Luka Doncic, as many predicted, has immediately stepped into the NBA and looked far and away better than the vast majority of this rookie class. He’s got the veteran know-how of a guy who’s been playing professional basketball for years because, well, he has been. While Marvin Bagley was winning player of the year in the ACC, an award that hasn’t produced an NBA All-Star since Josh Howard won it in 2003, Doncic was busy winning MVP of the second-best basketball competition on the planet along with every other individual and team honor possible in his final year with Real Madrid in Spain. The Dallas Mavericks were all too happy to trade a future first-round pick to move up two spots to grab the Slovenian sensation and, so far, he’s proven their gamble a worthy one.
Doncic’s individual statistics are already well above average for the NBA at large, not to mention among those in his draft class. He’s ascended into a primary playmaker role for an upstart Mavericks team that finds itself firmly in the playoff mix in the Western Conference; though, to be fair, every team in the West is in the mix except for the Phoenix Suns. Still, Dallas is far ahead of preseason expectations and while Doncic doesn’t get every ounce of the credit, he’s the main conductor of their No. 13-ranked offense and has the numbers to back it up – high-end efficiency on solid usage, a good creator for his teammates, and clutch stats that are just to die for.
Already sporting an above-average true shooting percentage while using more than a quarter of his team’s possessions, Doncic’s all-around ability to score has been the largest surprise through the first 23 games of his career. The supposed lack of burst and athleticism was something that held him back when compared to the other prospects at the top of the draft, but he’s been able to mostly put those concerns to bed thus far. He’s not wowing anybody with over-the-top put back dunks or anything, but there were translation concerns with his step back jumper and ability to get to his spots in pick-and-roll. The step back is firmly in place; just ask Clint Capela.