Luka Doncic is setting the NBA world on fire with his jaw-dropping performances in the 2020 NBA playoffs. Most recently, Doncic dazzled his way to 43 points, 17 rebounds, 13 assists, and the game-winning three as the buzzer sounded against the Los Angeles Clippers.
What’s amazing is this is Doncic’s first career playoff series, and he might be the most impressive player in the entire 2020 postseason. Just a few years ago, Doncic was playing international ball in his home country. So, where is Doncic from and what was his journey to the NBA like?
Luka Doncic grew up in the capital of Slovenia
Doncic didn’t exactly have a typical journey to the NBA. Whereas most players become high-rated prospects in high school, go on to play at prestigious colleges, and get drafted into the league, Doncic didn’t take part in any of that.
Doncic actually grew up in Ljubljana, the capital of the European country, Slovenia. It was there that Doncic learned how to play basketball. His father, Sasa, played basketball in Europe himself, and he introduced Doncic to the sport when he was just seven months old. He was shooting mini hoops in his room before he even turned one.
When he was just 13, Real Madrid reached out to Doncic wanting to sign him. He moved to Madrid as a teenager to play on the junior team, and at 16 he became the youngest player ever to debut for Real Madrid’s senior team.
Imagine a high school sophomore lacing it up in the NBA and trying to guard LeBron James. That’s what Doncic was doing in the EuroLeague as a teen, and it prepared him for life in the NBA.
Doncic dominated his way through the EuroLeague to become a top NBA draft prospect
Doncic was constantly the youngest player on the court in the EuroLeague, but he was never fazed by the professional game even as a teenager. In his first full year with Real Madrid, Doncic shot 52.6% from the floor and 42.9% from three.
In his final year with the team, Doncic led Real Madrid to the 2017-18 EuroLeague title. That season, he led the team with 16.0 points per game.
The 2017 FIBA EuroBasket tournament marked the official arrival of Doncic on the national stage. Doncic led his home nation of Slovenia to the championship behind 14.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. In the quarterfinal against Latvia, Doncic scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the winning effort.
Doncic entered the 2018 draft as one of the most polished international prospects ever.
Luka Doncic is already one of the NBA’s brightest stars at 21
Doncic is only 21 years young, but he’s already established himself as one of the best all-around players in the entire NBA. In just his second year in the league, Doncic averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game. If not for Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, Doncic would be the clear favorite for league MVP this year.
In his first year in the NBA, Doncic was named Rookie of the Year for the 2018-19 season. He’s been by far the most impressive player out of the 2018 draft class, and he figures to be a superstar and even the face of the league for years to come.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference