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Luka Dončić

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Luka Dončić
Luka Dončić.jpg
Dončić with Real Madrid in 2017
No. 77 – Dallas Mavericks
PositionGuard / Small forward
LeagueNBA
Personal information
Born (1999-02-28) February 28, 1999 (age 22)
Ljubljana, Slovenia
NationalitySlovenian
Listed height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
NBA draft2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall
Selected by the Atlanta Hawks
Playing career2015–present
Career history
2015–2018Real Madrid
2018–presentDallas Mavericks
Career highlights and awards
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Medals
Men's basketball
Representing  Slovenia
EuroBasket
Gold medal – first place 2017 Turkey

Luka Dončić (/ˈdɒnɪ/; Slovene: [ˈlùːka ˈdòːntʃitʃ]; born February 28, 1999) is a Slovenian professional basketball player for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Slovenian national team.

Born in Ljubljana, Dončić shone as a youth player for Union Olimpija before joining the youth academy of Real Madrid. He debuted for their senior team in 2015, at age 16, becoming the youngest in club history. Two years later, he led Madrid to the 2018 EuroLeague title, winning the EuroLeague MVP as well as the Final Four MVP. Dončić was also named the ACB Most Valuable Player and won back-to-back EuroLeague Rising Star and ACB Best Young Player awards. He was selected to the EuroLeague 2010–20 All-Decade Team.

In 2018, Dončić declared for the NBA draft, joining the Dallas Mavericks.[note 1] He was selected unanimously to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and won Rookie of the Year for the 2018–19 season. In his sophomore season, he was selected to his first NBA All-Star game and named to the All-NBA First Team.

A Slovenian international, Dončić made his senior debut for Slovenia in 2016 at only 17 years of age; he would later be named to the All-Tournament Team after helping his country win its first EuroBasket title in 2017.

Early life

Dončić was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia to Mirjam Poterbin, an owner of beauty salons,[3] and Saša Dončić, a basketball coach and former player.[4][5] His mother is Slovenian, and his father is a Slovenian of Serbian descent from Kosovo.[6][7][8] His parents filed for divorce in 2008, with custody and legal guardianship granted to his mother.[5][9]

According to his family, Dončić first touched a basketball when he was seven months old and was frequently playing with a miniature hoop in his room by the age of one.[4][10] He played various sports in his childhood, including football, which he later quit after growing too tall.[11] At age seven, he began playing organized basketball at primary school in Ljubljana.[10][12] His opponents at the time were up to ten years old, as Dončić reflected: "I was always training and playing with older kids who had much more experience than me. Many of them were bigger and faster than me too, so I had to beat them with my brain."[12] He admired Greek basketball player Vassilis Spanoulis from his early teenage years, stating that he was "enchanted" by him.[13] He wore the number 7 at Real Madrid in honor of Spanoulis.[14] Dončić also grew up admiring American basketball player LeBron James.[15]

Youth career

Union Olimpija

When Dončić was eight, his father started playing for his hometown club Union Olimpija, and Olimpija Basketball School coach Grega Brezovec invited Luka to practice with players of his age.[10][16] Dončić was initially expected to practice with players his age, but only 16 minutes into his first training session, the coaching staff moved him to the 11-year-old group. Starting in the next session, he primarily practiced with Olimpija's under-14 team, but due to league rules, he only played for the club's under-12 selection team, coming off the bench against opponents three or four years older than him.[10][12] Despite his exclusion from under-14 games at the time, Dončić often asked to attend practice, even when his coach asked him to stay home.[10]

Representing Olimpija at the under-14 Vasas Intesa Sanpaolo Cup in Budapest in September 2011, Dončić was named the most valuable player (MVP) despite finishing as runners-up to FC Barcelona.[17] In February 2012, he was loaned to Spanish club Real Madrid for the Minicopa Endesa, an under-14 Spanish club competition.[18][19] Dončić, who was among the youngest players on his team, averaged 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 3.3 steals per game to win tournament MVP honors, leading Real Madrid to a second-place finish.[19] In April 2012, he took part in the under-13 Lido di Roma Tournament for Olimpija, finishing as MVP and leading scorer with 34.5 points per game. In the semi-final round of the event against Victoria Fermo, he posted 29 points and 15 rebounds. In a title-clinching win over Lazio, he erupted for 54 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.[10][20]

Real Madrid
Dončić is interviewed after a youth game with Real Madrid in May 2014.

