Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has been named as one of the top three finalists for the Most Improved Player of the year award this 2019-20, and Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle believes it’s a well-deserved recognition.
Luka has been voted as MIP finalist alongside Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo and New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram. All three are first time All-Stars in the season.
Sure enough, Carlisle is happy with Doncic’s accomplishment, noting that what the Mavs star has shown so far is undoubtedly extraordinary for someone his age. Doncic is only 22 years old.
“It’s certainly legit. It’s not a stretch. It does tend to be younger players, but not younger players of this level. The improvement of his game has really come in every facet,” Rick Carlisle said of Luka Doncic before the Mavs played the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, per Callie Caplan of Dallas Morning News.
After winning Rookie of the Year in 2018-19, Doncic upped his game significantly in his sophomore season. In fact, he has catapulted his name to the MVP conversation early in the campaign.
Before the season was suspended in March, Doncic averaged 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists for the Mavs while shooting 46.1 percent from the field, 31.8 percent from deep and 75.2 percent from the free-throw line.
It’s uncommon — though not unprecedented — for a second-year player to win Most Improved Player, especially high draft picks who are expected to ascend into stardom relatively early in their careers. Nonetheless, Doncic has made a habit of prematurely defying expectations. He became the youngest player to debut for Real Madrid at age 16, then he led Madrid to the EuroLeague title at age 18 en route to winning the EuroLeague MVP and Final Four MVP.
It remains to be seen if Luka will bag the award, but being selected for the award is certainly a huge milestone, as it proves the growth he had in his first two years with the Mavs.