Dallas Mavericks: Three reasons Luka Doncic is the Rookie of the Decade
By Kohl Rast
1. The Supposed Slump
There have been rumors that Luka Doncic went through a bit of a slump after the Mavs traded away the rest of the team’s starting lineup. Part of the reason these rumors spread so easily was because it made a lot of sense. After building a nice chemistry with Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes and DeAndre Jordan, all four of them were gone in a matter of days.
Now, all of a sudden, Luka is playing next to Jalen Brunson, Tim Hardaway Jr., Dwight Powell and Dirk Nowitzki. This isn’t to say that the new starting lineup is significantly worse than what Luka had been playing with, but it is a completely new lineup to get used to without any period of time to practice together. Getting thrown in with the lions is never ideal.
So how bad has this slump been from Luka? Before all of the trades, Luka was averaging 20.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. He was shooting 43.3% from the field and 35.2% from three. Since January 31st, the day the Kristaps Porzingis trade went through, Luka’s averages have been 23 points, 9.4 rebounds and 7 assists. His percentages have gone down a little.
So was this a made up shooting slump that people just expected him to fall into? Not exactly. His shooting really has gone down a little bit. The problem is, he is so good at figuring out ways to score on off shooting nights that his overall statistics don’t reflect any poor play. On the contrary, his shooting percentages have gone down but his scoring numbers have gone up. That is really impressive for a rookie.
People who are against Luka are happy to gloss over the fact that he has been playing basketball at a professional level for over a year straight now. He didn’t get the chance to participate in any significant NBA conditioning or strength training, meaning his stamina is not where it could be and should be. Even still, he is working his butt off night in and night out.
As far as rookies with as impressive stats over the past decade goes, the 2nd year ROYs (Ben Simmons and Blake Griffin) both had solid stat lines that compare to Luka. Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyreke Evans also had solid statistical seasons, but not as strong as Simmons and Griffin.
Next: Clutch Shooting