In September 2012, at 13 years of age, Dončić signed a five-year contract with Real Madrid, immediately standing out on the under-16 team with coach Paco Redondo.[12][21] He moved to Madrid, living with football and basketball prospects.[4] In February 2013, Dončić led Real Madrid to a Minicopa Endesa win, averaging 24.5 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 steals per game. In the tournament's final game, he contributed 25 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 steals to defeat FC Barcelona and win MVP honors.[22] In March, Dončić earned MVP accolades of the under-16 Spain Championship, scoring 25 points in a championship game win over the Gran Canaria youth team.[23]

In the 2014–15 season, Dončić mainly played with Real Madrid's under-18 team and reserve team. With the reserve team, he averaged 13.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists, helping them win Group B of the Liga EBA, the amateur fourth-division of Spanish basketball.[24][25] By the end of the season, he earned all-league honorable mention accolades from the basketball website Eurobasket.com.[24] In January 2015, Dončić won the under-18 Ciutat de L'Hospitalet Tournament and was selected to the All-Tournament Team, despite being two years younger than the rest of the team.[26] On January 6, against the youth team of his former club Union Olimpija, he posted a double-double of 13 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals.[27] In May 2015, he also won the under-18 Next Generation Tournament, for which he was selected MVP after helping defeat defending champions Crvena zvezda Belgrade in the final.[28]

Professional career

Real Madrid

Early years (2015–16)

On April 30, 2015, Dončić made his professional debut for Real Madrid in the Liga ACB against Unicaja, making his only three-point attempt in under 2 minutes of playing time.[29] At 16 years, two months, and two days of age, he became the youngest player to ever play for Real Madrid in the ACB and the third-youngest debutant in league history, behind only Ricky Rubio and Ángel Rebolo.[30] He played five games in the 2014–15 ACB season, averaging 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.8 minutes per game.[31]

In the 2015–16 season, Dončić became a regular member of Real Madrid's senior team. He played against the Boston Celtics in an NBA preseason game on October 8, 2015, collecting 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block.[32] On October 16, at age 16, he debuted in the EuroLeague, scoring 2 points in a loss to Khimki.[33] Dončić became the 21st player ever to debut in the EuroLeague before turning 17.[34] On October 18, he recorded 10 points and 4 rebounds in a 94–61 win over Gipuzkoa.[35] On November 29, Dončić posted a season-high 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists against Bilbao.[36] With the performance, he set a new ACB record for most points and highest Performance Index Rating (PIR) in a game for players under age 17.[37] He scored 12 points and grabbed 5 rebounds on January 7, 2016, against CSKA Moscow in the EuroLeague.[38] After a Real Madrid time-out in the second quarter of the game, Dončić made three consecutive three-pointers, recording 9 points in 2 minutes.[39] Through 39 games in the 2015–16 ACB season, he averaged 4.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists.[40] In 12 EuroLeague games, he recorded 3.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2 assists per game.[41]

Rise to prominence (2016–17)

Dončić with Real Madrid in 2017

Dončić made his 2016–17 season debut on September 30, 2016, against Unicaja, recording 6 points and 4 assists in 19 minutes.[42] He collected 3 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in an NBA preseason win on October 3, 2016, over the Oklahoma City Thunder.[43] On December 4, he posted a double-double of 23 points and 11 assists, both season-highs, in a 92–76 win over Montakit Fuenlabrada.[44] The game earned him his first ACB player of the week honors.[45] Dončić scored a team-high 17 points in a EuroLeague victory over Žalgiris Kaunas on December 8, 2016.[46] After recording 16 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals in a 95–72 win over Brose Bamberg on December 22; he was named MVP of the Round in the EuroLeague, becoming the youngest player ever to do so.[47][48] He earned the same honor on January 14, 2017, after posting 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists to help beat Maccabi Tel Aviv.[49] On February 9, Dončić recorded 5 points, 7 rebounds, and 11 assists to defeat UNICS Kazan.[50] He scored a season-high 23 points on February 18, in the Spanish King's Cup versus Baskonia.[51] After scoring 13 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in the 2017 EuroLeague Playoffs against Darüşşafaka on April 26, he shared MVP of the Round accolades with two other players.[52] Two days later, he won the award outright, posting 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists to lead Real Madrid to a EuroLeague Final Four berth.[53] Through 42 ACB games in the season, Dončić averaged 7.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3 assists, and through 35 EuroLeague contests, he averaged 7.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.[40] He was named EuroLeague Rising Star by a unanimous vote and also claimed the ACB Best Young Player Award.[48][54]

