NBA All-Star Game 2020: 3 Reasons why Luka Doncic deserves to be a team captain this year
As per the current rules concerning the NBA All-Star Game, the players who get the highest vote count from each respective conference are selected as team captains and are then made to draft their own teams from the pool of selected starters and reserves.
When the first fan voting returns for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game were announced on 2nd January, 2020, not only was Luka Doncic leading the Western Conference, he even managed to beat Giannis Antetokounmpo to be the player with the most votes in the league at that point of time.
Now the second returns have been announced and Doncic has been replaced by LeBron James at the perch of the votes table. The vote count is likely to be more in the favor of LeBron by the time fan-voting concludes. However, Luka Doncic deserves to be an All-Star team captain anyway and here's why.
#3 His monumental growth and impact on the league
Luka Doncic had already vowed the NBA universe with his dexterity during his rookie season last term. No one expected him to average over 20 points a game in his first year in the league but he did just that, scooping up the Rookie of the Year award in the process.
Come the sophomore season, the Slovenian simply stepped on the gas even harder. He's averaging a near triple-double for the season but it's not just his stats that have gone up. The Dallas Mavericks have seen a sharp upturn in their fortunes which has coincided with Luka's spurting growth.
The confidence that Doncic plays with has surely rubbed off on his peers who have stepped up in his absence, especially during that road trip against Eastern Conference contenders when the 20-year-old was out with injury. Despite a recent slowdown, the Mavs are still comfortably placed in the sixth seed in the West. Doncic is making his teammates better and that's exactly what a captain is supposed to do anyway right?
#2 Doncic is arguably the most well-rounded player in the West already
Averaging 29.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.1 rebounds per game so far this season, there's not a lot that Doncic doesn't bring to the table. He can stretch the floor, drive to the rim, is a brilliant floor general, and is also handy on the boards.
Yes, the Slovenian is the most athletic player out there and neither does he play the toughest defense. However, his play is still good enough to outclass most stalwarts in the Western Conference. For what it's worth, he's the only sophomore since Oscar Robertson (who averaged a triple-double during the 1961-62 season) to record 29 ppg, 9 apg, and 9 rpg.
It's not just the tangibles that he can offer either. Doncic is one of the more charismatic players in the league too. He oozes confidence and inspires the same from his teammates who know that if things start to go south, the Slovenian will be there to rescue them.
#1 Passing of the baton
While it's rather unfair to ignore Giannis Antetokounmpo in this regard, it looks more and more likely with each passing day that Doncic is likely to succeed LeBron as the best player in the league for the years to come.
Given his quality and maturity on the court, we tend to forget that Luka is still a 20-year-old. Just from the view of individual skills, he is at the very least on par with LeBron if not better. His development just within one and a half years of joining the league has been monumental and unprecedented. It's imperative that his production will only improve next year and that the Mavs would be expected to contend as well.
The Los Angeles Lakers led by LeBron James are ruling the roost in the Western Conference right now and a rivalry is likely to ensue between them and Dallas. There's a high chance that when it happens, Doncic might ever overthrow King James.
Even today, it's LeBron who's Luka's main competitor in the Western Conference as far as fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game is concerned. Hence, Doncic becoming the captain over LeBron would set down the marker for the eventual passing of the torch moment in the NBA, whenever it may come to pass.
Modified 13 Jan 2020, 04:29 IST