Dallas Mavericks point-forward Luka Doncic has made short work of the NBA through just 119 games stateside. The former EuroLeague MVP hopped across the Atlantic Ocean after the Mavs traded for the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, later winning Rookie of the Year and now turning into a legitimate MVP candidate this season at 21 years old.
Miami Heat veteran point guard Goran Dragic, who faces the Slovenian guard prodigy Doncic on Friday night in South Beach, express surprise in how fast his fellow countryman has adapted to the Association.
“I knew Luka when he was 5 or 6. I played with his dad. He was the ballboy,” Doncic told the press before Friday’s tilt, per the Mavs.com’s Dwain Price on Twitter. “He’s special. I’m really impressed. I knew what he could achieve, but not so quickly. He’s playing at an MVP level. It’s always nice to see Luka and talk smack.”
Heat G Goran Dragic of Slovenia on Luka: "I knew Luka when he was 5 or 6. I played with his dad. He was the ballboy. He’s special. I'm really impressed. I knew what he could achieve, but not so quickly. He’s playing at an MVP level. It's always nice to see Luka and talk smack."
— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) February 29, 2020
Doncic, who turned 21 years old today, too, is a serious candidate in the MVP discussion alongside elite players like Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and Houston Rockets guard James Harden, who made jabs at Antetokounmpo this week. Doncic is leading the Mavs and turning the Dallas squad into the most efficient offense, per NBA.com.
Additionally, the second-year wing is averaging 28.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 8.7 assists in 32.7 minutes per game, shooting 46.4 percent from the field, 32.3 percent from 3-point range, and 76.2 percent from the free throw line.
Regardless of whether the Slovenian guard wins more hardware in June for individual accolades, Doncic certainly has the Mavs in contention in the Western Conference two months ahead of playoff competition.