Luka Doncic is taking on the NBA season with some of the greatest basketball the league has ever seen. Last year may have served as a bridge year welcoming Doncic to the NBA while saying goodbye to Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki. This year, however, is all about Doncic.
The point guard is playing like a superstar at just 20 years of age. Even NBA stars of yesteryear are starting to comment on his skills.
Luka Doncic’s career
Doncic was a wild card entering the 2018-19 NBA Draft. While Deandre Ayton was considered the No. 1 pick, Doncic was viewed by many as a potential steal. The Sacramento Kings passed on him, so the Hawks drafted him — only to trade him to Dallas. Despite the movement, the promise Doncic showed since he was a teenager overseas was intriguing.
Doncic thrived in Dallas as a rookie, averaging 21 points per game, nearly eight rebounds, and six assists, plus a steal. While the Mavericks struggled to win many games, Doncic quickly showed he was the best rookie from his draft class. (Even though Hawks’ point guard Trae Young, whom Doncic was traded for, made a late case for his consideration.)
After working on his game for an entire offseason, Doncic looks like a potential superstar. Through the first two months of the season, he’s averaging 30 points per game, 9.8 rebounds, and 9.2 assists. His handles are crisp, and his step-back jumper is nearly impossible to guard.
While many believed Doncic had promise, he still found a way to overachieve and show that he was worth the hype.
Paul Pierce’s nickname for Luka Doncic: “Too Easy”
Paul Pierce recently discussed Doncic’s progress on Rachel Nichols’ ESPN show The Jump. Invoking the name Baron Davis, Pierce used the opportunity to create a new nickname for the Slovenian small forward.
“He’s making it look too easy,” Pierce told Nichols. “We used to call Baron Davis ‘Too Easy,’ cause he made the game look so easy, but this guy? Look at this.”
ESPN complemented this with a highlight package of Doncic’s shooting, drives, and speed despite a relatively large frame for his size. Davis was an All-Star in his own right and a very good player, but he never did what Doncic is doing right now.
At his peak, Davis was good for 23 points, eight assists, and just under four rebounds a game; Doncic has already eclipsed all of these stats. Pierce played both with and against many of the best players in NBA history, however, and his analysis should be taken seriously.
In a world where retired players are continually bashing new ones, Pierce is offering praise, and Doncic may still have a long way to develop.
Where can Doncic go from here?
It seems fitting that Doncic went to Dallas when he did. He got to shake hands with Nowitzki on the way out and take the Mavericks as his team.
Doncic has the chance to be the best European player to enter the NBA since Nowitzki, if not better. He has a complete skill set, and if he can learn to utilize it at a championship level, the NBA will have fits trying to stifle him.