Dallas Mavericks rookie phenom Luka Doncic admitted he has studied James Harden’s game and copped a few of his moves, “especially the drawing fouls and the stepback,” according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
“I watch a lot of his film, for sure,” said Doncic of the reigning MVP.
A lot of analysts consider Harden the best comparison for Doncic, despite the latter’s two extra inches.
The Mavs rookie dropped 21 points along with 10 rebounds and eight assists in a loss to the Rockets in true bearded fashion, now having scored at least 20 points in his last three games.
Even teammates like Dirk Nowitzki have lauded Harden’s style of play as one that could help Doncic become one of the all-time greats.
“He has the perfect skill set for the new NBA,” said Nowitzki. “He’s tough to guard one-on-one and he’s got the stepbacks and can get to the foul line at will. He’s strong enough when he drives to finish. He’s just the perfect player for these times.”
Doncic has yet to have the swiftness of Harden’s footwork nor his wrecking-ball strength, but he has proven to have the mental side down pat, as well as the killer instinct to go out and get buckets — whether they come out directly from his hands or if he’s setting up a teammate.
The 19-year-old is as much of a sure shot for the Rookie of the Year award as there has been in the past, and it won’t be long before he comes for the MVP trophy, the same way Harden is chasing it now.