Luka Doncic Is Starting To Play Like Mike 

On December 31, 2018, in Sporting News, by Bud Thornton

luka doncic 2018 dallasLuka Doncic is taking the NBA by storm, posting rookie numbers we haven’t seen since the likes of Michael Jordan.

Something that has already captured the imagination of NBA fans everywhere is his step-back three-point shot.

Inspired by James Harden, Doncic has made this shot completely his own and this type of off the dribble shot combined with his height allows him to take his time with the release and continue to astound defenders with basket after basket.

Another factor that makes his game more impressive is his age as he’s only 19 years old. In the history of the NBA, we rarely see someone so young being so poised and in control, especially in clutch situations.

Amongst non-center starters who have played at least 15 games, Doncic is sixth in field goal percentage overall (55.3); and if you factor all players, he’s fourth in three-point percentage during the most pressure-filled moments of the game.

Last night against a tough Oklahoma City Thunder team Doncic scored 25 points and seven assists, as he ran a couple of brilliant plays against Paul George, arguably one of the toughest defenders in the league.

Midway through his first NBA season, with so many highlights and clutch plays already under his belt, it’s time to reflect on whether Doncic is having the best rookie season of all time.

Through his first 34 games in the NBA there has been no question he’s living up to everything the Dallas Mavericks expected from him when they acquired him from the Atlanta Hawks in a trade of first-round draft picks for Trae Young.

To historically put things in perspective, if Doncic continues his production through the end of the year, he’ll join a list of only one other player to average at least 19.5 points, six total rebounds, five assists and an effective field goal percentage above 50 percent. The player he would join would be none other than the great Michael Jordan himself.

Jordan did it all back in the 1984-85 season averaging 28.2 points per game, but keep in mind that he was 21 years old in his first season.

As for the other stats, they are eerily similar as Jordan averaged 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and a .518 percentage from the floor, while this season Doncic numbers have been 6.5, 5.1 and .516.

Doncic has adapted almost flawlessly to the NBA. His passing and vision make him really hard to guard as he has a great sense of how to change speeds and use his body to get additional space during pick-and-roll plays.

At this point in the season, it’s clear that Doncic needs to be the man and main ball handler for the Mavericks. Although he’s not as quick as other players on his team, his IQ more than makes for it defensively as he understands positioning and has a knack for making plays on that end of the floor.

It’s reasonable to assume that he will continue to improve in the upcoming seasons, so if this is the worst his three-point shooting will be in his career, then he has the potential to become a lethal player from beyond the arc.

He has tremendous ability to create separation off the bounce and the height to get his shot over defenders as he’s certainly not shy about taking them in big moments.

Due to his experience in the Euroleague, it’s evident that Doncic has been prepared to perform in clutch situations for years. He keeps proving that he can be the guy to turn to when they absolutely need a basket late in games.

At this point, it’s just a question of when he’ll begin to assert himself even more on offense. If Doncic can do that this season and lead the Mavs to the playoffs he could end up having the best rookie season of all time.

 

 

 

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