Dallas Maverick’s Newest Centrepiece
Full Name: Luka Doncic
Birthdate: February 28, 1999
Place of Birth: Slovenia
Basketball Team (Currently): Dallas Mavericks
Position: Point Guard
Playing Years: 2015 to present
Luka Doncic must have known that he was destined for greatness when he first touched a basketball when he was just 7 months old. He actually played a variety of sports, which included football, but he later quit after growing too tall. At 7 years old, he started playing organized basketball at primary school in Ljubljana.
At the age of eight, Luka’s father, who was a former professional basketball player, joined Slovenian club Union Olimpija and the club’s coach invited Luka to train with players of his age. However, a few minutes into his first basketball session, the coaching staff progressed him up to the 11-year old bracket. He then practice with the club’s under-14 team but because of league rules, he was only allowed to play for the club’s under-12 team while also competing against opponents three or four years older than he is. Despite his prohibition in the under-14, he often asked to attend trainings even though his coach asked him to stay at home.
In 2011, Doncic was awarded as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) during the Under-14 Vasas Intesa Sanpaolo Cup despite his team ending the league as runners-up against FC Barcelona. In 2012, he was loaned to Spanish club Real Madrid for the Minicopa Endesa which is an under-14 Spanish club tournament. He was among the players who led Real Madrid to a second-place finish with an average of 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.3 steal per game and once again finished the competition as the MVP.
After his loan spell at Real Madrid, he officially signed a five-year contract in September 2012 and instantly standing out on the Under-16 team. The following year, Doncic led Real Madrid to a Minicopa Endesa victory with 24.5 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 6 steals per game. During the final match of the competition, he was able to contribute 25 points, 16 rebounds and 5 steals to dominate the game against FC Barcelona. He won another MVP honours for his performance in the league.
In season 2014-15, he played mostly for Real Madrid’s Under-18 and reserve team, scoring an average of 13.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists for the latter while also helping them come out victorious in the Group B of the Liga EBA, an amateur 4th division of Spanish basketball. In January, he was selected to be part of the All-Tournament Team even though he was a few years younger than the rest of the team. In the same month, he played against the youth team of his former club Union Olimpija which he averaged a double-double performance of 13 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. By the end of the season, he managed to win the under-18 Next Generation tournament and was selected as the MVP after securing the win against defending champs Crvena Zvezda Belgrade in the finals
Professional Basketball Career:
Real Madrid (2015-2018)
The next season, Luka Doncic made his professional debut for Real Madrid in the Liga ACB against Unicaja. He then went on to become the youngest player to ever play for the club in the ACB and the third-youngest in the league behind Ricky Rubio and Angel Rebolo. Doncic became a regular player of Real’s senior team, playing against the Boston Celtics in an NBA preseason match and bagging 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block.
In the 2016-17 campaign, he managed to collect a total of 3 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in another NBA preseason victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In December, he scored a team-high 17 points during the EuroLeague and went on to collect 16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in a 95-72 win against Brose Bamberg in the same month. He was awarded the MVP of the round, becoming the youngest player to do so in the competition. By the end of the season, he was named as EuroLeague Rising Star and ACB Best Young Player.
The youngster assumed a greater role for the club when the 2017-18 season began since the team’s key player Sergio Llull torned his ACL during the EuroBasket 2017. In Doncic’s season debut, he amassed a total of 8 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in a 94-88 success against MoraBanc Andorra. In October, he was awarded the EuroLeague MVP of the Round after collecting a massive 27 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. He was once again named as the MVP of the round just two days later after bagging an even better record of 28 points, his career-best of the season.
By December, he became the youngest recipient of ACP Player of the Month. He ended his last season with Real Madrid, collecting numerous MVP awards for his outstanding performance throughout the season.
Dallas Mavericks (2018 to present)
In June 2018, Luka Doncic was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2018 NBA draft. He was imported to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the drafting rights to Trae Young and a guaranteed future first round selection in 2019. Doncic went on to sign his rookie contract with the Mavs in July but he wasn’t able to play at the 2018 NBA Summer League because of his late buyout from Real. Before the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, he was actually considered by ESPN to be the favourite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award. He made his preseason debut for Mavericks in September, scoring 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks against the Beijing Ducks.
Doncic made his regular season debut in October, hoarding an impressive 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists before eventually bowing down to the Phoenix Suns. A few days later, he recorded a massive 26 points and 6 rebounds in a close 140-136 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves while also becoming the youngest 20-point scorer in franchise history. A few days after making history, he accumulated another massive 31 points and 8 rebounds as Dallas dominated the game against San Antonio Spurs.
By the end of November, he was awarded the NBA Rookie of the Month in the Western Conference. Just recently, Luka Doncic led the Dallas Mavericks with a team-high 21 points including a personal 11-0 run to defeat the Houston Rockets. At 19 years and just 22 games into his NBA career, Luka Doncic went into full domination and explosively took total control of the game just as he became one of the players worth watching out for in the NBA league.
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