The Smoking Cuban

Dallas Mavericks: Why Luka Doncic should be first-team All-NBA

Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic James Harden Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Why Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic deserves to be first-team All-NBA over James Harden

Harden has been incredible this season, but injuries have limited him to just 42 games. He has played 14 fewer than Doncic and does not appear close to returning from a hamstring injury that has cost him the last 13 contests. Luka could finish with 24 more games played, which should be a significant factor in the race for All-NBA. After all, the best ability is availability.

Comparing the counting starts between the two players is a mixed bag. Doncic has the edge in scoring. Harden takes assists, steals, and blocks with it being a virtual dead heat in rebounds. Luka has a higher effective field goal percentage, though.

The advanced metrics all favor Doncic. Harden is 11th in PER, ninth in box plus-minus, and 13th in VORP, but the Mavericks superstar is top-eight in each stat.

The Nets have a 4.8 net rating with Harden on the floor. It drops to 3.4 with him on the bench, but his plus 1.4 does not compare to Luka’s plus 2.9. Dallas is a contender with Doncic on the court and at best an average team without him.

Luka Doncic holds the edge over James Harden in the race for first-team All-NBA. It will be interesting to see how voters tackle missed time. The Beard could miss out entirely if they penalize heavily for injuries.

Next: Luka vs. CP3