I Have Luka Fever

After a dominant 128-108 pummeling of the struggling Rockets on the road, the Mavericks are rolling. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games and have been playing some truly inspired basketball. Look at the competition they’ve been facing as well; these teams are no joke. 7 games against playoff teams from last season and they were 6-1 in these games, including wins against league powers Boston, Houston, and Golden State.

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They’ve been on a roll and we saw it for ourselves as they took the Celtics down last Saturday at home. While they’ve been entertaining as a whole, I’m here to focus on one piece of the puzzle in Dallas, Luka Doncic. He’s averaging 19.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and a steal on 45.7/39.8/79.5 shooting splits. He’s been just what the doctor ordered for the Mavericks and injects some youth into a team, who for years, has been veteran focused. His creativity is off the charts and he’s became one of the most exciting players to watch already in his young career. He has the passing of Pete Maravich and that in a 6’ 7” frame is sure to cause problems for the opposition. He’s made some of the best defensive players in the association looks like fools with some of his pass fakes.

Look at what he does to Rudy Gobert (Yeesh), I have news for you, LUKA DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR. He’ll make him look like a jabroni as you sit on your couch eating Pringles watching Luka cook. Just watch how he tools on James Harden. Apparently, he does not care about your League MVP either.

The Euro-sensation came to the states off of a EuroLeague MVP (youngest ever Euro MVP at 19 years old) and a championship overseas with Real Madrid. Still, coming into the draft, there were questions. I for one wasn’t sure why Doncic was being lumped into the “Unknown European Prospect” category. There’s a difference between Doncic and every other euro prospect that has come before him. We knew what to expect from Doncic and I was convinced, right off the bat, that he would be great. I keep going back to him winning the Euro MVP at 19 because I can’t help but think that it matters, a ton. Check out the list of players who have won the award since it began in the 2004-05 season.

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8 of those players (9 now including Luka) played NBA basketball and some even had long careers in the association. Some were even pretty damn good players in the league (S/O AK47 aka Andrei Kirilenko for being UNREAL in NBA Live 2005). The difference between Luka and all of these former MVPs is that Luka isn’t done getting better. Besides Teodosic (23 at the time), all of these players were over the age of 27 when they received the honor. Doncic won it at 19 and the sky is the limit for him. This youth/skill is what is so enamoring about Doncic, he comes off as a veteran. He’s been playing professional basketball since he became a teenager and he knows how to be a pro. Most rookies come in off of a college season and have to adjust to the pro game and handling themselves as professionals. The fact that Luka has this invaluable experience does wonders for his development and makes his peak scary for other teams as he’s essentially a veteran as a rookie. The Euroleague is one of the best leagues in the entire world. We saw Doncic dominate this league all of last season at the age of 19 and STILL, “experts”, were skeptical. His EuroLeague stats speak for themselves as he improved every single year and molded himself into one of the most intriguing prospects this league has ever seen.

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The plan for Dallas is to have Dirk pass the torch to Luka and I couldn’t think of a better plan. One elder Euro-Legend passing down the responsibility of leading the Mavericks to a young Euro-Sensation is one of the best stories in the league right now. I’d recommend you watch as much Mavericks basketball as you can because this kid is special and I don’t want to miss a thing.

-Chuck

Photo: 2018 NBA Media Ventures, LLC

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