00:4701:24Luka Doncic is just 19, a fact the ease with which he’s acclimated to the NBA game makes especially frightening for opponents. It goes without saying that the Dallas Mavericks’ sensation will fare even better in the future than he has as a rookie.
Coach Rick Carlisle has a first-row seat to Doncic’s growth on a nightly basis, and believes he’s only just begun growing comfortable with the notion of being the opposition’s top target.
“I think the bottom line is Luka’s getting a real taste of what the NBA is about,” Carlisle said, per Dwain Price of the Forth-Worth Star Telegram, “and how quickly things can change and how challenging it is every night on that court because there’s great players coming at him and coming at us.”
Doncic, an overwhelming Rookie of the Year favorite despite the impressive numbers being put up by Phoenix Suns big man DeAndre Ayton, is averaging 20.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game this season – a line right on par with that of a rookie-year LeBron James. The most common refrain from those who doubted the Slovenian star during the pre-draft process was that he lacked the ceiling of other top prospects, a notion that caused him to fall to fifth on draft night. But Doncic has made steady improvement from month to month this season, and figures to take even greater strides after continuing to work on his body.
Clearly, Doncic is only just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. Once he hits it, and grows increasingly accustomed to being a focal point of both the Mavericks and opposing defenses, the sky really does seem the limit.