In just two seasons, Luka Doncic has gone from being one of the best rookies in the NBA for the Dallas Mavericks to now being one of the best overall players in the league. Doncic has become a star, and has improved tremendously this season, which has given him an excellent case for this year’s Most Improved Player award. However, it appears that Doncic actually doesn’t want the award.
Luka Doncic has become an outstanding player for the Dallas Mavericks
The Atlanta Hawks selected Doncic with the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, but ultimately traded him to the Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young and a 2019 draft pick, which eventually became Cam Reddish.
Doncic ultimately had an outstanding rookie season for the Mavericks as he averaged 21.2 points per game, 7.8 rebounds, and six assists. His play earned him the Rookie of the Year award too.
However, this season he has become one of the best players in the entire NBA. Doncic earned his first All-Star selection this season as he has scored 29.1 points per game to go with 9.5 rebounds and 8.9 assists.
He has had some massive games too. Doncic recorded 42 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds in a win over the San Antonio Spurs; he had 41 points, 11 assists, and 12 rebounds in a win over the Detroit Pistons, and then on Aug. 8 he had 36 points, 14 rebounds, and 19 assists in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Mavericks have improved as a team this season too. After going 33-49 last season, the Mavericks are 42-30 so far in 2019-20 and have clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Luka Doncic revealed why he doesn’t want to win the Most Improved Player award
The NBA recently announced the finalists for its 2019-20 awards, and Doncic was named as a finalist for the Most Improved Player award. The other two finalists are Miami Heat star, Bam Adebayo, and New Orleans Pelicans star, Brandon Ingram.
However, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News recently tweeted that Doncic said this about the race for the Most Improved Player award.
“Take me off the list and put Devonte’ Graham on there. I don’t deserve to be on there,” Doncic said, according to Townsend’s tweet.
Doncic has clearly improved significantly. Just look at his numbers from last season compared to this season. However, should Graham be a finalist as well?
Devonte’ Graham has an excellent case for the Most Improved Player award
Graham was also selected in the 2018 NBA draft as he went to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round. He, however, was ultimately traded to the Charlotte Hornets.
In his first season with the Hornets, Graham only scored 4.7 points per game and averaged 2.6 assists in 14.7 minutes per game. However, in 2019-20, he has become an absolute star. He scored 18.2 points per game to go with 7.5 assists for the Hornets this season. Looking at those stats, Doncic is right. While Doncic has improved significantly, Graham has taken an even larger step from his first year to his second.
So, what about the other two finalists? They both definitely deserve serious consideration for the award as well.
Ingram averaged 18.3 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, and three assists for the LA Lakers in 2018-19. This season, he is averaging 23.8 points per game, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists for the Pelicans. On the other hand, Adebayo averaged 8.9 points per game, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 2018-19 for the Heat, and is averaging 16.1 points per game, 10.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists this season.
Whether Doncic, Adebayo, or Ingram win the award, they all certainly deserve it. However, Graham definitely deserves to be a finalist as well.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference