We don’t know what the future holds, but we absolutely know what we’re seeing right now with Luka Dončić.
It’s pure greatness.
Just breaking down the numbers that the Mavericks’ point guard has produced is mind-boggling – particularly so because he’s just days past his 22nd birthday.
Most recently, Dončić poured in 38 points in Friday’s loss at Portland. It was his 50th game as a Maverick with at least 30 points.
That’s 50. As in a 30-plus point game in 50 out of his career 170 NBA games (before Sunday).
That’s a 30-point showing every 3.4 games. And by the way, he had 30-point game No. 51 on Sunday (by early in the third quarter).
Oh, and only two other players in league history have had 50 games of 30 or more points at a younger age than Dončić. Those would be LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Of course, Dončić is no stranger to heady company.
Last month, he had his 100th game of at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists, five days shy of his 22nd birthday. Only one other person did it at a younger age (James). And only one other player did it in fewer games than Luka, who reached the 100 plateau in 162 games.
Oscar Robertson did it in 115 games.
And, of course, Dončić already is up to No. 11 on the NBA’s all-time triple-double list with 34 of them. He needs 10 more to pass Fat Lever and get in the top 10.
Makes the mind race thinking about just where all this is headed.
Portland Terry Stotts, who has had the good fortune of coaching Dirk Nowitzki as an assistant to Rick Carlisle for four seasons and Damian Lillard in Portland as head coach said it wouldn’t be fair to address what the ceiling is for Dončić.
“I don’t care for the expression ‘What’s the ceiling,’ because I don’t like putting ceilings on anybody,” Stotts said. “But you look at a guy who’s been an MVP candidate in his second year – he can do whatever.
“He can score, he can pass, he makes his teammates better, where he goes from here – he can be an all-time great. There’s no question.
“If he has the longevity of all the other great players, he will go down as one of the all-time great players.”
The future is a mystery. But if things continue to roll for Luka, there may be no limits for him.
Tourney talk: The first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has produced a slew of upsets and even though coach Rick Carlisle has plenty on his plate trying to manufacture Maverick wins, he is a big fan of the tournament.
He said he got a chance to watch some of Gonzaga’s first-round victory, but has had to follow most of the tournament via highlights.
“I watched a little bit and up to that point, there had not been many upsets,” Carlisle said. “Then I guess all hell broke loose. That’s what the NCAA tournament is all about. You talk about a one-and-done tournament, high-pressure, chance-of-a-lifetime . . . it’s not like playing a series. It’s not even like playing a three-game series, which the NBA used to do way back when.
“The one-and-done in a 40-minute game, that’s as pressurized as it gets. But it creates an amazing amount of excitement, enthusiasm.”
Carlisle, who said from what he saw, top-seeded Gonzaga is “a machine” as they continue to mow down opponents, has fond memories of the tournament. He was part of a Virginia team that reached the Final Four in 1984 – the year after Ralph Sampson had gone to the NBA.
“The last day or so, we’ve spent a lot of time preparing for the second game here (in Portland),” Carlisle said. “But March Madness is something else. I was fortunate to be part of it for a couple years in the mid-‘80s. We had a Cinderella team that got on a roll. And when you get something like that going, there’s nothing like it.”
By the way, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. (Michigan), Jalen Brunson (Villanova) and Nate Hinton (Houston) are the Mavericks with their alma maters still alive in the tournament.
A little elbow room: During Friday’s meeting with Portland, center Kristaps Porzingis got called for a pair of offensive fouls when he was holding the ball up high, but swung his arms and clipped a Blazer in the head.
At the time, Carlisle said he would look at the film to see exactly what’s happening with those plays.
On Sunday, Porzingis did a better job of not getting in those situations.
“He can swing them higher and miss a guy’s face,” Carlisle said when asked what Porzingis could do differently. “I think that’s one correction that can be made.
“It’s unlucky that it happened twice the way it did. I think he made both shots. But it’s just an adjustment that needs to be made. It’s a unique play. You don’t see any other 7-3 guys making that kind of forward play that has his kind of skill. He’ll adjust. And we can do our best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”