Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic cannot be stopped right now. Here is a look at why he should be considered the front runner for the MVP award.
Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic is unique. Normal 20-year-olds aren’t out doing historic things on a nightly basis. For most, they are just starting to get accumulated to the college lifestyle. Not Luka Doncic. He is the exception, the anomaly. He is 20-year-old so good at his craft that he has become must-see TV on random Sunday afternoons.
Recently, the talk around Doncic has centered on MVP discussions. Some might say it is way too soon. That we’re only 16 games in, but for Luka, this feels different. What we are witnessing is a young man making the jump from good to great. He is going from Rookie of the Year to potential MVP candidate.
These numbers aren’t normal
Through 16 games this season, Luka Doncic is averaging nearly a triple-double. He is currently sitting at 30.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game. He is second in the NBA in points per game behind James Harden. He sits 11th in total rebounds and second in assists just behind only LeBron James.
Seems pretty good, right? Just wait, it gets better.
So far in 2019, Luka is also leading the NBA in PER (player efficiency rating) at 33.5. The two closest to him are the two most recent MVPs in Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden. He leads them both by more than a point. If you still aren’t buying into the Luka hype, he has the best PER for a season in NBA history using his numbers so far.
Since we’re on a roll, there is plenty more. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Luka Doncic became the second player in NBA history to record 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 500 assists before their 90th career game. It took Doncic 88 games. To add some perspective, the only person to do it faster was Oscar Robinson, who did it in 66 games.
Again. let me reiterate that these numbers are not normal for anyone, let alone a 20-year-old in his second NBA season.
Is this sustainable?
Averaging a triple-double for an entire season is extremely difficult, but it has been done. Just take a look at Russell Westbrook‘s MVP campaign back in 2017. Now, Luka is expected to cool off a little bit, but if the Mavericks continue to win, then the call for Luka being the MVP will only grow louder even if his stats do drop back down to Earth.
If the NBA rewarded the MVP on solely numbers alone, then Luka most likely wouldn’t have a chance by the time the regular season wrapped up.
Luckily, it doesn’t. Take a look back at Derrick Rose‘s MVP season. He averaged 25.0 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game at just 22 years old while leading the Bulls to the best record in the NBA. He went on to become the youngest MVP ever. Rose didn’t win this award because he had the best stats.
He won it because he had the best story. Sure, he was the catalyst for that Bulls team. He put up a sturdy stat-line, but many can make the argument that LeBron James was robbed that year as he was better on both ends of the floor than Rose.
I make this point not to take away what from what Rose did, but to make the argument that Luka Doncic has the best story-line going for him in the NBA right now. No matter what people say, this plays a huge role in almost every MVP race.
To take a page out of Rose’s book, why not? Why can’t Luka be the MVP of the league?
Everyone loves a good story to go along with this award and which one is better than Luka’s right now? A 20-year-old phenom leading the Mavericks back into relevance and out of the shadow of the Dirk Nowitzki era. Right now, supporters can only wait and see what Doncic does with the 66 games he has left on the season.
So let’s sit back and enjoy the ride.