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5 reasons why Luka Doncic will become the face of the NBA over the next decade

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Akhil Khatri

Luka Doncic: The next big thing

Luka Doncic has been drawing a lot of attention in the NBA as he starts his third NBA season. In 2019-20, we saw him break a lot of records, putting his name up alongside the legends of the game. Doing that was no easy feat. Luka Doncic has already been compared to LeBron James and James Harden for certain elements in his game. He has LeBron's court vision, finding players in open pockets to make his teammates look better. And he has Harden's dribbling ability, shaking any and every defender with ease. If we go a step further, he can also be compared to Steph Curry for his quick release and 3-point shooting percentage.

Luka Doncic is an athlete who plays fast but thinks methodically, and that works in his favor, giving him an edge as he can change his movement based on the defender's reaction. While this element of LeBron's game has evolved through the years, Doncic came into the league already possessing this unique ability.

Just 21, Luka Doncic has staked his claim of being the youngest to add his name to a long list of statistical feats. For example, nobody else in NBA history has ever had a 40-plus-point playoff triple-double to include drilling a winning buzzer-beater, as Luka Doncic did to even the series between his underdog Dallas Mavericks and the LA Clippers.

Here are 5 reasons why Luka Doncic will be the face of the NBA over the next decade.

No. 5 - No young player in history compares to Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic in his second year has put up better numbers than the likes of LeBron James, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Except for being one rebound short of Larry Bird, his averages are better than all of their numbers from their second years. In his sophomore season, he also surpassed Magic Johnson to become the youngest player with most triple-doubles (17) in a season.

No. 4 - Skill over athleticism and explosiveness

When it comes to Luka’s longevity, a concern NBA critics have is that he is not a very athletic and explosive player. But Steph Curry isn’t very explosive either. Instead, Curry has dominated the league for more than three years with just his skill, 3-point shooting ability and court vision. Luka Doncic is doing all that at the age of 21 as he builds on the experience of having played professional European basketball as a teen.

No. 3 - He's a 6-foot-7 point guard who runs offense at his pace

Luka Doncic’s game is an amalgamation of LeBron James, Larry Bird and James Harden. This point guard runs the game at his own pace, shaking any defender and creating his own plays. He does all of this while making his teammates look better, finding them for open shots and giving them the confidence they need for Mavericks to make a strong statement. If he is able to carry this team and get a few additions in supporting roles along the way, the Mavericks could be one of the top teams in the coming years.

No. 2 - Luka Doncic's numbers are not empty stats

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Usually top rookies get drafted by the lower-tier teams and their efforts may or may not help the team climb the league instantly. Luka Doncic has constantly been putting up record numbers, and these stats have helped Mavericks win games. He is the fuel that powers the team and could have arguably upset the Clippers in the first round of the Bubble Playoffs if he had a healthy Kristap Porzingis.

No. 1 - Awards: All-Star starter, first team all-NBA and fourth in MVP votes

After an exceptional first season that saw Luka Doncic earn Kia Rookie of the Year honors in 2018-19, Luka Doncic reaped All-NBA First Team accolades as a 21-year-old in 2019-20. The Slovenian became the youngest European-born player to start an All-Star Game when he suited up for Team LeBron at All-Star 2020 in Chicago. Apart from that, Luka Doncic finished fourth in MVP votes – ahead of James Harden – and also finished third in votes for Most Improved Player in the 2019-20 season.

Summing Up

LeBron James still sits on the NBA throne, but won’t be there for very long. The only other person who is likely to take the throne is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has also made quite an impact on the league ever since he entered. Luka Doncic arrived in the NBA as the most-hyped European prospect ever, and he has exceeded expectations so far with the Dallas Mavericks.

After entering the league as an unknown, Giannis Antetokounmpo has won two MVP honors and has carried his team to the top of the East in two consecutive seasons.

Currently, the odds favor Luka Doncic to be the 2020-21 MVP. He sits at a +325 as the first option, with Giannis a close second at +500. Curry is at +800, followed by LeBron and Anthony Davis at +900. Other players being considered for the MVP race include Damien Lillard, Harden and Kevin Durant at +1200, followed by Kawhi Leonard and Nikola Jokic at +1600 (Source: betonline.ag). The difference in these numbers speak volumes about the expectations from Luka Doncic in the 2020-21 season. Now the question is, who will LeBron James pass the torch to? Have your say below:

Edited by JEFF OLSEN

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