MVP season (2017–18)

Dončić assumed a more significant role for Real Madrid entering the 2017–18 season after the team's star player Sergio Llull suffered a torn ACL during EuroBasket 2017.[55] In his season debut on October 1, 2017, he recorded 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in a 94–88 victory over MoraBanc Andorra.[56] On October 12, Dončić scored a career-high 27 points in his first EuroLeague game of the season to help defeat Anadolu Efes.[57] He nearly recorded a triple-double against Valencia in his next game, with 16 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds.[58] On October 24, Dončić was named EuroLeague MVP of the Round after erupting for 27 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.[59] He was named MVP of the Round again two days later, eclipsing his career-best with 28 points in an 87–66 win over Žalgiris Kaunas. Dončić also grabbed 9 rebounds and had 4 assists in the game.[60] At the end of October, he earned EuroLeague MVP of the Month honors, becoming the youngest player to win the award.[61] On December 8, he set a career-high in scoring, with 33 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists against Olympiacos Piraeus.[62] Dončić led Real Madrid to a 79–77 victory over defending EuroLeague champion Fenerbahçe Doğuş on December 28, contributing 20 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds.[63] Following a 24-point outburst versus Movistar Estudiantes on December 31, he was selected as Player of the Round in the ACB.[64] He was later named ACB Player of the Month for December, becoming the award's youngest recipient.[65]

Dončić versus Anadolu Efes in 2017
(left) with Real Madrid; (right) guarded by Josh Adams

On February 9, 2018, Dončić led his team with 27 points in a losing effort to Olympiacos, 80–79.[66] He had another strong performance on February 17, versus Iberostar Tenerife in the 2018 Spanish King's Cup, posting 17 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals.[67][68] On March 30, 2018, Dončić scored 24 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and made a game-winning three-pointer under a second left in regulation to beat Crvena zvezda Belgrade, 82–79.[69] On May 9, he recorded 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in 22 minutes against Real Betis Energía Plus, for the first triple-double in the ACB since the 2006–07 season, seventh in league history.[70] Dončić finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists on May 18, in a 92–83 win over CSKA Moscow in the EuroLeague semi-finals.[71] On May 20, he guided Real Madrid to a EuroLeague finals victory over Fenerbahçe Doğuş.[72] He was subsequently named EuroLeague Final Four MVP after scoring 15 points.[73] Dončić won the EuroLeague MVP award, being its youngest winner, after averaging 16 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game over 33 EuroLeague games and leading the league in PIR.[74] He also repeated as the EuroLeague Rising Star, becoming the third back-to-back winner.[75] Also, Dončić earned the ACB Best Young Player and MVP accolades after helping his team defeat Kirolbet Baskonia in the league finals.[76] On June 29, 2018, he parted ways with Real Madrid.[77][78]

EuroLeague 2010–20 All-Decade Team

In November 2019, Dončić was nominated to the EuroLeague 2010–20 All-Decade Team.[79] In March 2020, he was selected for the 2010–20 All-Decade Team.[80][81]

Dallas Mavericks

Rookie of the Year (2018–19)

Dončić with the Mavericks in 2018

On June 21, 2018, Dončić was selected with the third overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2018 NBA draft. He was then traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the draft rights to Trae Young and a protected future first-round pick in 2019.[82][83] After the draft, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said, "At one point, we thought there might be a slight chance Dončić could fall to us, but a couple of days ago it was pretty clear that there was no way that was going to happen. He's just too good. We get a guy we think is franchise foundation piece."[84] He signed his rookie contract with the Mavericks on July 9, 2018.[85] Dončić did not play at the 2018 NBA Summer League due to his late buyout from Real Madrid.[86] Before the 2018–19 season, ESPN considered him the favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.[87]

