The NBA has finally discovered the secret to slowing down Luka Doncic — put him in competitions that don’t matter.
For the second year in a row, Doncic’s All-Star weekend passed without almost anything of note. He lost his only round of the Skills Competition and somehow played 31 minutes as a starter in the ensuing All-Star game and didn’t record double-digit numbers in either points or assists. For reference, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 35 points in 19 minutes. Chris Paul played the same amount of minutes as Doncic and had 16 assists.
None of this matters, of course, but it is hilarious. Doncic set the tone early by not even taking his warmups off during the skills competition! I aspire to be this lazy at work.
I didn’t warm up the pressure got me :(— Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) March 8, 2021
From there, he continued sleep-walking through the actual All-Star game, getting up some jumpers and trying to throw some lobs. He did dunk though, which is sorta like when in my real job I’m very active in all the morning meetings to make it seem like I had a productive day and then sorta fart around after lunch, running out the clock.
What makes this even funnier is that Doncic is following in the footsteps of another quiet All-Star performer in Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk averaged 8.7 points per game in his 14 All-Star games. His career high was 22 in 2010 and that only happened because the game was in Arlington at Cowboys Stadium. Dirk scored in double-figures only five out his 14 games. That has to be the biggest gap between all-time player rank and All-Star performances in the modern era, right? Dirk is probably a top-15 player of all time! Yet, you barely heard a peep out of him during All-Star weekend, outside of a couple of three-point shootouts.
Luka might be well on his way to taking that throne from Dirk. It makes sense. The All-Star game is about dunks and three pointers and Luka can’t really do either (although that three point shot looks better recently). Doncic is at his best weaving his way through defenders, throwing impossible passes and creating offense near the rim through contact — not the type of stuff that thrives in a meaningless exhibition. If there was a “Pick and Roll Weakside Corner Three Pass” competition, Luka would have a trophy.
I pondered this thought on Twitter and I’d like to repeat it here: How many times does Luka score 20-plus points in his All-Star game career? He’s going to play in about 12 more of these, more or less, so the chances are high it’s more than one...right? Dirk only did it once in 14 years and Luka likes passing. If the over-under was set at 1.5 times, I think I’d grab the under.
We saw this happen last year, although that was more him getting “rook’d” in his first All-Star game. There were no minute restrictions in this one and Luka still seemed content with smiling and having fun sharing the floor with fellow superstar peers. The good thing is that Luka also shares another Dirk trait of rising to the occasion in the playoffs. There are worse things in life than being a fan of a player that coasts through an All-Star weekend and then drops daggers in the playoffs a few months later.
Life is short and Luka plays a million minutes a game, so we shouldn’t really care, but it is funny. I stan a true work-life balance king.