Dallas Mavericks’ fans can finally rejoice! For the second year in a row, Guard Luka Doncic has been selected as a starter in the NBA All-Star game. While much criticism has been brought about with the selection, it is undeniable Luka is very more an All-Star and more.
In every aspect of the game, Luka Doncic has improved in some form or fashion. First let’s start off with the basic points per game (ppg). Last season, the European Star averaged 28.8 ppg, compared to this season’s 29.1.
While this may not be a huge improvement, his points have been a contribution from all over. When analyzing his three point percentage, the numbers have actually been higher. During the 2020 NBA season, Luka shot .316 percent from behind the arc. The reason behind this was his attempted threes per game. This season, the Mavs’ guard is attempting 7.2 threes in contrast to last season’s 8.9. So yes technically the All-Star is shooting an improve percentage from the arc.
Luka Doncic isn’t just the Dallas Mavericks All-Star, he’s the MVP
Other key aspects include his improved assists per game and improved free-throw numbers. Luka has increased his assists per game from 8.8 to 9.4. The guy is averaging almost a triple-double every game.
In the past three games, the Dallas Mavericks MVP has averaged more then nine assists per game. His passes truly resemble that of Magic Johnson. Luka Magic is also key as to why he is always getting to the line. This season, Luka is shooting .795 from the free-throw line. Looking back at last season’s numbers, Luka shot 76 percent. All in all, Luka has improved in various aspects of his game.
Compare his numbers to Portland Guard Damian Lillard, and there is at least some sort of improvement. Lillard is averaging 29.8 points per game, 7.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 38.4 percent from three. The Portland guards numbers are pretty consistent from year’s past. However when comparing his numbers to Lukas this season, the Mavs Star has him beat in assists per game (by 1.7), rebounds per game (3.3) and is basically tied with the amount of steals per game.
The only area Lillard has Luka beat is in points per game (by .7) and three-point shooting (by 4.9). Basically, the only argument is Lillard is a better three-point shooter, but overall Luka is a better all-around player.
Is Luka an MVP Candidate?
As it stands, Damian Lillard is a top-three MVP candidate. Other players in contention for MVP include Lebron James, Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry and Nikola Jokic. We already know Lillard is better than Luka on threes, but what about the rest of the guys?
Let’s look at the number five candidate Jokic. This season, “The Joker” is averaging 27.4 points per game, 11.1 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 1.6 steals. The only area he has Luka beat is in rebounds and steals. One area that does stand out is his player efficiency rating (PER). Basically in the amount of minutes played, Nikola does more overall than any other player. However, one can argue that his numbers are similar to Lukas.
Another candidate that Luka is evenly matched with is Guard Stephen Curry. Curry is having a standout season, but his numbers are not any better than Luka’s. The only stat he has the Mavs guard beat is in PPG. Every other category assists, rebounds and PER Luka has Curry beat. Of course, Curry is a better field-goal and three-point shooter. In contrast, Curry wins in terms of shooting numbers; everything else, is all Luka. Lillard and Curry are better shooters than the Mavs’ All-Star, but overall Luka’s numbers are slightly better.
The only other two players who have better stats than Luka is Joel Embiid and Lebron James. Embiid has a better PER and that is all thanks to his mere average of a double double. So far this season, the Sixers Star is averaging 29.7 points (which is higher than Luka) and 10.8 rebounds. So yes, overall Embiid is a better all-around player this season and his double-doubles back up his play.
One final player who is leading the MVP is none other than Lakers Forward Lebron James. Currently, James is averaging 25.9 points per game, 8.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists.
One area James does lead in is field-goal percentage. The Lakers Star is shooting 50.8 percent from the field. His PER, which determines his play overall, is slightly lower than Luka’s at 24.5. Yes Luka has the better numbers this season, but at Lebron’s age it is almost astonishing for a player to be putting up his numbers.
Honestly, if you ask me I think Embiid is the MVP so far, but this is all very close.
While the numbers prove Luka Doncic is an All-Star, one may also argue that Luka is in fact a top five candidate in the MVP race. Yes the Dallas Mavericks aren’t yet performing up to par, but no one can overlook Luka Magic.