Although ranking the top 30 NBA players in today’s game is an incredibly difficult task, The Last Word on Pro Basketball staff has taken it on. Dallas Mavericks rising star Luka Doncic made the top 10.
Top 30 NBA Players
Number 9 – Luka Doncic
Doncic is the sixth international player to appear on this list. Unlike some others, however, he did not play basketball in the United States prior to his NBA debut. Originally from Slovenia, Doncic was not a late bloomer in European basketball.
He started playing organized basketball at age seven. His first club Union Olimpija in Slovenia, where he dazzled versus older competition. At the age of 13, he moved to Spain and signed a five year deal with Real Madrid. A few years later, in 2017-18, Doncic was named the EuroLeague MVP after guiding Madrid to a championship.
He declared for the 2018 NBA Draft, where he was selected third overall by the Atlanta Hawks. Shortly after, he was traded to Dallas for the rights to Trae Young and a 2019 first-round pick which became Cam Reddish.
Hindsight is 20/20, but thus far it looks as if Doncic should’ve been the first overall pick in the draft. There was, however, some skepticism due to him not playing in the United States. That looks very questionable now, as Doncic was busy dominating versus seasoned pros.
Doncic has an incredible offensive skillset. It’s almost unfathomable to think he’s only in his second year in the league. This season he’s averaging roughly 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists per game. These are MVP-caliber numbers.
He’s already the leader of a playoff team. His vision and passing ability make those around him so much better. Surrounded by two elite shooters in Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry with budding star Kristaps Porzingis in the frontcourt, Doncic is currently leading the most efficient offense in NBA history.
Besides passing, of course, Doncic can do a little bit of scoring himself. He’s currently the sixth-leading scorer in the league, just 0.2 points per game shy of the top five. His stellar ball handling allows him to create shots for himself and he has the strength to drive at will.
Lastly, he’s blessed with great size for a point guard. He stands at 6’7″ and weighs in at 230 pounds, which means most opposing point guards cannot guard him with ease.
There are a couple of weaknesses to Doncic’s game. It’s important to remember, however, that he just turned 21. There’s plenty of time to still shockingly improve.
He’s not the most athletically gifted player in the league. His skill and IQ more than makes up for this. With that being said, he has shown flashes of athleticism while running the floor and jamming in dunks. A couple more offseason training sessions can help this.
Watching a Doncic highlight reel, one would think he’s an elite three-point shooter. The truth is is that he’s not. He shoots the shot at a high volume but has only converted 32 percent of them this season. It almost seems as if he’s better at contested shots than spot-up shooting. With his ability to create his own shot, however, this one flaw hasn’t been magnified.
Doncic is by no means a bad free-throw shooter, but he can improve. He’s shooting about 75 percent from the line this season. He has the capability to get to the line several times every game, so pushing his percentage to the mid-80s will undoubtedly skyrocket his scoring average.
Luka Doncic Career Accolades
As previously mentioned, Doncic is in the midst of his second NBA season. He still has plenty of accolades to his name, however. In 2018-19, he was the Rookie of the Month on six occasions, and easily took home the Rookie of the Year award. This season, he has won one Player of the Week award and made his first All-Star game. Expect the accolades to continue to pour in.
Last Word on Pro Basketball Top 30 NBA Players Ballots
We believe in full transparency in the top 30 NBA player rankings so we are going to disclose the ballots of our player rankings and where each contributor had each player ranked.
Tyler Marling – Site Manager – 8
Chase Gage – Managing Editor – 15
David Knight – Marketing Manager – 13
Zach Kircher – Associate Editor – 20
Matthew Waldman – Associate Editor – 9
David Ward – Author – 12
Avinash Chauhan – Contributor – 7
Adam Zigner – Contributor – 8
Albert Dadson – Contributor – 13
Dylan Guest – Contributor – 8
Raheem Bashir – Contributor – 10
Nathan Levine – Contributor – 9
Bill Huan – Contributor – 8
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