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Luka Doncic’s MVP caliber sophomore season

No. 77 is no longer a local treasure — he’s on his way to taking over the basketball universe.

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Season in Review

In his second season as a Dallas Maverick, Luka Doncic let the world know just who he is. In just 1.1 more minutes per game, Doncic increased his points per game average by 7.5 points. He also increased his assist average by 2.7, and his rebound average by 1.5. These jumps were good enough for me to believe he had a case for the Most Improved Player award, but let’s be honest: Doncic should be considered as an MVP candidate.

No, I don’t think Doncic should win the award, but a finish outside of the top-five feels like a mistake. Doncic averaged 28.8 points per game, 9.4 rebounds per game and 8.8 rebounds per game. His team finished second to the last in their conference just last season. This year, his team finished seventh in the West and went to war with a far-better Los Angeles Clippers team in the playoffs. Doncic may have made one of the best seasons ever by a 20 year old (turned 21 in February).

We’ve written a lot about Luka Doncic already and we’re going to write a lot more. His second year was somehow more than the wildest dreams of most fans.

Statistics for Doncic are from before the NBA’s hiatus
All statistics from Basketball Reference

Best Game

Luka Doncic scored a season-high 42 points twice this season. The first was against the San Antonio Spurs, where he also had 12 assists and 11 rebounds. Just 11 days later, he did it again in Phoenix while tallying 11 assists and making 15 free throws. For me, the game I will remember this season by was his Game 4 performance against the Clippers. 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists was a stat-line no one had ever seen in the playoffs. The only other player to do something comparable to that was Wilt Chamberlain, who posted 53/32/14 in a regular season game. Doncic added the cherry-on-top by nailing a game-winning step-back three, sending most of us into a joyful frenzy.

Contract Status

Right now, Doncic is still on his rookie deal. His salary is just $8,049,360 next year, making him one of the biggest steals in the league. He has a pending team option for 2021-22, meaning the Mavericks will likely begin extension talks next season.

Looking Ahead

Doncic will make one of the All-NBA teams this year, making him the first Maverick to do so since Dirk Nowitzki made the third team in 2011-12. He deserves a spot on the first team, but voters (somehow) seem to be favoring Damian Lillard for that spot. If he can improve his three-point consistency and free throw shooting, I think it’s very likely he could average a 30-point triple double next season. \

There is at least one MVP in the near future. Perhaps even next year. Most importantly, there is no one else I’d want to lead my team to a championship in the future. I don’t care what the Mavericks have to throw at him: Keep Luka Doncic in Dallas until he can no longer play basketball.