I keep hearing from folks who should know better that Luka Doncic’s production tapered off after the Dallas Mavericks ventured into that Jan. 31 blockbuster trade with New York when they sent DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews and tto first-round draft picks to the Knicks for, among others, Kristaps Porzingis.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
It was widely viewed that sans Jordan, Smith and Matthews, the impact Doncic had on the Mavs consistently slipped to the point where the race for the NBA Rookie of the Year award had become a dead heat between him and Atlanta’s Trae Young. Again, someone dropped the ball here.
In his 49 games BEFORE the trade, Doncic scored 20 or more points 27 times, grabbed 10 or more rebounds seven times, distributed 10 or more assists four times, and also collected a pair of triple-doubles. But in his 23 games AFTER the trade, Doncic poured in 20 or more points on 16 occasions, snatched 10 or more rebounds 15 times, dispensed 10 or more assists in six games, and found a way to produce six triple-doubles.
Doncic also was the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for every month of the season. That’s a feat that was last accomplished – in either conference — by Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns during the 2015-’16 season.
So, to say that Doncic’s production suffered some significant slippage following the Jan. 31 trade is simply not telling the truth.
Sure, you can say you’re a bigger fan of Young than you are of Doncic. That is your right as a person.
But to ignore what Doncic has accomplished following the trade is not only not right, it totally diminishes your argument.
Overall, Doncic averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and six assists per game. The only other rookie to average at least 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists is Oscar Robertson.
Not Jordan, not Kobe, not Kareem, not Magic, not Bird, not Russell, not LeBron, not Shaq, not Wilt.
It’s an exclusive class of two – the Big 0 and Luka.
Thus, when this year’s Rookie of the Year trophy is handed out on June 24, I fully expect Luka Doncic to be the person walking across the stage in Santa Monica to receive that award. The 6-8 guard was a model of consistency throughout this season.