When he came to the NBA from overseas, Luka Doncic had plenty of hype surrounding him. Selected in the top three in the 2018 NBA Draft, it was expected that Doncic would be good. But not many expected him to be as good as he was in his rookie campaign, as the point forward turned heads and laid the groundwork for his team to improve going forward. If he can keep up what he did in his rookie season, Doncic could be one of the best overseas success stories in NBA history.
An incredible start
What Luka Doncic did in his first year in the league was incredible by any standards, including standards applied to veteran players. Doncic finished in the top 25 in the NBA in both scoring and assists, averaging 21.2 points per game, 6.0 assists per game, and adding 7.8 rebounds per game. His consistency was uncommon for rookies in the NBA, with his experience in Madrid as a pro before arriving in the NBA being a key to his being able to handle the moment so soon.
Perhaps more impressive than his numerical performances was his ability to take on whatever role the Mavericks needed him to. Doncic frequently had the ball in his hands during possessions late in the game, with his stepback jumper and ability to distribute the ball effectively making it difficult for defenders to figure out how to guard him at the end of games. Doncic’s fast start has provided some much-needed optimism in Dallas given that another overseas legend, Dirk Nowitzki, just retired from the team.
Potential for more
The Dallas Mavericks are anything but favorites to make a deep playoff run in the 2019-2020 NBA season. Odds for NBA betting on bet365 have the team near the bottom of the list of championship odds for next season. But they should improve substantially in 2019-2020, with Doncic being one of the major reasons why.
What is scary about a player as young as Luka Doncic is the fact that he can continue to get better after such a strong rookie campaign. He has been praised since the end of his team’s season for his commitment to improving his conditioning. With the NBA game being eight minutes longer than the international games he cut his teeth in, that commitment is going to play a major role in his improvement. At the end of games especially, having superior conditioning can be the difference between wins and losses.
Improving his jump shooting will be another priority for the young star. Doncic shot under 35% from three-point range in his rookie season. His 32.7% rate wasn’t by any means disastrous, but it is something that will need to get better if he is going to leap ahead of some of the game’s best ballhandlers in order to become a great dual-threat offensive player. But given that Doncic has already shown that he is more than willing to work on his shortcomings in the game, it’s likely he will commit to improving in this area as well.