Luka Doncic and Trae Young forever linked: Timeline of their paths crossing

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Trae Young
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Trae Young / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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2022 All-Star weekend: Trae Young starts in 2nd appearance as Luka Doncic comes off bench

The Hawks dominated the Mavericks on the opening night of the 2021-2022 season in what was the beginning of an awful start for Dallas. They faced turmoil after their second straight first-round playoff exit, and owner Mark Cuban replaced both his general manager and head coach in the summer of 2021. It took Dallas some time to find their footing under head coach Jason Kidd, especially after Luka did not show up in peak condition.

Doncic’s slow start made him an All-Star reserve for the first time in his career. Trae Young was back in the starting five after not making it at all in 2021. The Hawks superstar had a 13-point double-double for Team Durant, but it was Luka on Team LeBron that got the final laugh with a 163-160 victory. Doncic had eight points and three dimes off the bench in his third All-Star game.

The Mavs reached another level down the stretch as they vaulted to fourth in the Western Conference. Coach Kidd had them playing stout defense, and everything was clicking around Doncic.

The Hawks finished ninth in the Eastern Conference, and they had to go through the play-in tournament to qualify for the playoffs. They topped the Hornets and Cavaliers to secure the eighth seed, but the postseason flipped the comparison between these two players firmly back in Doncic’s direction.