NBA players typically don’t make a massive leap from year one to year two, especially not after winning Rookie of the Year. Luka Doncic is breaking that trend.
The 6-foot-7 Slovenian-born guard has been one of the league’s best offensive players this season. Doncic has led his Mavericks to a 10-5 record, and the team is currently on a four-game winning streak.
Doncic has already been floated by the media as a potential MVP candidate in 2020. Could that happen?
Last season, Doncic, the third pick in the 2018 Draft, earned himself the Rookie of the Year Award for his outstanding play. He averaged 21 points, 7.8 rebounds, six assists and one steal per game.
In 15 games, Doncic has already greatly improved those numbers. He is averaging nearly 30 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 9.7 assists per game. Doncic tops the league in PER.
Doncic has improved his field goal percentage since last season from 43 percent to 49 percent, while taking more shots per game. He is also getting to the free throw line more, and making the most out of those as well, shooting 82 percent.
Doncic is a special player, and is putting up numbers the NBA hasn’t seen from a 20-year-old since LeBron James. Doncic has already recorded 15 career triple-doubles, and recently recorded one without playing in the fourth quarter.
Like any player, Doncic has a few minor shortcomings in his game. He could improve his three-point percentage, and he is not a supremely talented defender.
Still, Doncic’s offensive ability has only been topped by James Harden this year, who is an MVP candidate himself.
Can Doncic Win the 2020 MVP?
If Doncic’s tremendous play continues, he will certainly be an 2020 MVP candidate, along with Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and probably one of the Lakers’ stars.
The determining factor will be the team success of the Dallas Mavericks.
At 10-5, the Mavericks are the sixth in the Western Conference. Portland, San Antonio and Golden State have all had miserable starts to the year, allowing Dallas to ascend.
Typically, the MVP Award goes to the best player on the best team, or the player that leads his team past expectations and into the playoffs. To be blunt, the Mavericks without Doncic are a lottery team. Dallas ranks first in offensive rating, but 17th in defense.
While Kristaps Porzingis has played well for the team, his field goal percentage and points per game have dipped since he was last healthy. The Mavericks also lack a third option offensively, despite having a collection of decent role players. A trade could change this, as Dallas has tradeable assets.
Despite not having an amazing team behind him, Doncic has propelled the Mavs to a level many did not expect, at least so soon in his career.
If the Mavericks can continue to play well and make the playoffs as a middle-seeded team, Doncic could earn himself his first MVP Award, dethroning Derrick Rose as the youngest MVP in history.
Featured image credited to USA Today.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.