Luka Doncic is Still the Front Runner for NBA Rookie of the Year
Last night Dallas Mavericks first-year guard/small forward Luka Doncic tied a rookie record for triple-doubles with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the team's 121-112 loss to Los Angeles Clippers at the STAPLES Center. At the spry age of just 20 years old, Doncic has arguably been the best and definitely the brightest young star in the NBA this season. Since being drafted with the third overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks then traded to Dallas, the European star born in Slovenia has been silencing his critics and proving all his doubters wrong. He nearly joined elite company when he came up just short of making the All-Star team and would’ve become just the 46th rookie in league history to receive such a rare distinction and would have been the first to do so since Clippers forward Blake Griffin did so as a member of Clippers in 2011. Doncic has averaged 20.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 5.7 assists this season as he has been an integral piece of a Mavericks team that is still jockeying for playoff contention amidst some steep competition in a loaded Western Conference. The reason that many believe he is running away with the award for the top rookie is that he not only has provided some of the best highlight reel moments and plays of the season so far, but his consistently stellar has also directly translated to wins for his team. He has played his best and had his biggest performance outputs of the season in the team’s biggest wins unlike his fellow candidates that are up for the award such as first overall Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns, Marvin Bagley III of the Sacramento Kings and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, who Luka was traded for shortly after being drafted. While Ayton is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds and Young has been a nice boost for the Hawks, neither are impacting their team’s overall success in the win and loss columns like Doncic. Both of his fellow rookies’ teams are in the bottom tier of their respective conference standings. Bagley has come on strong as of late and could work himself into strong consideration for the top rookie recognition if the Kings continue to climb the Western standings and they are even currently three spots ahead of the Mavs. The official announcement won’t come until later this summer, so the Luka has some more time distance himself and cements his status as the best rookie in the league.