Based on his early play, there’s a good chance Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic lands his first All-Star nod and is mentioned as a potential MVP candidate once the season is coming to an end.
Thus far in 2019-20, Doncic is putting up spectacular numbers, averaging 28.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 1.1 steals per night, shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and 83.9 percent from the foul stripe. The only area the Slovenian star hasn’t seen a major leap in is three-point percentage, where he’s sinking a relatively mediocre 31.9 percent of his looks (compared to 32.7 percent last year).
Even so, Doncic has seen a massive leap in various advanced metrics in 2019-20, including PER (19.6 to 27.4 this season), Win Shares per 48 Minutes (0.101 to 0.219) and Box Plus/Minus (4.1 to 10.0).
For Doncic to be performing at this level at 20 years old is just absurd, and the fact that his numbers aren’t just empty marks, and are actually leading to team success for the Dallas Mavericks, who sit at 5-3 and sixth in the West through eight games, speaks highly of Doncic’s potential lasting power in this year’s MVP race.
If Doncic does maintain this insanely high level of play and winds up receiving MVP votes following the season, he’ll become the fifth-youngest player in league history to receive such consideration for the prestigious award. (We’re judging this by players’ ages at the end of the MVP-vote seasons, hence why we have Doncic at 21 years and 46 days old here.)
As is often the case, the player who actually owns the record – in this case, youngest ever receive MVP votes – is Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, who actually appears twice in the Top 5. (James would go on to win the award for the first time in 2009.)
Rounding out the Top 5 – were Doncic to actually accomplish this impressive feat, that is – are Carmelo Anthony and Isiah Thomas, two all-time talents in their own right.
Now, we’re probably placing unfair expectations on Doncic. But it’s hard not to considering what a special talent he is, one that continues to improve at an alarming rate. So even if it doesn’t happen this year, the do-everything wing looks like a future MVP candidate, there’s no denying that.
You can follow Frank Urbina on Twitter: @FrankUrbina_.