DALLAS — The Golden State Warriors consider that Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic just isn’t solely an All-Star caliber participant — he is a celebrity within the making. Even on an evening wherein Stephen Curry scored 48 factors and hit 11 three-pointers in a 119-114 win over the Mavericks, it was Doncic’s promise that was a big matter of postgame dialog for the back-to-back NBA champions.
“He is unbelievable,” Curry stated of Doncic. “You’ll be able to inform he is simply skilled when it comes to taking part in excessive stage basketball. A man that is all the time at his personal tempo. I am certain he had heard all of the doubters and other people speaking about his sport who actually did not know a lot about him and he is made himself recognized for certain. It is enjoyable to watch when it comes to the way forward for the league.”
The Warriors have been singing Doncic’s praises all season, having already seen him 3 times this yr, but it surely was Warriors coach Steve Kerr who took that reward to a better stage prior to Sunday’s sport.
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“The man does not appear like a rookie,” Kerr stated on Saturday. “I did not know a lot about him, I by no means noticed him play till we performed Dallas the primary time or watching him on TV earlier than that, however he’s assured past the place you’d anticipate anyone in his sneakers to be. Coming from a unique nation, and being 19 years outdated. He is an excellent participant. I feel he is already an All-Star. I do not understand how the vote’s going to shake out however he appears to be like like an All-Star participant to me.”
Kerr later clarified his assertion throughout Sunday’s pregame.
“I have not actually performed the mathematics,” Kerr stated earlier than the sport. “I have not gone line by line. So I in all probability threw that on the market with out actually doing my homework. I do have a vote for reserves. I feel what I meant to say is he certain appears to be like like an All-Star. So whether or not he makes it or not he is an All-Star. Sure guys simply stand out, you see what they do, you see what they imply to the sport. And if he does not make it this yr he is going to make it soon sufficient.”
After watching the 19-year-old rookie go off for 26 factors, six rebounds and 5 assists later within the evening, the sturdy opinions about Doncic’s sport solely strengthened.
“I do not know if he is an All-Star with how the numbers work, however he is an All-Star participant,” Warriors All-Star ahead Draymond Inexperienced stated. “So I do not know if he’ll be an All-Star per se [this year], however he is undoubtedly an All-Star expertise that is for rattling certain.” Like many across the league, Warriors All-Star ahead Kevin Durant believes that Doncic’s time as knowledgeable in Europe has made his adjustment to the NBA that a lot smoother.
“He is taking part in nice ball,” Durant stated. “Positively for a 19 year-old to common 20 [points], six [rebounds] and 5 [assists] is certainly numbers you may take a look at and contemplate him for an All-Star choice, however there’s so many nice gamers on the market at his place so that you by no means know however simply his poise for the sport, his stepback three — that is what he desires to get to more often than not. He is large and powerful, can move, can play within the choose and roll. He performed in Europe final season. The remainder of the rookie class performed in school. So he is within the second-best league on this planet studying how to play the sport.”
Having spent a lot of his skilled life in and across the NBA, what stands out to Kerr most is the benefit with which Doncic is engaging in all of this at age 19.
“You simply do not see it fairly often,” Kerr stated. “Very not often. I am going to guess we may go over the past decade and solely discover a handful of youngsters who’ve made this sort of influence within the league.”
Curry, the person who so many younger gamers sample their respective video games after, gave Doncic a entrance row seat to one other dazzling efficiency on Sunday evening, going 17-for-32 from the sector and 11-for-19 from past the arc. It was Curry who hit the clutch pictures on Sunday evening that Doncic has hit all through the season in his transient time with the Mavericks.
“It is nuts,” Doncic stated of Curry. “He is a hell of a participant. He does issues you may’t guard. It is simply nuts what he does.”
As productive as Doncic was on Sunday, he faltered down the stretch because the Mavs failed to shut out the Warriors. Dallas was Zero-of-Eight within the clutch – the ultimate 5 minutes with the rating inside 5 factors – and Doncic accounted for half of these misses after going Eight-of-13 from the ground within the first three quarters.
The dud of a end was a rarity for a rookie who has already established himself as one of many NBA’s premier clutch performers, most not too long ago scoring seven factors within the closing 88 seconds to lead the Mavs to a comeback win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
In accordance to NBA.com/stats, Doncic ranks ninth within the league with 72 clutch factors in 71 minutes and third in clutch area objective proportion (52.2) in these conditions (52.2) amongst 47 gamers with at the very least 30 makes an attempt, embracing being the late-game go-to man as he did the previous few seasons with Real Madrid.
After the sport ended, it was Curry who spent a number of moments with Doncic and provided him a number of easy phrases of encouragement.
“I stated, ‘I haven’t got to let you know something,” Curry stated of his message. “Simply maintain doing what you are doing.”
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.