Luka Doncic is the best player in his 5-year age group and the sole reason for the Dallas Mavericks current success and future optimism.
After eight years of walking in the desert, the Dallas Mavericks are back. They may not be the level of championship-quality teams like the Clippers, Lakers, Bucks, and Celtics, but they’re close. After beating Toronto and San Antonio consecutively, Dallas is now 9-5 and positioned 5th in the Western Conference standings.
For a team that looked like a fringe playoff squad this summer, 5th place ain’t half bad. Most of that success can be attributed to the sudden and spectacular ascent of second year phenom, Luka Doncic.
Calling Luka Doncic the NBA’s best young player may not sound like much, but it really is. When was the last time the Dallas Mavericks boasted the “best” anything? The 2011 Championship squad? Dirk Nowitzki’s MVP season?
However far you want to go back, you’re going to have a tough time coming to a consensus opinion – even with those irrefutable accomplishments listed. Luka Doncic, on the other hand, is about as irrefutable as they come.
The 20-year-old MVP candidate, straight outta the mean streets of Slovenia (I jest, having been to Slovenia I can confirm it’s wonderful and an extremely underrated travel destination), has taken the league by storm. After dominating his rookie season, winning Rookie of the Year honors by a vote of 98 to 2, Doncic did the unthinkable and further distanced himself from the pack.
Doncic’s current averages of 29.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 9.1 assists aren’t just amazing, they are historical. It’s feat only Oscar Robinson has achieved over the course of an entire season.
In fact, he’s not just better than his fellow classmates, but he’s better than the entire micro-generation of young players in the NBA. You’re going to have a hard time finding a player under the age of 24-years and 347 days (not so coincidentally off one day from Giannis Antetokounmpo’s birthday ) who’s as good as the Dallas Mavericks’ Doncic.
What this means for the Mavs
The future isn’t just bright for the Dallas Mavericks but the future is also now. Again, keep in mind the Mavs struck out in free agency this summer. Unable to lure a 3rd star to their duo, the Mavs settled on a collection of moderately priced role players. Many prognosticators dinged the Mavs for this Plan B strategy.
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Additionally, Kristaps Porzingis is struggling more than most thought. Let’s be clear, there was always going to be a learning curve for Zingis: The guy hadn’t played in 20 months, he joined a new team, with a new scheme, and was paired with a new primary scorer (KP WAS the offense in New York). But many expected him to find his fit sooner than this. His legs aren’t all there, his stroke isn’t completely back, and his role is still undefined.
If you would have told us at the beginning of this summer, 1) The Mavs would miss out on their primary free agent targets and 2) KP would be struggling like this, we would have significantly downgraded our season expectations to outside the playoffs.
But because of Doncic’s dominance, the Mavs aren’t just alive in the playoff picture, but they are thriving.
There were multiple things working against the Dallas Mavericks this season but one big thing working for them. Just wait until the Mavs correct the first two. Then we’ll see how high this team really can climb
- Published on 11/19/2019 at 17:01 PM
- Last updated at 11/19/2019 at 15:06 PM