Dončić made his regular-season debut on October 17, 2018, recording 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists, in a 121–100 loss to the Phoenix Suns.[88] On October 20, Dončić recorded 26 points and 6 rebounds in a 140–136 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.[89] He became the youngest 20-point scorer in franchise history.[90] On October 29, Dončić posted 31 points and 8 rebounds in a 113–108 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, for his first 30-point game in the NBA.[91] He recorded his first NBA double-double on November 19, with 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 98–88 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.[92] Dončić was named NBA Rookie of the Month in the Western Conference for November 2018.[93] On December 8, Dončić scored 21 points in a 107–104 win over the Houston Rockets. After initial struggles, he produced a personal 11–0 run in the game's final minutes.[94] On December 28, Dončić scored 34 points and became the youngest NBA player to make seven three-pointers in a game.[95] He was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December 2018.[96] On January 21, Dončić recorded his first NBA triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 116–106 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, which made him the second-youngest player in NBA history to accomplish the feat at 19 years and 327 days old, behind only Markelle Fultz.[97][98] On January 27, Dončić scored a season-high 35 points and recorded his second NBA triple-double adding 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 123–120 loss to the Toronto Raptors.[99] He became the first teenager in NBA history with a 30-point triple-double and with multiple triple-doubles.[100][101] Two days later, Dončić was named a confirmed participant for the World Team in the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge.[102] Despite being second in fan voting, behind only LeBron James, and ranked 8th in the total voting score, Dončić wasn't selected for the Western Conference All-Stars in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.[103][104][105][106]

On February 6, Dončić recorded his third triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in a 99–93 win over the Charlotte Hornets, which made him the youngest player in NBA history to record three triple-doubles.[107] He edges Hall of Famer Magic Johnson by 117 days.[108] On February 25, Dončić recorded his fourth triple-double with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 121–112 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.[109] Dončić has four of the five triple-doubles recorded by teenagers in NBA history.[110] Dončić was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for January 2019.[111] His eight triple-doubles ranked fourth on the season behind Russell Westbrook (34), Nikola Jokić (12), and Ben Simmons (10), as well as tied with LeBron James.[112] Dončić became just the fifth player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in his rookie year, joining Oscar Robertson (1960–61), Michael Jordan (1984–85), LeBron James (2003–04), and Tyreke Evans (2009–10).[113] In May, Dončić was selected unanimously to the All-Rookie First Team, and in June, he received the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.[114][115] Dončić became the second European player, after Pau Gasol, who won the award and the sixth overall winner not born in the United States.

First All-Star and playoff appearance (2019–20)

Dončić made his first triple-double of the season on October 25, 2019, posting 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists to help the Mavericks defeat the New Orleans Pelicans, 123–116.[116] In two consecutive games, on November 1–3, he not only recorded two triple-doubles but matched a career-high 15 assists in both games.[117][118] On November 8, Dončić scored a career-high 38 points and recorded his twelfth NBA triple-double by adding 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 106–102 loss to the New York Knicks.[119] Ten days later, in a 117–110 win over the San Antonio Spurs, Dončić recorded a then career-high 42 points and his sixth season triple-double by adding 11 rebounds and 12 assists.[120] He made NBA history in a 142–94 win over the Golden State Warriors on November 20 when he posted 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. He became the youngest player to have 35-point triple-doubles in succession, breaking Oscar Robertson's record, and only the fourth player to record it since the 1983–84 season, joining Michael Jordan, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook.[121][122] In November, Dončić was named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for Week 5 (November 18–24), his first NBA Player of the Week award.[123][124] On December 3, he won his first NBA Player of the Month award when he was named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Month for October and November. He became the youngest Western Conference Player of the Month winner since the league began issuing the award by conferences in the 2001–02 season.[125] In December, he was also named Sports Illustrated 2019 Breakout of the Year.[126] On December 8, 2019, Dončić surpassed the record for the most consecutive games with at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. Michael Jordan previously held the record with 18 straight games in 1989.[127] Dončić made his tenth season triple-double on January 4, 2020, posting 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 123–120 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.[128]

