Luka Donic: Future MVP?
After his first two seasons in the NBA, the only question Luka Doncic had to answer, "could he step up in the playoffs?" Four games into his first playoff series, he has most definitely shown he can step up and then some.
After a successful stint in the EuroLeague, Doncic declared for the NBA Draft in 2018, where he was originally selected by the Atlanta Hawks, with the no.3 pick. However, Dallas made their play for the star guard as they traded Trae Young and a protected first round pick in 2019 to the Hawks to bring Luka to Texas. A very impressive rookie season followed, as the Slovenian averaged 21.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 6.0 APG & 1.1 SPG. These stats leading to him being named to the All-Rookie First Team and running away with the Rookie of the Year award. This season has seen him kick on even further, guiding his team to a playoff place in the West and being one of three finalists for Most Improved Player.
Luka took the league by storm in his sophomore year averaging 28.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG & 8.8 APG. He also led the league in triple doubles, registering a total of 17 throughout the season. His fine form alongside new no.2 Kristaps Porzingis led the Mavericks to seventh place in the West and to being the no.1 offensive team in the entire NBA. All this in just two seasons in the league, impressive, but no player can truly be judged until they take their skills to the post-season. Doncic has now done that and despite being just four games in, he has already shown everything you could possibly want in a franchise corner stone.
Clippers series so far:
It was a rough beginning for Luka in the playoffs, committing four turnovers and turning his ankle in the opening minutes of game 1, but he picked himself up and ended up scoring 42 points on his playoff debut. Although it wasn't enough for a win in game 1, it was still a statement performance from the 21 year old and there was another to follow in game 2 as he went for 28 p, 8 r & 7 a to inspire his team to a first playoff win under his stewardship. That made for a total of 70 points in his opening two playoff games, which took him ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar(69 pts) and put him second on the all-time list.
Game 3 could've easily seen the end for Doncic in this years playoffs as he sprained his ankle but after limping back to the dressing room, he returned to finish the game(all be it on one leg) and managed a first playoff triple-double, however the Clippers won comfortably. Clearly still in pain, he was listed as questionable for game 4 but after an MRI revealed no further damage, he would be primed and ready to play but nobody could have predicted the outstanding performance he would turn out. Without his right hand man, Porzingis, through injury, Doncic knew there would be even more pressure on him to produce and that he did. Going off for 43 pts 17 reb & 13 assists, including a three point buzzer beater in over-time, to lead his team to a 135-133 win and level the series at 2-2.
The addition of Kristaps Porzingis was a masterstroke by Dallas. The trade with the Knicks was an absolute steal and KP has the potential to be an elite offensive player alongside Doncic for many years to come. As we have seen so far in the playoffs though, Luka can win big games without Porzingis but the big Latvian could not do the same without Doncic. Together though, they can be elite and create a dynasty in Dallas, Luka will obviously be the star but every MJ needs his Scottie Pippen to truly succeed.
Luka Doncic has it all, he's 21 years old. Court vision matched only by Lebron, speed, strength and an ability to score in every possible way. The former EuroLeague MVP's form since entering the league in 2018 has been astonishing and his performances so far in the playoffs act as a welcome reminder that the league is in great hands, with Luka as the shining light.