At the start of the 2020-21 season, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks struggled to get off the runway as they had hoped. Nevertheless, with the campaign progressing into a busy time of the year, both Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks have turned a corner. They are looking primed to end their season on a high note.
Luka Doncic, in particular, has elevated his game of late, helping his side ascend in a stacked Western Conference powered by his MVP-caliber performances.
As a result, Doncic's name has surfaced as one of the top candidates for the 2020-21 NBA MVP award.
3 reasons why Luka Doncic could win the 2020-21 NBA MVP award
The ongoing season has been full of twists and turns, with several marquee names falling in and out of rotation due to Covid-19 protocols and injuries. The two leading candidates for the 2020-21 NBA MVP award in LeBron James and Joel Embiid have missed plenty of games.
The door is now open for Luka Doncic to swoop in and make a play to receive his first MVP title this year.
On that note, we look at three reasons why Luka Doncic could win the 2020-21 NBA MVP award in only his third year in the league.
#1 Team record improving with each passing month
The Dallas Mavericks had an abysmal 8-13 record this season in early February. Rick Carlisle's side have marked a significant improvement since then, with his team climbing to seventh spot in the Western Conference with a 28-21 record behind them.
Luka Doncic helped guide his side to an 8-4 record at the end of February while going 8-2 in March, making his case for the NBA MVP award ever stronger.
As things stand now, the Dallas Mavericks are only two games behind the Portland Trail Blazers (sixth) and 2.5 games behind the reigning NBA champs, the LA Lakers (fifth).
The Mavericks are on a five-game winning streak, and as one can imagine, Luka Doncic had the most vital role in their resurgence. Playing against the West-leading Utah Jazz in their previous matchup, Luka shone brightly. He tallied a near triple-double outing with 31 points to go along with nine boards and eight assists in 36 minutes from the floor.
After witnessing their share of ups and downs, the Dallas Mavericks have finally caught a break, with the team facing a relatively easy schedule in April.
If Luka Doncic and his Mavs continue their resurgence in the West, fans can expect the two-time All-Star to find his way into the NBA MVP conversation once again.
#2 Impressive MVP caliber performances in recent weeks
Luka Doncic has put the league on notice with his stellar performances of late. The 22-year-old registered an outstanding 37 points in a win against the Trail Blazers over a week ago. In that game, Doncic made 13 of 19 shots from the field while drilling a career-best eight 3-pointers in just nine attempts on the night.
Playing against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, Doncic produced a 36-point outing on an efficient 11 of 15 shooting display from the floor as the Mavericks held on for a 113-108 victory.
More impressive is Doncic finishing off proceedings by shooting a career-best 73.3% from the floor, which comprised seven 3-pointers (one shy of his career-best).
The highlight of Luka Doncic's brilliant performances can be summed up with some noteworthy stats from last month. Doncic became the fifth player in league history (since the 3-point era) to average at least 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while shooting 50% from the field and 40% from the three-point line.
It is safe to say that the 2018-19 Rookie of the Year is playing the game at an elite level. Doncic should be recognized as a top candidate for the NBA MVP award this season.
#3 Doncic's ability to carry the team on his back
For most parts of the campaign, fans have witnessed Luka Doncic put the Dallas Mavericks on his shoulders. Luka's European compatriot Kristaps Porzingis has missed a good chunk of the Mavs' games. Hence, Doncic has had to shoulder the responsibility of guiding his side to victory on most nights.
KP has appeared in only 31 games out of 49 outings for the Dallas Mavericks thus far this season. He has averaged 20.2 points on 47.4% shooting from the field while connecting with 35.9% shooting accuracy from the three-point line.
There is no denying that Porzingis' contributions have played a role in the Mavericks' success. It can also be argued that the Mavericks could have been top contenders if Porzingis had been more durable in this campaign.
On the flip side, KP's absence only makes Luka's case for the NBA MVP award stronger. Unlike Porzingiz, Luka has suited up for 44 games this season. The latter is averaging a stellar 28.6 points on a 48.6% shooting display from the field, and an ever-improving 37.6% shooting accuracy beyond the arc.
Past his scoring repertoire, Luka has also dished out 8.8 assists while collecting 8.1 rebounds per contest.
As things stand now, Luka is fifth on the list for most points per game and sixth in most assists per game league-wide. His overall numbers are astounding for a young talent playing in his third year in the league. The NBA MVP award is unquestionably the ceiling for the Slovenian sensation.