The moment it was announced that the Dallas Mavericks had acquired Luka Doncic, fans were understandably filled with joy. Based on his performance so far this season, it’s safe to say that the 19-year-old Slovenian kid is becoming a beloved hero in Dallas. But crucially, it’s only the beginning.
Striking gold in Dallas
Back in May, while playing for Real Madrid, Doncic won the 2018 EuroLeague title and was named the Final Four tournament’s MVP. It was during that time that Doncic became the youngest player in Liga ACB history to register a triple-double. A month after winning the tournament, he declared for the NBA Draft.
Despite being strongly regarded as the #1 overall pick, the Phoenix Suns passed on him as he “fell” to the Atlanta Hawks, only to be traded to Dallas in exchange for the draft rights to Trae Young and a 2019 first-round draft pick. To say that the Mavericks struck gold in this deal is a major understatement. Coming into the draft, Doncic was arguably considered the best and most accomplished prospect.
Although the Mavericks are not off to their best start, Doncic is still making an impact on the team. Described as a do-it-all player, Doncic has unique penetration and shooting skills. And he’s an excellent passer with tremendous court-vision and an superb work ethic. He’s averaging close to 20 points per game and his shooting percentage is close 50 percent and has scored over 250 points so far this season. He should be at the top of the NBA’s Rookie of the Year list.
Just one weakness
However, as great as he is, he does have one weakness: turning the ball over. He has turned the ball over more than 50 times this season, the most of any rookie. He averages about 4.0 turnovers a game. Since 1973, only seven rookies averaged 4.0 turnovers per game. This is normal as every basketball star has a weakness. And this is part of the learning process for him.
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was more excited than anyone in the Mavericks organization to have Doncic. “He has a skill set, an understanding, and a feel for the game,” he said. “He creates space for other players. He’s a joyful passer and guys like that are a blast to play with.”
When he steps on the court, Doncic displays basketball IQ that supersedes his age, a silky smooth jumper, and the poise of NBA veteran. He does everything in his power to assist his team to earn a hard-fought victory. Dirk Nowitzki praises Doncic for his skills on the court.
“His all-around game is already unbelievable,” he said. “He’s playing like a savvy vet. He carries himself that way on the court.”
Doncic has been playing professionally since he was 13. While playing professional basketball in Europe isn’t the same as playing in the NBA, Doncic has developed a mature act and he’s taking that act well into an NBA court and it’s helped him develop a useful mentality which has allowed him to put up remarkable performances. He’s working on reaching the most important stage of his career and while he still has a lot to learn, it’s safe to say that progress is being made as far as his journey to stardom goes.
This article was originally published here at Unfiltered Access.