During the 2019–20 season, Dončić was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game as a Western Conference starter.[129] He became the youngest European player to start in an All-Star game.[130] On March 4, Dončić recorded his 22nd career triple-double, passing Jason Kidd for the most in franchise history. He registered 30 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 127–123 overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.[131] Dončić made his 15th season triple-double on July 31, posting 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 153–149 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets.[132] On August 4, Dončić recorded another triple-double with 34 points, 12 assists, and a career-high 20 rebounds in a 114–110 overtime win over the Sacramento Kings. With that, he became the youngest player to record 30+ points, 20+ rebounds, and 10 or more assists.[133] On August 8, Dončić had a career-high 19 assists, which tied LeBron James for an NBA season-high,[134] 36 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 turnovers in a 136–132 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. The game marked his 17th triple-double of the season and clinched his spot as the youngest player to lead the NBA in triple-doubles.[135] On August 15, he was selected to the NBA's All-Seeding Games First Team for his play in the eight seeding games, where he averaged 30.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 9.7 assists per game.[136] Dončić finished as one of the three finalists for the NBA Most Improved Player Award.[137] He finished third behind eventual winner Brandon Ingram and second place Bam Adebayo.[138] On August 17, Dončić made his NBA Playoffs debut, where he scored 42 points (most ever in an NBA playoffs debut) in a 110–118 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.[139] On August 23, he became the youngest player in NBA postseason history with a 40-point triple-double, scoring 43 points in a 135–133 overtime victory over the LA Clippers, while hitting the game-winning three-pointer.[140] With that performance, he became just the second player in NBA history to record at least 43 points, 17 rebounds, and 13 assists in any game, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the other.[141] On September 16, he was named to the All-NBA First Team. He became the first player since Tim Duncan in the 1998–99 season to be selected to an All-NBA First Team in a first or second season.[142] He finished fourth overall in the season’s final MVP results and became the second-youngest player ever to finish in the top five of MVP voting.[143][144]

2020–21 season

On February 6, 2021, Dončić matched his then career-high 42 points, while putting up 11 assists and seven rebounds, in a 134–132 win over the Golden State Warriors.[145] On February 12, Dončić logged a career-high 46 points along with 12 assists, 8 rebounds, a block and a steal in a 143–130 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.[146][147]

National team career

Junior national team

Dončić (front) during EuroBasket 2017

Dončić was set to play at the Division B tournament of the 2014 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship but was forced to withdraw from the tournament with a knee injury. In December 2014, he took part in a friendly tournament in Székesfehérvár, Hungary, averaging 35.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 81 percent on two-pointers and 57 percent on three-pointers.[26]

Senior national team

On September 22, 2016, Dončić announced that he would represent the senior men's Slovenian national team for the rest of his career.[148] He had previously been linked with several other national teams, including Serbia and Spain.[149] His national team roommate became Goran Dragić, who he met at age seven and has been cited as his mentor and friend.[150]

Dončić was a Slovenian squad member for EuroBasket 2017, where his country won its first gold medal after going undefeated (9–0) in the tournament.[151] In Slovenia's 103–97 win over Latvia in the quarterfinals, he scored 27 points and grabbed 9 rebounds.[152] He recorded 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists, in the 92–72 semi-final win over Spain.[153] In the final, Slovenia won by a score of 93–85 over Serbia. He had 8 points and 7 rebounds, before falling out of the game, due to an injury, in the game's third quarter.[154] Dončić was also named to the competition's All-Tournament Team, joining teammate Goran Dragić, who was voted the EuroBasket MVP.[155]

Player profile

"[Dončić is] incredible with the ball for a big guy. He's unbelievable in pick and roll play. His court vision is already unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I saw from a 19/20-year-old. He's a good shooter when he has time and I think he's going to be great for [the Dallas Mavericks] for a long, long time... I could shoot a little bit but I never had the court vision... the savviness that he brings to the game... He's going to pick defenses apart and it's going to be fun to watch."

— Mavericks star and teammate Dirk Nowitzki on Dončić before the 2018–19 NBA season.[156]

Dončić has frequently been described as a "position-less guard" with attributes of a point guard, shooting guard, and small forward.[157][158] Standing 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m) and weighing 230 pounds (104.3 kg),[159] he has been praised for his exceptional size and strength for the guard position.[160] Dallas Mavericks executive Donnie Nelson lauded his "point forward ability,"[161] and sports website The Ringer labeled him a "legitimate point guard with the size of a small-ball power forward."[162]

Since his early years with Real Madrid, Dončić was tabbed as one of Europe's premier talents, with Spanish newspaper Marca giving him the nickname "El Niño Maravilla" (The Wonder Boy).[26] Entering the 2018 NBA draft, he was widely seen as one of the best and most accomplished European prospects of his generation.[163] Slam magazine considered Dončić the "best international prospect ever,"[4] and sports website SB Nation called him "most accomplished NBA prospect in decades."[164] An anonymous NBA veteran scouting executive said that his game was "leap years above anyone" in his draft class.[165]

