Luka Dončić named Kia NBA Rookie of the Year
He joins Jason Kidd as the only Mavericks ever to garner the award
DALLAS – The NBA announced today during its annual awards show that Mavericks guard/forward Luka Dončić was named the 2018-19 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year.
He joins Jason Kidd as the only Mavericks ever to garner the award (Kidd shared the honor with Detroit’s Grant Hill in 1994-95), and also becomes the first international player who did not attend a U.S. high school or college to receive the honor since Spain’s Pau Gasol won it for Memphis in 2001-02.
Dončić (6-7, 218) averaged a team-high 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and a team-best 6.0 assists per game in 72 games (all starts) for Dallas this past season. He joined Oscar Robertson as the only rookies in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists per contest.
A unanimous All-Rookie First Team selection, Dončić led all first-year players in scoring (21.2 ppg) and minutes (32.2 mpg), while ranking second among rookies in rebounding (7.8 rpg) and assists (6.0 apg).
The former EuroLeague MVP knocked down 168 3-pointers in 2018-19, marking the third-most triples by a rookie in league history. Donovan Mitchell (187 in 2017-18) and Damian Lillard (185 in 2012-13) are the only players to hit more treys in their first NBA season. Dončić also set Maverick rookie records for free throws made (346) and attempted (485).
Dončić finished the season with eight triple-doubles, marking the third-most by a rookie in NBA history. Robertson (26 in 1960-61) and Ben Simmons (12 in 2017-18) are the only rookies to produce more. Dončić also broke Magic Johnson’s record (7) for the most triple-doubles by a player before his 21st birthday (Dončić doesn’t turn 21 until Feb. 28, 2020).
The 6-7 guard/forward swept the Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month Award, winning it all five times it was given out (for October/November, December, January, February and March/April). He became the only Maverick to win the Rookie of the Month Award four-plus times in a season and the first player from either conference to sweep the award since Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015-16.
The 20-year-old Slovenian was one of only four NBA players (and the only rookie) to average at least 20 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists per game in 2018-19. All-Stars LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Nikola Jokić were the others.
Dončić also scored 120 points in clutch time (where the score is within 5 points in the final 5 minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime), which ranked 10th among all players (and first among rookies) this past season. James Harden (192), Kemba Walker (174), Kyrie Irving (159), Kawhi Leonard (152), Paul George (145), Mike Conley (137), Bradley Beal (125), Westbrook (123) and Lillard (122) were the only players with more clutch points in 2018-19 (Conley was the only one of those nine not named an All-Star in 2019).
Dončić was originally selected by Atlanta with the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, before having his draft rights traded to Dallas in exchange for the draft rights to the fifth overall pick Trae Young and a protected 2019 first-round pick.