It didn’t take long for Luka Doncic to make his mark on the NBA last season.
Wonder Boy, as he was nicknamed in his home of Slovenia, made an immediate impact with the Dallas Mavericks. Although it was Dirk Nowitzki’s farewell season, the player who is now the reigning Rookie of the Year stole the show. Countless jaw-dropping plays left fans in awe and wanting more every night, and Doncic delivered.
After being traded to the Atlanta Hawks for Trae Young, questions arose about Luka and whether he was worth the third overall pick.
Doncic answered these questions and ended the stereotype of doubting European prospects–the path to greatness has been made, and a detour from that path is unlikely, barring an injury.
Here are three bold predictions for Luka Doncic in the 2019-20 season.
He will finish in the top 5 in scoring
Averaging 21.2 points per game as a rookie was an incredible accomplishment for the 20-year-old. Fast forward to this season: We’re looking at a 6’8 point guard who has had a long offseason in which he can improve his game. Additionally, the slash lines of 42.7/32.7/71.3 present evidence that his shot selection wasn’t as good as it could have been.
Coming into the new season as the sole focus of the Mavericks’ offense, Doncic knows he must shoulder most of the responsibilities at the offensive end of the floor. Rick Carlisle will call on No. 77 to give his team a bucket. From ridiculous threes to monster dunks in clutch time to ankle breakers, Wonder Boy proved his ability to take over games last season. This season will feature him in many different ways, propelling him to even more success in the scoring column.
He will shoot 37% or better from 3-point range
As he learns the ways of the NBA, Luka has the luxury of owning the keys to Dallas’s offense, which is a 3-point-happy offense. Last season, Dallas finished fourth in the league in total attempts and seventh in made threes. However, with more attempts comes more success, and Doncic will shoot a ton of threes with his teammates.
With the league more 3-point oriented than ever before, Dallas has bought in on the trend; the Mavs thrived by shooting the three-ball. Last season, only one team’s shots comprised a higher percentage of threes than the Mavericks: a whopping 52% of the Houston Rockets’ shots were threes.
As the star of the show begins to get more comfortable behind the arc, it’ll be interesting to see if Luka Doncic is able to connect on more shots. That said, however, his 7.1 attempts were high. His 2.7 connections per game weren’t.
Look for him to raise the numbers and increasingly look more confident in the jumper, boosting his overall 3-point percentage.
He will finish in the top 5 in free throw attempts
Ball-dominant players in today’s NBA do two things better than most: shoot threes and draw fouls. James Harden, Giannis Atetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Damian Lillard all finished in the top 10 in free throws attempted last season. Luka wasn’t far behind; he and Lou Williams tied for 10th at 485 charity stripe chances.
The Slovenian can finish with both hands, and he slammed it on many heads in his rookie season. He’ll learn how to get players to bite on fakes. More importantly, he has the size and speed to drive past nearly anyone guarding him.