Dončić is versatile on the offensive end, displaying proficiency in shooting three-pointers, mid-range jump shots, floaters, and shots in the post.[166] His basketball IQ, intangibles, and skills have been considered his primary assets, and he is seen as an elite facilitator, especially on the pick and roll.[165] NBA and EuroLeague coach Ettore Messina called him "phenomenal, especially mentally" for his age.[167] His lack of lateral quickness to stay in front of most NBA point guards and wings has been labeled one of his main flaws.[168][169][170] Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle refuted some of the worries regarding Dončić's athleticism, stating that "for a 19-year-old, he's got a really unusual combination of size, speed, and deceptive quickness."[171] By his sophomore year, Luka’s ability to accelerate off a pick and blow by defenders to get to the basket is seen as one of his strengths.[172] Given the false characterisation of his abilities and his subsequent success in the NBA, some speculate that prejudiced stereotyping might have had a role in his negative pre-draft evaluation.[173][174][175]

Before his draft, basketball journalist and scout, Austin Green, compared Dončić to NBA players Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson.[176] Dončić compared himself to Ben Simmons due to his versatility.[177] In his second season, LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers, when asked about Dončić, stated that "there's a lot of people in him." He likened Dončić’s stepback 3-pointers to James Harden, his passing ability to Larry Bird, and his court vision to LeBron James.[178] NBA analyst, Kendrick Perkins, called him "baby LeBron" due to his overall skill and dominance on the court.[179]

In December 2019, San Antonio Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich, called Dončić's playing style "Magic Johnson-like" because "he sees the floor in that same way."[180] In August 2020, head coach Rick Carlisle compared Dončić’s playmaking and court vision to Larry Bird and Jason Kidd. Said Carlisle of Dončić, he's a "savant-type guy" and is "in that same mold" as the two Hall of Famers.[181] Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo called Dončić "one of the most talented guys I’ve ever played against."[182] During his first career playoff game versus the LA Clippers, TV analyst and former point guard Mark Jackson, reiterated his view of Dončić, calling him "an absolute combination of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird."[183]

Career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

NBA

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2018–19 Dallas 72 72 32.2 .427 .327 .713 7.8 6.0 1.1 .3 21.2
2019–20 Dallas 61 61 33.6 .463 .316 .758 9.4 8.8 1.0 .2 28.8
Career 133 133 32.8 .445 .321 .737 8.5 7.3 1.0 .3 24.7
All-Star 1 1 18.0 .500 .400 1.0 4.0 1.0 .0 8.0

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2020 Dallas 6 6 35.8 .500 .364 .656 9.8 8.7 1.2 .5 31.0
Career 6 6 35.8 .500 .364 .656 9.8 8.7 1.2 .5 31.0

EuroLeague

Denotes season in which Dončić's team won the EuroLeague
Led the league
Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG PIR
2015–16 Real Madrid 12 0 11.1 .407 .313 .882 2.3 2.0 .2 .3 3.5 6.2
2016–17 Real Madrid 35 15 19.9 .433 .371 .844 4.5 4.2 .9 .2 7.8 13.3
2017–18 Real Madrid 33 17 25.9 .451 .329 .816 4.8 4.3 1.1 .3 16.0 21.5
Career 80 32 21.0 .443 .344 .828 4.3 3.9 .9 .3 10.6 15.6

Liga ACB

Cited from ACB.com[184]
Denotes season in which Dončić's team won the Liga ACB
Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG PIR
2014–15 Real Madrid 5 0 4.8 .427 .333 .750 1.2 .0 .0 .0 1.6 1.8
2015–16 Real Madrid 39 0 12.9 .526 .392 .708 2.6 1.7 .4 .3 4.5 5.9
2016–17 Real Madrid 42 11 19.8 .441 .295 .785 4.4 3.0 .6 .3 7.5 11.9
2017–18 Real Madrid 37 21 24.3 .462 .293 .752 5.7 4.7 1.1 .4 12.5 18.4
Career 123 32 18.3 .463 .310 .754 4.1 3.0 .7 .3 7.8 11.6

