How Luka Dončić’s 2022-2023 Season is Stacking up All-Time

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Few individual seasons throughout NBA history stack up nearly as well as the one Luka Dončić is personally enjoying. Dončić is averaging just over 34 points per game (PPG), eight rebounds per game (RPG) and eight assists per game (APG) on 51% shooting is nothing short of ridiculous. While the Mavs’ roster leaves something to be desired, and it remains a bit of a one-man show in Dallas, that one man has Dallas at fourth in the Western Conference and within striking distance of the top overall seed.

While the 30-point triple-double seems to be more common than ever these days, it is still a marvel of individual play. Only 24 times has a player averaged 33 PPG for an entire season, ten of which were done by either Wilt Chamberlain or Michael Jordan Dončić is also accomplishing this by playing the fourth lowest amount of minutes among these 24 seasons at 36.9 minutes per game. He’s also shooting a better percentage than any such season by Elgin Baylor, James Harden, Allen Iverson, Rick Barry, and Nate Archibald. 

The closest Michael Jordan ever came to a season like this was the 1988-1989 campaign, where he finished with 33 PPG, eight RPG, and eight APG while shooting a higher percentage at 54%. Magic Johnson meanwhile, never even approached a season this productive throughout his career. The closest he came to a season like the one Dončić is having was his 1981-1982 season, where he came just short of averaging a triple-double at 18.6 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 9.5 APG. 

Freakishly, Chamberlain actually went half his career without eclipsing 33 PPG, although his 1967-1968 campaign was a remarkable one at 24 PPG, 24 RPG, and 9 APG. While his numbers could eventually come back down at least close to earth before too long, it is worth taking a step back and appreciating how much Dončić has improved from last season. 

The recent performance against the Knicks particularly stands out as an all-timer. A stat line of 61 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists has never been done before, and included some otherworldly last-minute heroics to steal an improbable win. The most frequent question for players posting these kinds of stat lines usually centers around whether or not it is actually contributing to winning. In this case, Dallas keeps winning in games where Dončić seemingly fills up the stat sheet nearly by himself.

Dončić has totaled 253 points, 65 rebounds and 61 assists during the Mavericks’ six-game win streak to end the calendar year of 2022, averaging 42 PPG (.587 FG%, .467 3FG%), 10.8 RPG and 10.2 APG in that stretch. He became the first player in league history to record 250+ points, 60+ rebounds and 60+ assists over any six-game span.

Dončić’s 95 points over the two-game span at the end of the year (12/27-12/29 in 2022) marked the most points during a stretch of consecutive triple-doubles in NBA history (previous: 94, Westbrook, 3/27-3/29 in 2017). He became the first player ever to record 95 points, 20 boards and 20 assists over a two-game span. Dončić’s 151 combined points/rebounds/assists (95 points, 33 rebounds, 23 assists) also marked the third-most in consecutive triple-doubles in league history. Wilt Chamberlain, who totaled 167 (75 points, 59 rebounds, 33 assists, 3/18-3/19 in 1968), and 159 (88 points, 47 rebounds, 24 assists, 3/16-3/18 in 1968), is the only player with more.

It’s hard to believe Dončić could get any better than what he has already put together to this point in his career, but a five-point increase in PPG, as well as a five percentage point jump in his field goal percentage, is remarkable. He’s doing it in just one fewer minute per game, while quietly flirting with a career-high 36% from three-point range and a career-high in steals. We have also seen consistent additions to his repertoire throughout the season as he becomes less reliant on the step-back three-pointer. 

Few players throughout league history have shouldered this kind of load while eventually going on to win an NBA title. It is safe to say Dončić is going to need at least some of the responsibilities relieved so he can truly lead this team on a deep playoff run. Throughout last year’s postseason, the Mavericks got major contributions from Reggie Bullock, Jalen Brunson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith. There’s no telling who that might be this year, but as of now, Dončić is enjoying one of the finest individual campaigns we’ve ever seen.



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