LUKA GOING OFF: It was a fantastic weekend for burgeoning superstar Luka Doncic, who put up an average of 31.0 points, 13.0 rebounds and 15.0 assists over two games against the Lakers and Cavaliers. Over the past three days, Doncic became the youngest player in league history to drop back-to-back triple-doubles, taking the record from Magic Johnson (1981), as well as the first player since Oscar Robertson (1965) to record back-to-back games with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists.
Thus far for the season, 2018-19’s Rookie of the Year is dropping an absurd 26.7 points, 10.3 boards and 9.5 dimes per contest, shooting 46.4 percent from the floor, 35.2 percent from three and 80.4 percent from the foul stripe. If he’s able to maintain anything resembling this pace for the rest of the season, there’s little doubt the 20-year-old will garner some level of MVP consideration, which would be a ridiculous accomplishment considering his age and lack of NBA experience. Keep in mind: The previous youngest MVP in league history, Derrick Rose, was 22 when he won the award.
Doncic’s ridiculous play through six contests hasn’t gone unnoticed by the NBA fraternity, either. Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, for one, tweeted how impressed he is while Trae Young, a fellow 2018 draftee who Doncic was traded for on draft night, tweeted his own support.
💵 Further proof that players performing well on rookie deals are massive bargains: Luka Doncic is the 74th highest-paid guard this season.
LAKERS ROLLING: The Lakers are in quite the groove. After beating the Mavericks in overtime on Friday night 119-110 (albeit, thanks to a dubious missed call at the end of regulation), they took down the Spurs yesterday 103-96, giving them a 5-1 record to begin the year, their best start since 2010-11. The victory on Sunday also gave Los Angeles a five-game win streak; if they win one more game in a row, it’ll be their longest win streak also since 2010-11, which was the last time the Lakers really had legitimate title expectations.
LeBron James, for his part, continues to look ageless, averaging 25.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 11.2 assists nightly on 47.4 percent shooting, while Anthony Davis is contributing 28.5 points, 11.5 boards and 3.0 rejections per contest. With those two playing at that level, the Lakers are going to be awfully hard to stop this season.
14-YEAR VET HANGS THEM UP: Jose Manuel Calderon, a 14-year NBA veteran and three-time Olympic participant, is retiring from on-the-floor action to take a job with the NBA Players Association as a special assistant to the union’s executive director, Michele Roberts. It’s a new position that will last for one season and become a recurring role for former players seeing to adjust to life after basketball.
When we spoke to Calderon back in mid-September, he was still trying to plot out his next move. It’s good to know he has found his next landing spot.
LAST ONE STANDING: Even so, L.A. does have one blemish on their record, as do 28 other teams in the league. The only team without a loss thus far? The Sixers are 5-0 who boast an average margin of victory of nine points. The question is: Does it really matter? We decided to go through the history books to find out how the NBA’s last-unbeaten teams have fared in the playoffs. As it turns out, only three last-unbeaten teams have won championships in league history, though 22 of the 28 we evaluated did win at least one playoff series. Chances are: Philadelphia will be a tough out come postseason time.
ROCKETS GROUNDED: The Rockets fell to the Miami Heat on Sunday by a final score of 129-100. The 29-point defeat may sound bad enough, but what’s even worse is the fact that Houston was pretty much dead on arrival. Through one quarter, the Rockets were down by a shocking 46-14 scoreline, the third-highest post-first-quarter deficit (32 points) in league history, and the highest since 1987. Head coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t panicking, but there’s no denying the Russ/Harden era in Houston is off to a rough start.
STAR APPROACHING RETURN? Clippers head coach Doc Rivers told collected media on Sunday that Paul George has been doing more live work recently, and might be able to start doing some 5-on-5 stuff at some point this upcoming week.
BREAKOUT SZN: This year, through six contests, Malcolm Brogdon is putting up 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 9.7 assists per game. We broke down his game to decipher how he’s been able to be so productive while maintaining a high level of efficiency despite a career-best usage rate.
OLYMPIC CURRY: Stephen Curry is projected to be out at least three months, but if the Warriors continue to lose games the way there are, there’s a chance we won’t see Curry again until next summer, when he suits up for Team USA in the 2020 Olympics.
STARTING POINT GUARD DOWN: Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson has a stress reaction in his lower back, one that will keep him out for at least a month.
PLAYER STANDS BY COACH: The Knicks are off to a brutal start to the season, winning just one of their first seven games and sitting third-to-last in net rating. Regardless, although there may be fan frustration building with head coach David Fizdale, Marcus Morris is standing by his coach.
😬 For the record, David Fizdale has a 20.22 percent winning record with the Knicks so far.
TEMPLE FOR PRESIDENT? CBS Sports published an insightful piece on Nets guard Garrett Temple, who is apparently beloved around the Association. Bradley Beal called him the best teammate he’s ever.
UNDRAFTED BUT PAID: Good news for college and overseas players who go undrafted — you can still have a long, fruitful NBA career and you can still (perhaps more importantly?) make a whole lot of money. We took a look at the highest-paid undrafted players in league history.
TOUCHING STORY: ESPN’s Eric Woodyard wrote a beautiful piece about Bulls rookie point guard Coby White and how his late father, Donald White, who passed away just over two years ago, continues to guide him through his journey.
RAP LEGEND ANNOUNCING: The Lakers had Snoop Dogg handle some play-by-play duties during their broadcast on Sunday. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds.
FORMER PLAYER, NOW INVESTOR: Spurs cult legend Matt Bonner is now an investor, a hobby he is pursuing along with his 8-year-old daughter.
TRADE RUMOR RANKINGS
These are the players with the most mentions in our trade rumors page the last seven days:
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