Where Does Luka Doncic Rank in Dallas Mavericks History?

In less than four full seasons, Luka Doncic has established himself as one of the NBA’s great young players. Not only has Doncic made history in short order, the 22-year-old presumably has more great years ahead of him.

Luka, an elite player by any measurement, plays for a Dallas Mavericks franchise that has seen many exceptional players don its uniform. Although his career is young, the superstar is already on a quick ascent up the list of all-time great Mavericks.

Luka Doncic became an NBA superstar the moment he entered the league

Many experts believed Doncic was the top player in the 2018 NBA Draft and a future star in the making. Since Dallas acquired him in a draft-day deal with the Atlanta Hawks, he’s lived up to his billing.

The Slovenian was named 2018-19 NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists. He saw firm improvements across the board in year two, averaging a career-high 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists. Luka’s improvement also helped Dallas earn a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

After producing similar stat lines since, Doncic now holds career averages of 25.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.8 assists. But beyond that, the 22-year-old has multiple records that strengthen his case as a true superstar.

In December 2019, Doncic surpassed Michael Jordan’s 18-game streak of games with at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists. That same month, he became the first player in NBA history to post 30+ points, 12+ rebounds, and 15+ assists in a game with 30 or fewer minutes played. He also became the youngest player in NBA history with a 30-point, 20-rebound triple-double, doing so as a 21-year-old in the Bubble.

In addition, Luka became the fourth-youngest player in NBA history to score 5,000 points. At 22 years and 67 days old, only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony reached 5K at a younger age. Keep in mind, Luka also had to navigate through a pandemic that postponed the 2019-20 season for about five months and pushed the following season back by another two months.

Doncic is moving up in the Mavericks’ record books

Along with all of the other impressive league-wide records, Doncic is also making Mavericks history on a regular basis.

As the fourth-youngest player to score 5,000 points, it’s no surprise that Luka is the fastest Maverick to 5K, doing so in just 194 games. The two-time All-NBA selection also surpassed Jason Kidd for the most triple-doubles in Dallas history and is currently 11th all-time with 38. For context, Kidd has 107 for his Hall of Fame career but only 21 in 500 games with the Mavs.

With 220 games under his belt, Doncic is already on pace to set some more Mavericks records. His 25.7 points per game currently place him first in Dallas’ history, over a full point higher than Mark Aguirre. He’s also second in assists per game behind Kidd and even sixth in rebounds per game.

Given all the records and accolades at just 22 years of age, has Luka already done enough to be considered one of the best players in team history?

Is Doncic already one of the best players in Dallas Mavericks history?

Although Doncic has been an amazing player, he still has a way to go to catch Dirk Nowitzki, the undisputed greatest Maverick of all time.

Dirk, who spent his entire 21-year career with the Mavericks, is the franchise leader in games, points, rebounds, and win shares. The 14-time All-Star, who won Finals MVP in Dallas’ lone NBA championship, is also widely considered to be the greatest European player in league history.

Before there was Nowitzki, Aguirre was the first true star of the Mavs. The three-time All-Star averaged 24.6 points across the better part of eight seasons in Dallas, guiding the franchise through its first five playoff series. Because of Aguirre’s impact, he’s likely ahead of Doncic in Mavericks lore as well. The same can also be said for Rolando Blackman, who starred alongside Aguirre for many years and spent 11 successful seasons in Dallas.

Given Luka’s shorter tenure and lack of playoff success, he should also be ranked after Kidd and Michael Finley. The latter was a dependable nine-year member of the Mavericks and eventually helped guide the team to consistent playoff appearances along with Nowitzki. Meanwhile, Kidd had two separate stints with Dallas; one where he won Rookie of the Year and another as the starting point guard of the 2010-11 title team.

None of the above players had careers start off as triumphantly as Luka’s. And it’s clear his ceiling is still within reach. However, he needs several more successful seasons in Dallas — and perhaps a championship — before we can argue if he’s the greatest Maverick of all time.

All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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