Luka Doncic Is Doing What No NBA Rookie Has Ever Done Before

Fun fact: Since 2000-01, there has been, on average, one player per season who has averaged more than 19 points per game, four assists per game, shot better than 35 percent from three, and had an effective field goal percentage of greater than 0.55. While these may seem like a random set of statistics and statistical cut-offs, they provide a good sample size for what success looks like in the modern NBA. Achieving these high marks indicates that these players can set up their teammates, they can score, they can stretch the floor, and perhaps most importantly, they can score efficiently. 

If you don’t believe that these set of statistics are generally indicative of success, over the past 18 seasons, there have only been seven players that have averaged these numbers over the course of an entire season: LeBron James (five times), Kevin Durant (five times), Stephen Curry (four), Ray Allen (one), Kyrie Irving (one), Kyle Lowry (one), and Goran Dragic (one). Each of these players was selected as an all-star that season, except for Goran Dragic, who was selected as an all-star a couple years later. The average age of each of these players when they accomplished this feat was 27.5 years old. The youngest player to do so was Kevin Durant at 24. 

Which brings us to this season. 

Luka Doncic is currently averaging 19.1 points per game, 4.6 assists per game, shooting 39.1 percent from three, and has an effective field goal percentage of 0.551. He is 19 years old. 

While it’s still early in the season, what Doncic is doing is unprecedented for a player so young — especially during their rookie year. Playing for Rick Carlisle, a coach who has been notoriously allergic to trusting younger players, Doncic has become the focal point for a Dallas offense that, without getting a single game from Dirk Nowitzki so far this season, is sitting at just one game behind the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans in a very tough Western conference. Carlisle has clearly turned over the keys to the offense to Luka. His 33.6 minutes per game not only lead the Mavericks but all rookies this season. 

Perhaps most interestingly, Doncic is being trusted to run the offense in crunch time as well. He is one of only three rookies to play in seven “clutch” games so far this season (defined as the game being within five points at any time under five minutes left); the other two are Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the Clippers and Wendell Carter Jr. on the Bulls. Doncic is averaging slightly more “clutch” minutes than either of the other two rookies (3.3 compared to 3.2 and 3.1), but he appears to be far more effective, scoring 3.6 points per clutch game compared to 1.7 for SGA and 0.8 for Carter Jr. 

While the expectations were coming into this season for the Slovenian, his performance so far stands alone among not only this impressive rookie class, but, at least so far, among all rookies historically.


Fri Lavey is a writer and consultant who studied economics and statistics at Harvard University. He has previously worked as a data analyst for the NBA, the MLB, and the Philadelphia 76ers.

How to Watch: NCAA Foreign Tours

Every 4 years, college programs can travel abroad and FloHoops has you covered! 

Hoyas Head To The Bahamas For Foreign Tour

Patrick Ewing’s illustrious playing career at Georgetown produced three Final Fours in four years and a national championship. As head coach, Ewing leads a promising Hoyas team in pursuit of its first NCAA Tournament, taking their first steps of the 2019-20 season Aug. 10-17 in the Bahamas.

Josh Hall's Stock Is Soaring After Re-Classification

Josh Hall has scheduled two official visits. The five-star prospect from the 2020 class, formerly of the 2019 class, will visit Louisville officially on Sept. 1.

Southern Cal's Fresh Faces Are Seeking A Fresh Start

A fresh start can be uplifting, as USC basketball aims to find out with its Aug. 6-16 tour of Spain and France.

After Magical Run, Texas Tech Returns To The Hardwood At Atlantis

From the wooded north of Minnesota, to the tropical paradise that is the Bahamas, Texas Tech basketball takes its first steps to a Final Four return Aug. 12 at Atlantis.

Fight Prep: Xavier Gears Up For Big East With Trip To Spain

Big East basketball promises to be a fight in 2019-20, with any number of members having the pieces to go into the season considered a championship contender. In a conference as strong top-to-bottom as it, every time on the court counts.

Before Myles Powell Vies For The Naismith, He Leads Pirates On Foreign Tour

Want a sneak peek at college basketball’s Player of the Year for 2019-20? Tune into FloHoops for Seton Hall’s tour of Italy, and you just might get your wish. 

Elijah Hughes, Orange Intent On Maximizing Potential During Foreign Tour

Any itinerary when visiting Italy includes a few musts: like trying the world-renowned cuisine. Syracuse Orange forward Elijah Hughes is no different, with his team set to tour the country for four games in 10 days on a foreign tour that will stream live on FloHoops.com and the FloSports app.

Huskies' Dynamic Freshman Duo Will Make Washington Debut In Italy

The most dynamic freshman front court in college basketball makes its debut in Italy and on FloHoops, Aug. 13-22. 

Rhode Island Commit Elijah Wood Will Transfer To Lincoln Academy

It looks like Lincoln Academy will have another high-major prospect on their roster for the team’s first season in Winston-Salem.