With one-tenth of the NBA season gone, the Mavericks are in a very lucky situation.
Who else gets to watch history up close and on a nightly basis?
Luka Dončić has amassed eight 30-point games in eight tries. He’s added four games in which he’s had 10 or more assists and three in which he’s had 10 or more rebounds.
Essentially, he’s done things that nobody has done before. To be compared with Wilt Chamberlain – the only other player who has had eight games (or more) to start a season with 30-plus points.
Not Kobe. Not Michael. Not LeBron. Nobody else.
Now, scoring 30 or more in the first eight games requires a certain set of circumstances. If the player’s team has a bunch of blowouts, one way or the other, the chances of getting enough minutes to pile up 30 points diminishes.
Also, factors like foul trouble or minor injury or the inevitable awful shooting night can sabotage anybody for a single game.
But none of that has stopped Dončić.
“Luka’s playing chess at a very high level,” coach Jason Kidd said, using the thinking-man’s game as an analogy for what Luka is doing to opponents. “That’s what he does. He has seen everything, he enjoys the defense that can be changed on the fly to help with his creativity. It makes him special.”
Social media has had a field day with the videos. Against Toronto last week, the Raptors threw nearly a dozen different defensive schemes at Luka. Yet, they could not slow him down.
When he hit the ridiculous midrange jumper near the end of the third quarter after going through his legs three times, faking a few more times, twisting and spinning for a one-legged fadeaway, he fell to the floor and gave his version of imaginary six-shooters into the air.
And that wasn’t even his own personal highlight.
“The best play was my hook shot for sure,” he said. “I laughed about that one.”
That came when the shot clock was winding down and he had to get off a shot. He went with the right-handed hook and afterward said “I like my coffee with a little Kareem.” OK, so Luka’s skyhook was a little more ground-bound than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s.
But it went in. And then that smile that we’ve come to know and love went from ear to ear.
“I like the baby hook that he had,” Kidd said. “That’s better than the one-leggers, because we haven’t really seen that one. But that was beautiful, and naturally only he can make it look so easy. He’s in a different place right now, which is cool to watch.”
And it’s yet another reason why we should appreciate this time.
History simply doesn’t come along very often.
Inevitably, there will come a time when Luka doesn’t reach the 30-point plateau. Maybe it comes Monday against Brooklyn or on the upcoming road trip at Orlando or Washington.
But it’s beginning to look like the only way that will happen is if some outside influences short-circuit his efforts.
Or, if the Mavericks simply don’t need 30 points out of him.
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