Despite being just 22 years old, Dončić carried Dallas back to the postseason and has the Mavericks poised for another championship run.
In just three seasons so far, Dončić has piled up the accolades, like the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, as well as two consecutive All-Star berths and All-NBA First Team selections.
Last season alone, Dončić posted 27.7 points, 8.6 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per game.
This elite play earned him a max-level contract extension.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 9, 2021
So with Dončić in tow, the team turned to adding depth.
Now, it’s up to Dončić to lead the way.
Elevate To MVP Status
The expectations for Dončić have grown since his startling rookie campaign.
He earned All-Star and All-NBA berths with his regular season play.
During his first three seasons, Dončić became the youngest player to earn multiple All-NBA first-team selections.
He stands as one of four players, joining LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Oscar Robertson, to average more that 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game through their first three NBA seasons.
All signs point to Dončić making a legitimate run at the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2021-22.
His averages last season, 27.7 points, 8.6 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per game, compare favorably to recent MVP winners.
Last year’s MVP, Nikola Jokić, posted 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game en route to the award.
The year prior, Giannis Antetokounmpo won back-to-back MVPs after seasons with 29.5 and 27.7 points, 13.6 and 12.5 rebounds, and 5.6 and 5.9 assists per game.
Should Dončić continue his career trajectory, his averages for 2021-22 will be in those neighborhoods.
If Dončić were to win the MVP award, he’d be just the second Maverick to do so.
Dirk Nowitzki won the award in 2007 after a season where he averaged 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game.
The key to an MVP run might be leading Dallas to the top half of the Western Conference playoff bracket.
Find Playoff Success
Dončić continues to pile up impressive regular season statistical marks, and he has elevated his play even more in the playoffs.
Luka Doncic is the 1st player in NBA history with 275 points, 75 rebounds, 75 assists through 9 career playoff games pic.twitter.com/UZmalcrytU
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 29, 2021
Over 13 career playoff games, Dončić averages 33.5 points, 9.5 assists, 8.8 rebounds per game, on 49.4 percent shooting and 39.2 percent three-point shooting.
But while Dončić continued to reach historical statistical plateaus, those stats didn’t always translate to postseason victories.
Since his arrival three seasons ago, Dallas has made two playoff berths, but lost in the first round each time.
The team has been bounced by the Los Angeles Clippers in consecutive years, although last season’s seven-game series remained one of the league’s most compelling matchups.
The Mavericks have yet to progress beyond the first round of the playoffs since 2011, when the team won its only NBA title.
In an effort to shake things up, Dallas opted to part ways with long-time head coach Rick Carlisle and bring in Kidd.
The team tinkered with the roster around Dončić and have positioned themselves among the Western Conference playoff contenders.
If Dončić is going to live up to this extension, he must lead the Mavericks to the NBA’s second round and beyond.NEXT: Jason Kidd Must Mesh With Luka Doncic In Dallas Or Else