In 2020, his first trip to the postseason and his second season in the National Basketball Association, he hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win Game 4 of the Mavs’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Overall, he was beastly in his first playoff series.
Luka Doncic in his first playoff run:
– 31.0 points per game
– 9.8 rebounds per game
– 8.7 assists per game
– Most points in a playoff debut
– 2 triple-doubles
– 40/15/10 game (3rd ever)
– 1 walk-off game winner
– Youngest player with a playoff game-winner
He's 21 years old. pic.twitter.com/tlzhZfhWeQ
— StatMuse (@statmuse) August 30, 2020
That type of production has continued in the postseason.
In Game 1 of Dallas’ best-of-seven series versus the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, Doncic seemingly did it all, scoring 45 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and dishing out eight assists.
The Mavs fell short, 121-114, but it was further proof that Doncic is as big a one-man show as any the NBA has right now.
Doncic Has Been Dominant For Dallas
Despite struggling with his shooting early in the schedule, Doncic ended the 2021-22 regular season averaging 28.4 points on 45.7 percent shooting from the field and 35.3 percent from 3-point land, 9.1 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game.
Those types of video game numbers have become commonplace for the Slovenian native over the last couple of years.
Come playoff time, Doncic has been even more remarkable, averaging 33.4 points on 49.0 percent overall shooting and 38.5 percent from downtown, 9.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists in 17 contests.
He has even entered some very rarified air, despite being in just his fourth season in the pros.
Luka Dončić has MORE career 30-point Triple Doubles than:
• Larry Bird
• Magic Johnson
• Kobe Bryant
• Jason Kidd
• Michael Jordan
• Nikola Jokic
• Kevin Durant
Luka is 23 years old.
— MavsMuse (@MavsMuse) March 28, 2022
Doncic is also proving that he is a big-game player who has fire in his belly and the chutzpah to take and hit clutch shots.
LUKA DONCIC GAME WINNER pic.twitter.com/mxKmWjiGfr
— House Mavericks (@HouseMavericks) November 7, 2021
LUKA DONCIC 🤩💥
GAME WINNER 🔥
SERIES TIED ✅ pic.twitter.com/ADS913FjfO
— Seasons 🏀 (@SeasonsBuckets) August 23, 2020
Death. Taxes. Luka Doncic game winners from the left wing. pic.twitter.com/0Gqv3b7eJH
— Hilltop Hoops (@HilltopNBA) November 7, 2021
More and more, he is looking like the modern-day version of Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics legend who is considered one of the five to 10 greatest players in basketball history.
Doncic is the type of player who can elevate his team beyond the sum of its parts and give it a chance to win against a more-talented opponent.
He did just that in the first round of this year’s playoffs against the Utah Jazz, a team that has more offensive threats and overall balance than Dallas.
Even though Doncic missed the first three games, the Mavs managed to enter Game 5 tied with Utah at two games apiece, and thanks to his 33 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists, they won 102-77 to take control of the series.
The Mavs Need To Give Him Help
The downside to Doncic being so brilliant individually is that he has largely had to do it alone over the last three postseasons.
In the first round, guard Jalen Brunson looked like he was coming of age, putting up 27.8 points a game on 48.4 percent shooting.
But he came back to Earth in Game 1 against Phoenix on Monday, shooting just 6-of-16 from the field and scoring only 13 points.
Other than Brunson’s best self, the Mavs have a lack of offensive firepower outside of Doncic, and it will eventually spell their playoff doom, likely in this series.
Doncic recently signed a huge five-year contract extension to remain in Dallas through the 2026-27 season.
If a few more years go by and owner Mark Cuban is unable to get Doncic a co-superstar, will he start to think about leaving the team for greener pastures in order to win a world championship ring?