Luka Doncic is the undisputed Rookie of the Year in the NBA so far this season. The Dallas Mavericks guard has been so good, he deserves to be recognized with a unanimous decision.
There is an old saying that goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” I’m not sure if that saying applies to videos, but I do know that it doesn’t apply to Luka Doncic videos. Watching highlights from the Slovenian sensation does not leave me with thousands of words to say. It leaves me speechless.
The Dallas Mavericks are 56 games into the 2018-19 NBA season, which will always be remembered as Luka Doncic’s rookie year. Between game winners, impossible finishes and mind-blowing passes to the deep corner, Luka has become a household name across the league. He has done so at the ripe old age of 19.
Luka Doncic is having an historic rookie season, the likes of which we have almost never seen. Currently averaging 20.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals, Luka leads the Mavs among active players in all four of these stat categories. The rookies that have hit those numbers in the past are as follows: Oscar Robertson.
Now, Oscar Robertson’s rookie season was much more impressive than Luka’s statistically, but the fact that no rookie has done what Luka has done this year since 1961 is pretty spectacular.
Since 1984, a total of five rookies have been voted as the unanimous Rookie of the Year: Ralph Sampson (1983-84), David Robinson (1989-90), Blake Griffin (2010-11), Damian Lillard (2012-13) and Karl-Anthony Towns (2015-16). All of these guys were very dominant in their rookie season and each one had some competition.
Ralph Sampson was drafted in the same year as Clyde Drexler, Dale Ellis and Derek Harper. David Robinson had Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway and Shawn Kemp. Blake Griffin had DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George and John Wall. Damian Lillard had Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal. Karl-Anthony Towns had Devin Booker and Kristaps Porzingis.
Luka’s biggest competition for the award at this point is likely Marvin Bagley III, Jaren Jackson Jr. or Trae Young. I feel pretty confident in saying that Luka is significantly better than all of these guys at this time. As far as rookies go, he is first in points, second in rebounds, second in assists, second in win shares and first in minutes played.
So what will Luka have to do to become the most recent unanimous Rookie of the Year? Really, he just has to keep playing his game. The changes in the starting lineup and the seeming surrender of a chance at the playoffs could slow Luka down a little bit, but it hasn’t yet. If he keeps his averages where they are (or even improves on them) that would essentially seal the deal as he is the distant favorite at this point.
To simplify, the only thing left to dub Luka as the newest member of the unanimous Rookie of the Year club is the announcement from the league. This kid is a winning season away from an All-Star berth and possibly some MVP consideration and the league will recognize that starting next year. We are all witnessing history in the present.