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Never give up! Never surrender!
Those words are his slogan. And what a slogan it is. Strong and powerful as his performance and attitude towards the game of basketball. The statement: ‘’He is playing out of his world’’ said by great Dirk Nowitzki, are a reality. Can you already guess his name? No? Another hint coming from the words of an icon Lebron James: ‘’He is one bad MOFO’’. Yes, it is true, we are talking about a 6 ft 7 in 2018 round one 3rd pick in the NBA Luka Dončić himself.
Have you ever had an opportunity to read and learn more about #77 phenomena from Slovenia? Here it goes in short.
Born in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia on the 28th of February 1999 spent his youth playing for Union Olimpija before heading to Spain to the youth academy of Real Madrid. In 2015 he made a debut for the first team aged 16 and so becoming the youngest in club history. Two years later, he already led Madrid to the EuroLeague title in 2018, winning the MVP of the season as well as the final four MVP. Imagine being a lead player at the age of 18 and by that fact also collecting personal rewards. He was also named the ABC MVP (Spanish league) and won back-to-back EuroLeague Rising Star reward and ABC Best young player awards. He was selected to the EuroLeague 2010–20 All-Decade Team. Amazing for a youngster.
Dončić made his senior debut for Slovenia National team in 2016 at only 17 years of age. And was already named in the best five All-Tournament team in 2017 EuroBasket the after helping his country win its first title working with his national team mentor Goran ‘’the Dragon’’ Dragić as its captain.
As mentioned in 2018, Dončić was drafted to NBA joining the Dallas Mavericks (picked by Atlanta Hawks but traded to Dallas – we can still Atlanta fans complaining and how true they are). He was selected unanimously to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and won Rookie of the Year for the 2018–19 season. In his rookie season, he was selected to his first NBA All-Star game and named to the All-NBA First Team. And here we can mention that for him only the sky is the limit.
His profile as a player is versatile. He was frequently described as a "position-less guard" with attributes of a point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. Standing 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m) and weighing 230 pounds (104.3 kg), he has been praised for his exceptional size and strength for the guard position. Sports website The Ringer labeled him a "legitimate point guard with the size of a small-ball power forward.
Since his early years with Real Madrid, he was marked as one of Europe's premier talents, with Spanish newspaper Marca giving him the nickname "El Niño Maravilla" (The Wonder Boy). Entering the 2018 NBA draft, he was seen as one of the best and most accomplished European prospects of his generation by majority. Slam magazine considered him the "best international prospect ever and sports website SB Nation named him "most accomplished NBA prospect in decades. An anonymous NBA veteran said that his game was "leap years above anyone" in his draft class. And he still has both feet on the ground and delivers as promised. He shoots, passes, jumps and steals. Reality is that we can count same types of players thru out the NBA or international basketball history, using fingers on only one of the arms.
He is versatile on the offensive end, displaying proficiency in shooting three-pointers, mid-range jump shots, floaters, and shots in the post. His basketball IQ, is on a high level and his skills are considered as his primary assets and he is seen as an elite facilitator, especially on the pick and roll. NBA and EuroLeague coach Ettore Messina called him "phenomenal, especially mentally" for his age. And still some flaws are mentioned regarding his games (there is no perfection on this planet). His lack of lateral quickness to stay in front of most NBA point guards and wings has been labeled one of his main flaws. Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle disputed some of the worries regarding his athleticism, stating that "for a 19-year-old, he's got a really unusual combination of size, speed, and deceptive quickness." During his rookie year, his ability to accelerate off a pick and blow by defenders to get to the basket is seen as one of his strengths. Given the false characterization 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. But he is strong going both ways as a person and as a player in the same manner.
Before his draft, basketball journalist and scout, Austin Green, compared him to NBA players Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson as on the other side he compared himself to Ben Simmons due to his versatility. In his second season, LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers stated that "there's a lot of people in him." He likened his step back 3-pointers to James Harden, his passing ability to Larry Bird, and his court vision to LeBron James. All of them positioned NBA as THE league, so comparing him with them is as standing on top of the highest mountain top. NBA analyst, Kendrick Perkins, called him "baby LeBron" due to his overall skill and dominance on the court.
In December 2019 Gregg Popovich, called his playing style "Magic Johnson-like" because "he sees the floor in that same way. In August 2020, head coach Rick Carlisle compared his playmaking and court vision to Larry Bird and Jason Kidd. He said he's a "savant-type guy" and is "in that same mold" as the two Hall of Famers. Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo called him "one of the most talented guys I’ve ever played against." During his first career playoff game versus the LA Clippers, TV analyst and former point guard Mark Jackson, reiterated his view of him calling him "an absolute combination of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird."
Is there anything more to add? He is a rising star with the potential of becoming the greatest and standing in the same line as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Lebron James and many others. He is the ONE to look after. But as an individual it is impossible to make more than personal records. So the TEAM is still important. And Dallas is making one around Luka Dončić.
For more info/stats/etc. please refer to https://www.mavs.com/team/roster/luka-doncic/.
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