Last night he went 10-23 with 27 points and 8 boards. Among rookies he’s first in points per game, third in rebounds, and second in assists. I can’t really remember the last time a European player came to the league and was as advertised. Kristaps gets a pass until he figures out how to get new bones, but the list of Euro players who have audibly stunk is miles long. For every Giannis there’s a Jan Vesely. For every Rudy Gobert there’s a Dragan Bender. This year though, we were promised a “can’t miss” prospect. We were told he has no position because he can play every position. He can not only fit any type of offense, but thrive in any type of offense. Wild expectations I know, but if anything they undersold this guy.
I can bore you with his numbers, and scream from the mountain tops about his advanced shooting metrics and blah blah blah. In today’s social media and instant reaction driven world, athletes need impressive moments that you can plug on YouTube or Twitter. No one cares about a solid shooting night if someone across the country was taking peoples ankles all night. The internet is essentially free advertising, and Doncic is advertising the most creative big ever. I hopped onto YouTube and searched just “Doncic”. This came up.
The best step back in basketball, excluding that nonsense James Harden does, belongs to Luka. Andrew Wiggins still doesn’t know what happened. One second you’re on him, the next he’s created nine feet of space in an instant due to pure body control and creativity. Is a lethal step back enough to win the Rookie of the Year? No, not really. Is it enough to make yourself a household name, creating buzz that can win you the award? Why yes, yes it is.
If elite sports media companies, like ESPN or Views From the Wall, can attach a move to your name in highlight reels or blogs, that’s huge for marketing. Hearing Kevin Harlan yell “Luka step back three, GOT IT!” will stick in viewers minds long after the game is over, and no other rookie competes with Luka in that regard.
Kareem had the sky hook, Hakeem had the Dream Shake, Iverson had the crossover, and while comparing a guy who hasn’t played a full NBA season to those Hall of Famers is stupid, Luka nonetheless already has his move, and it really is good enough to earn him some hardware.