NBA achievements

Regular season

  • Owns four of the six triple-doubles recorded by teenagers in NBA history.[110]
  • Broke Jason Kidd's Mavericks franchise record (21) of most triple-doubles with 22 in just 122 NBA games.[185]
  • Most triple-doubles in a season (17) before turning 22 years old (2019–20 season). Previously held by Ben Simmons (12 in 2017–18).[186]
  • Youngest player in NBA history to lead the league outright in triple-doubles (21 years, 168 days old). Previously held by Magic Johnson. [187]
  • Twenty straight games with at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, the most since the 1976–77 ABA–NBA merger. Previously held by Michael Jordan with 18 consecutive games.[188]
  • First player since Tim Duncan to be selected to All-NBA First Team in a player’s first or second season.[142]
  • Third-fewest games played to reach 4,000 career points since the ABA–NBA merger (Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal).[140]
  • First player in NBA history to record:
    • a 30-point triple-double (35 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) as a teenager.[189]
    • two triple-doubles before the age of 20.[190]
    • a 35-point triple-double in a game with 26 minutes or fewer played (35 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in 25:30).[191]
    • 30+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 15+ assists in a game with 30 minutes or fewer played (31 points, 12 rebounds, and 15 assists in 30:05).[192]
    • 36+ points, 14+ rebounds, and 19+ assists in a game (regular season or playoffs).[186]
    • multiple 30-point triple-doubles in games with 30 minutes or fewer played.[193]
    • multiple 40-point triple-doubles before turning 21 years old.[194]
    • over 20 career triple-doubles at age 21 or younger.[186]
    • 10 career 35-point triple-doubles before turning 22 years old.[186]
  • Second player in NBA history to:
    • average 21+ points, 7+ rebounds, and 6+ assists per game in a rookie season (Oscar Robertson).[186]
    • record 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in 50 of their first 100 career games (Oscar Robertson).[186]
    • record 2,000+ points, 750+ rebounds, and 500+ assists in their first 100 career games (Oscar Robertson).[186]
    • record 3,000+ points, 1,100+ rebounds, and 950+ assists in the first two seasons of career (Oscar Robertson).[186]
    • record 4,000+ points and 1,000+ assists before turning 22 years old (LeBron James).[195]
    • record at least 35 points and 19 assists in a triple-double (Oscar Robertson).[186]
    • record 10+ 30-point triple-doubles in the first two seasons of career (Oscar Robertson).[186]
    • record 25 career triple-doubles in the first two seasons of career (Oscar Robertson).[186]
  • Third player in NBA history to:
    • average at least 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists in a season (Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook).[186]
    • record at least 12 30-point triple-doubles in a season (Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook).[196]
  • Fourth player in NBA history to record:
  • Fifth player in NBA history to average:
    • at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in a rookie season (Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tyreke Evans).[186]
    • a 30-point triple-double in a ten-game span (Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James).[197][198]
  • Youngest player in NBA history to record:
    • three triple-doubles.[107]
    • 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists in a game.[186]
    • 30 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists in a game (21 years, 158 days old).[186]
    • 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists in a game (21 years, 162 days old). Previously held by Michael Jordan.[186]
    • 35-point triple-doubles in succession, breaking Oscar Robertson's record.[199]

Playoffs

  • NBA record 42 points in an NBA playoff debut.[200]
  • First player in NBA history to record:
    • 43+ points, 17+ rebounds, and 13+ assists in a playoff game.[186]
    • 150+ points, 50+ rebounds, and 50+ assists through their first six career playoff games.[186]
  • Second player in NBA history to record:
    • 70 total points in their first two career playoff games (George Mikan, 75 points in 1949).[201]
    • two triple-doubles in their first four career playoff games (Magic Johnson).[186]
  • Third player in NBA history to record:
    • 40+ points, 15+ rebounds, and 10+ assists in a playoff game (Oscar Robertson, Charles Barkley).[186]
  • Fifth player in NBA history to:
    • have 40+ points and hit a buzzer-beater in a playoff game (Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard).[202]
    • average at least 30 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists in a playoff series (Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James).[203]
  • Youngest player in NBA history to:
    • hit a playoff buzzer-beater at 21 years and 177 days old.[204]
    • record a 40-point triple-double in a playoff game.[186]

Personal life

Dončić can speak four languages: Slovenian, Serbian, English, and Spanish.[205] He learned Spanish after joining Real Madrid.[206]

In 2017, while playing at Real Madrid, Dončić signed a two-year deal with Nike.[207] In December 2019, it was announced that Dončić had signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Air Jordan.[208][209]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Dončić was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 3rd pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, but was acquired by the Mavericks in a draft-day trade.[1][2]

References

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External links