many of those same traits and has proven that he can do a lot of those things,” Carlisle said. “He has deceptive size, strength, and quickness — and an understanding beyond his years on how to use his body to make plays and draw fouls.”

Is Doncic a competitor or a complainer?

Last season, Doncic experienced losing for the first time in a while. The Dallas Mavericks struggled, finishing with a 33-49 record. That didn’t sit well with Doncic. According to The New York Times, the Mavericks weren’t concerned when the scouting report said Doncic was considered a sore loser.

“He doesn’t handle losing well — I know that for a fact,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “But I don’t handle losing well, either.” Juancho Hernangomez of the Denver Nuggets also confirmed Doncic doesn’t know how to deal with losing. “He’s a winner — he won everything in Europe,” Hernangomez said. “So every time he loses, he gets so mad.”

When watching Doncic play, it’s almost as if he gets paid by the complaint. Maybe it’s just his competitive nature and maybe it’s his hatred for losing. Either way, Doncic is always finding a way to complain about something.