Watching Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic play basketball right now is nothing short of mesmerizing. The fluidity of his game, and how he creates and makes shots, is the stuff of veterans and legends. He’s doing it all before his 20th birthday.
At 6-foot-7, with an advanced skill set and strong basketball IQ, hoops minds across the globe knew Doncic would be a good NBA player. That time has come sooner than many probably expected because the Slovenian guard is taking the league by storm as a 19-year-old.
Need proof? Look no further than Sunday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. Sure, the Mavs might have blown a seven-point, fourth-quarter lead to lose at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, but the box score tells a story nobody has ever heard.
With a career-high 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, Doncic became the first teenager in NBA history with a 30-point triple-double and the first teenager with multiple triple-doubles. His first came against the Milwaukee Bucks on January 21.
In a basketball landscape where former high school prodigies and college one-and-dones dominate headlines and turn into NBA All-Stars, Doncic has managed to do something superstars such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant were never able to accomplish as a rookie.
James was the youngest player to have a 30-point triple-double at 20 years, 100 days old until Doncic put it on the Raptors.
Additionally, he is the second-youngest player to ever record a triple-double (Markelle Fultz) and the seventh rookie in NBA history with a 35-point triple-double. The others? Steph Curry, Jason Kidd, Michael Jordan, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor all did it once, while Oscar Robertson did it nine times.
That’s some serious company to join right there.
Doncic was the EuroLeague MVP and won a EuroLeague championship with Real Madrid last season before he became the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks and was traded to the Mavericks. He was obviously talented enough to be a top pick in a really stacked draft class. Little did anyone know he would be headlining it before the All-Star break and it’s not even close.
Every time Doncic steps on the floor, it feels like magic is about to happen. Get used to it, too, because this star guard is not going anywhere and he deserves the chance represent the Western Conference and play in the NBA All-Star Game as a rookie.
In many ways, Luka Doncic is just getting started and that’s a scary, scary thing for the rest of the league.