Although it’s a bit premature to start giving out awards, I already have a prediction for the 2018/2019 NBA Rookie of the Year. Despite the likes of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Deandre Ayton entering the league this season, the rookie that stands out the most is Luka Doncic.
Living up to the hype
Luka Doncic has lived up to the pre-draft hype and seeing his level of play so far in the league, I am surprised he went number three in the draft. His impact on the Mavericks has been quite evident as the team has a winning record and a more focused offence, an area where they seemed uninspired the past couple of years. Doncic possesses both flash and substance and fits the Maverick fold very well as he is equipped with a great long-range shot, and has the playmaking abilities that complement veterans such as DeAndre Jordan and Harrison Barnes. The nineteen-year-old leads the 2018 rookie class in scoring and has the composure of a veteran. There has been concern regarding his physique and athleticism, but these concerns seem invalid to me considering his high level of play.
The criticisms I mention above seem invalid to me, however, there are some other concerns regarding Doncic and the Mavericks. For one, the Mavericks play better on both ends of the court when Doncic is off the court. Doncic also lacks consistency in his scoring; hopefully, this is something that improves with experience. Doncic also ranks in the top ten in the league in turnovers, which is definitely not something to be proud of. These concerns over time should remedy themselves as Doncic gets more and more comfortable in the league.
The New Face of the Mavericks
Even with these concerns, the Mavericks have found their next franchise player. Doncic is currently averaging 18.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 4.3 APG, a stat line that has only been matched by two other players at age twenty or younger in Magic Johnson and LeBron James. Now, whether or not Doncic has a career that matches those two is too early to predict, but the Mavericks have finally found a player to build around once Dirk Nowitzki retires.
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