The Smoking Cuban

Expectations for Luka Doncic’s rookie season

BELGRADE, SERBIA - MAY 20: Luka Doncic of Real Madrid in action during the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four Belgrade 2018 Final match between Real Madrid and Fenerbahce Istanbul Dogus at Stark Arena on May 20, 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
BELGRADE, SERBIA - MAY 20: Luka Doncic of Real Madrid in action during the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four Belgrade 2018 Final match between Real Madrid and Fenerbahce Istanbul Dogus at Stark Arena on May 20, 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images) /
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Luka Dončić might be the most accomplished, NBA ready player in recent memory, but he is still a rookie. Yet even though he is a rookie, you can’t help to think he will explode from day one.

The draft has come and gone, and the Mavericks got away with an excellent class led by Slovenian sensation Luka Dončić. As reported, he will not play in the Summer League circuit because he just finished a massive 90+ game season in two leagues and Continental Tournament.

Dončić comes to the NBA as the most polished player in the draft, international or collegiate. With that comes high expectations on the young prodigy, but let’s not give him too much pressure.

So, without further ado, here is what I consider to be Dončić’s low, mid, and high expectations for Luka Dončić.

Low expectations 

Games played: 64 games or less

Minutes per game: 20.1

Stats: 7.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Slashline: 45.2 FG%, 33.6 3PT%, 74.6 FT%

In this scenario, Dončić will have problems adjusting to NBA length and athleticism, which creates problems for him to consistently score. Yet, this won’t cause him too much trouble in other areas of his game. He will be able to contribute in the rebounding and passing departments, as well as on defense. His shooting numbers won’t be that bad either, although his three-point and free-throw percentages will be a bit lower than what he showed in Europe.

Mid expectations 

Games payed: 65-82

Minutes per game: 28.9

Stats: 14.5 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG.

Slashline: 58.3 FG%, 35.9 3PT%, 80.2 FT%

These are similar to his numbers in Europe. Dončić will be able to score against NBA talent at a very good rate, yet his biggest impact will come as a playmaker. He will be able to help on the boards regularly. His passing will be on a good, consistent display. He will be able to shoot the ball similarly to what he shot in Europe, however his three-point percentage will resemble his first year than last season.

High expectations 

Games played: 74-82

Minutes per game: 35.6

Stats: 20.2 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 7.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.1 BPG.

Slashline: 62.1 FG%, 39.8 3PT%, 84.3 FT%

Luka Dončić’s numbers become slightly better than his per-36 numbers, in every aspect except scoring. His rebounding is good enough to be top-30 in the league. He will be top-10 in passing, and his defense will be top notch.

Dončić has no problem scoring in this scenario, evidenced by his shooting splits. His defense will also be at a high level, especially his team defense. Dončić will have an astronomical impact in every aspect of the game. In this scenario, he might even win the Rookie of the Year award as well.

Next: DeMarcus Cousins in Dallas is the next logical step

Dončić has incredibly high expectations put on his back for his rookie season, and he could either live up to them, or become a complete bust. However he pans out, as of right now, Dallas landed the best player in this draft, and that is an undeniable fact.

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