What makes Luka Doncic a potential MVP candidate for the NBA 2019/2020 season?
We list the 6 MVP attributes that the sophomore brings to the table day in day out.
There has been much to talk about now that a quarter of the 2019/2020 NBA season has past – such as the Lakers with LeBron and Anthony Davis winning form, the Clippers finding their feet with Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo fighting it out with Luka Doncic for MVP.
“Say that again?” I hear you say. “Luka who?”
Luka Doncic is last year’s winner of the Rookie of the Year Award. Playing for the Dallas Mavericks as a point forward, he earned 98 out of 100 votes to emphatically beat all contenders. (The two remaining votes went to Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks who is also a brilliant player). Averaging 21 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists per game in his first NBA season, even many seasoned players would be proud to have those stat lines.
It was highly unexpected that Luka Doncic would perform so well, since his development was in the EuroLeague. Typically players who don’t come through the American College basketball system are marked as higher risk or as lower quality, and thus Doncic was selected third on the draft NBA night by Atlanta and then subsequently traded to Dallas for Trae Young. How the NBA draft played out simply highlighted that many expected Doncic to be good, but not that good!
Come Doncic’s sophomore season, and many again expected Doncic to be good, but not that good! The race for regular season MVP 2019/2020 is on, and Luka Doncic is in the mix for winning the award. Never since LeBron James, has someone as young as Doncic be in the running.
Let’s examine 6 MVP attributes that places Doncic second on the sports betting table to win the regular season MVP award.
MVP Attribute 1. High Basketball IQ
Doncic’s IQ is through the roof. He knows how to read the game and execute plays to perfection
Many have compared his basketball IQ to that of the great Larry Bird. Unlike other players who use their athleticism, Doncic uses his basketball IQ. I dare say, Doncic is actually very athletic in my opinion, but he chooses to play the Larry Bird way and at his own pace. The ability to play the game in second gear, at a speed that he is comfortable with, brings a new dimension to basketball.
Just like Steph Curry who changed the perceived importance of the three ball, Doncic is now bringing forth basketball IQ as the new winning skill set to have. What makes this so refreshing is that it demonstrates that if you have basketball IQ, you can become a good player.
MVP Attribute 2. Dallas winning record
Doncic has powered the Dallas Mavericks up to third in the Western Conference
The Dallas Mavericks aren’t meant to be winning. Can you name the Mavs’ starting five? I’ll bet you that you can’t. Their starting 5 is currently:
- Luka Doncic (PG)
- Kristaps Porzingis (PF)
- Seth Curry (SG)
- Dorian Finney-Smith (SF)
- Dwight Powell (C)
Would anyone have expected this starting 5 to place the Mavs as third on the ladder on the Western Conference? Above the James Harden Houston Rockets? Above the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz?
The Mavs are sitting pretty on third due to the magic of Doncic. He has powered the team forward with his stellar sophomore season. Together with players, who aren’t superstars but know their roles, he is leading a team that is now formidable. Porzingis is only returning after a year long absence with injury, Seth Curry is normally coming off the bench, and Finney-Smith and Powell are powerful players but not superstars.
An MVP usually is selected from a team that has a wining record. And Dallas is winning because of Doncic.
MVP Attribute 3. Step back 3
Deadly “James Harden like” step back 3
There aren’t many sophomores, let alone seasoned NBA players that have a deadly step back three. James Harden is probably the most well known of all players using a step back three, shooting the 3 ball at 36% for the year. Luka Doncic is not far behind at 33%.
Lost in the shooting percentages are the number of step back threes, and the moment taken during the game. If you have seen Luka Doncic take his step back threes, you will know he has the skills and the courage to pull the trigger when it is needed.
What is a defining moment in this season, is Doncic’s step back three over the arms of LeBron James who was defending him. This was in a fourth quarter, game on the line against the might of the LA Lakers!
MVP candidates have a deadly skill that no one can stop or replicate. For Doncic, the step back 3 ball, pulling up on a dime, is a skill that hardly anyone in the world can replicate consistently.
MVP Attribute 4. Unselfish team play
Doncic plays with the team
Doncic has a style of play that is refreshing. You can see that winning is important to him, and he recognizes this by sharing the ball with his team mates. Not in a superficial manner, but with purpose. His basketball IQ has somehow worked out a way of combining team play with his skills to render other team defenses useless.
Watching how he plays pick and rolls is pure art. His eyes are watching where his teams mates are at all times (and of course where his opponents are as well). He has the ability to draw defenders to him, then passing the ball off for a pick and pop, an easy slam, or to the assist for the side corner three ball.
His top of the key, team work is mastery. Screen setters can easily move and play with Doncic. Back and forth passing confuses the defense, and screen and roll becomes easy to execute because the pace isn’t rushed.
Unlike James Harden, Doncic’s team play is a pleasure to watch. It is far more entertaining because the motion is fluid and dynamic between players.
MVP Attribute 5. Audacity
Doncic has the courage to be MVP
Displaying maturity beyond his years, Luka Doncic is not shirking away from the responsibilities and lime light of leading the Dallas Mavericks. He is confident yet not overly cocky. He is audacious as shown with his step back 3 over Lebron James in the fourth quarter of the LA Lakers v Dallas Mavericks match up.
Let’s remind ourselves, that Doncic is only 20 years old and only in his second year in the NBA. Has anyone ever become the leader of a team at such a young age and with very little NBA experience? It hasn’t been done, and Doncic should take credit for his historical second season.
MVP candidates are leaders of their teams, and Doncic is clearly the leader of the Dallas Mavericks.
MVP Attribute 6. Statistics
The stat’s don’t lie, Doncic is making history
In the most recent game that Doncic has played, he notched up the stat lines of 41 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. Admittedly this is against the Detroit Pistons, but let’s not down play this. A 40 point triple double! And it’s not his first. This is his second 40 point triple double making him the youngest ever to have two 40 point triple doubles.
In addition, Doncic is nearly averaging a 30 point triple double. Triple doubles are highlights and celebrated often when star players achieve them in any NBA game. Doncic is nearly achieving these stats in each game this season!
He is currently averaging 30.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 9.3 assists with a free throw percentage of 80.2%.
All this at the youthful age of 20!
Luka for MVP!
MVP Players are special players which have many attributes that cannot be easily replicated. As a package, the suite of skills on display by Luka Doncic is astounding. Luka is a 6 ft 7 point guard, shoot guard, small forward, power forward. The only position he can’t play is centre, but everything else his is doing.
He controls the game with his basketball IQ, he can drive hard to the basket like LeBron James, he can bully smaller players in the low post, he can throw the audacious assist like Magic Johnson, he has the killer step back three like James Harden.
Luka Doncic has amazingly improved his game and has absorbed the super powers of all his favorite players.
Doncic has all the MVP attributes you could want. Barring any injuries, if he keeps this pace up, there is no denying Doncic for MVP.