Career Highlights: 2018-2019 NBA Rookie of the Year, 2018-2019 All-Rookie First Team, 2018 EuroLeague Champion, 2018 EuroLeague MVP
When a legend within a sports franchise is near the end of their career, it’s common for the franchise to fall into an uphill battle attempting to build a new, contending team without what was the face of their franchise. But, in some instances, a team is lucky enough to have a young superstar waiting in the wings to be handed the keys to the franchise, such as David Robinson to Tim Duncan, Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck and now Dirk Nowitzki to Luka Doncic in Dallas.
The 20-year-old Slovenian took the league by storm in his rookie season after the Mavericks landed Doncic in a draft night trade with the Atlanta Hawks for the draft rights to Trae Young, who fell second to Doncic in the ROY race.
Luka landed the Rookie of the Year award, earning 98 of the 100 first place votes, after averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.
Yes, those are the stats of a 20-year-old rookie. What stands as even more impressive is the play of Doncic following the All-Star break, where his four fellow starters were traded away from the Mavericks. Holding more responsibility and weight on his shoulders, Luka averaged 22.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game in 17 games post All-Star.
Doncic had several noteworthy moments and highlights during his rookie campaign including introducing his signature step-back to the basketball world and notching eight triple-doubles, third most by a rookie in NBA history.
His personal 11-0 run against the Rockets in the fourth quarter of a December home game to win was a sign of things to come for the rookie.
But by far, Luka’s most memorable moment of his rookie season was his buzzer beater against the Trail Blazers to send the game into overtime. Though eventually ending in a loss in overtime, the chilling “HOW DID HE DO IT?” call from Mark Followill after Luka drained the fadeaway three over the Portland defender as he fell into the Trail Blazers bench was simply incredible.
With Dirk Nowitzki now retired and even in spite of the Mavericks acquiring Kristaps Porzingis, this is Luka’s team. He holds the keys to this franchise, as he should.
If what we witnessed during his rookie season is only him cracking the surface, the rest of the league is in big trouble, which supplants Luka Doncic as the #1 current athlete in DFW.
DSF Top 20 Current DFW Athletes
20. John Klingberg | 19. Skylar Diggins-Smith | 18. Alexander Radulov | 17. Tyron Smith | 16. Miro Heiskanen | 15. Travis Frederick | 14. Zack Martin | 13. Demarcus Lawrence | 12. Leighton Vander Esch | 11. Ben Bishop | 10. Jaylon Smith | 9. Jamie Benn | 8. Amari Cooper | 7. Elvis Andrus | 6. Kristaps Porzingis | 5. Joey Gallo | 4. Tyler Seguin | 3. Dak Prescott | 2. Ezekiel Elliott | 1. Luka Doncic
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