Luka Doncic was picked by many (including myself) to be the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year. His fellow rookies, however, did not have so much faith in the young Slovenian to make a big impact in his first year as they had him Tied for 3rd alongside Kevin Knox and behind #1 overall pick Deandre Ayton and Cleveland point guard Collin Sexton in the preseason Rookie Survey.
This ROOKIE RANKS series will track the Rookie of the Year race and give monthly updates on the top candidates. This first article will be a summary of rookie ranks among each statistical category, going forward, articles will be updates and analysis on the top 3-5 candidates (with an emphasis on Luka, of course).
Luka is off to an amazing start this season, while watching him play it is easy to see he is a great player and will be one of the front-runners for NBA Rookie of the Year. Even with Luka’s great start, there are several other rookies that are keeping this Rookie of the Year race interesting.
Summary of 2018 Lottery Picks:
|14||Michael Porter Jr.||DEN||20||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
Quite a few productive players were added to the NBA. We have been able to see a lot of these players filling significant roles to start the season such as Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Young, and Carter. There have really only been two of the lottery picks who have yet to make an impact, those being Jerome Robinson and the injured Michael Porter Jr., who has yet to make his debut from rehabbing his back surgery.
To better find out which players are excelling relative to their peers, lets look at the rookie rankings by stat category.
Points per game leaders:
Rebounds per game leaders:
Assists per game leaders:
Field goal percentage leaders (minimum 30 attempts):
3 point field goal percentage (minimum 12 attempts):
Free-throw percentage leaders (minimum 10 attempts):
Minutes per game leaders:
A Closer Look at Luka
As I am sure you noticed, Luka doesn’t only show up on a lot of these lists, he shows up near the top. Some of a rookie’s performance has to do with playing opportunity, but Luka doesn’t only do great in the counting stats, he is very efficient as he racks up his numbers. Here is a summary of where he stands in each category:
Look at that all-around game! Efficient scoring, excellent rebounding for his position, and elite playmaking, Luka can do it all!
It almost seems unfair to compare to his fellow rookie peers. He has an all-around game that hardly any veteran NBA stars can match.
So, just for fun, let’s take a look at how Luka’s stats stacks up against some of the greatest players of all time in their rookie or age 19 season. The following shows the Per 36 minutes numbers for several players in their either their rookie season or their age 19 season, meaning, nobody in this comparison is younger or less experienced than Luka.
Kind of scary how well he looks here…scoring as well and as efficiently as anyone. His 3 point percentage is great and he is making 2.3/game compared to Larry Bird’s 0.7/game. Can you believe Larry was pulling down 10 rebounds/game in his rookie year? I don’t care if he was 23, that’s impressive. I know it is only 12 games into his career, but make no mistake about it, Luka Doncic is SPECIAL!
One area that you can see Luka needs to improve is with the turnovers. 4.4 per game is definitely too many, this has been a Mavericks team problem all season and Luka is the main culprit. He is such an efficient scorer, 40% from 3 and a giant-killing floater in the lane, if Luka can be come a more efficient passer he will be absolutely unstoppable off the pick-and-roll. It is early, but right now there is no ceiling for Luka.