Breaking down Luka Dončić’s 15 most impressive basketball performances before he kicks off his NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks.
All Dallas Mavericks fans have heard about since the front office traded up to select Luka Dončić in June is how the team is adding the most accomplished player in the draft. That, of course, is absolutely true.
Unfortunately, most MFFL’s have never even seen who European fans have lovingly dubbed “The Wonderboy” play a game. Watching season highlights can be helpful in determining a player’s strengths, but a season-long highlight tape can make any player look special.
This we will take a look at Luka’s 15 best basketball games and provide highlights from those specific contests. Context (opponent, age, environment), posted stats, and efficiency will all go into how the games are ranked.
It is important that I clear up the differences in the leagues that Dončić played in so there is no confusion about the competition.
A pool play and tournament of all the best basketball-playing countries in Europe that occurs every two years. For soccer fans, it is the basketball version of the UEFA European Championship. For those unfamiliar with that example, think the World Cup but only for European countries.
Indisputably the second-best basketball league in the world. Consists of the 16 best club teams from all over Europe. It is a collection of the top teams from all the different leagues, so EuroLeague teams play both a EuroLeague schedule and a schedule for their domestic league.
Considered by most to be the third-best basketball league in the world. Consists of the best club teams in Spain. Many of the best European and American players move to Spain to play in this league (as was the case with Dončić who is Slovenian).
Final notes on European basketball
You may find yourself slightly unimpressed by some of Dončić’s best stat-lines. Thinking “Okay these are impressive, but shouldn’t an MVP be producing these numbers on a nightly basis?”
An important thing to remember is that European games are only 40 minutes long (NBA games are 48 minutes). Also, the games are played at a much slower pace. It is similar to NBA games of past eras.
European teams often go deep into their bench as well and there is an inherent bias against playing younger players. Dončić only averaged 25.4 minutes in EuroLeague (23rd in the league) and 24.3 minutes in Liga ACB (23rd in the league). For reference, that’s right around the same average as Dirk, Barea, and Doug McDermott played for the Mavericks last season.
If Mavs fans are lucky, these types of performances will carry over and translate to the NBA immediately in Dončić’s rookie season. Let us begin the countdown of Luka’s best games with number 15.