Future Watch: Luka Doncic Rookie Basketball Cards, Mavericks – The 2019 NBA All-Star game is less than two weeks away, and with that we are two-thirds of the way through the season. End of season awards are still a long way off, but one of the awards is most certainly a lock. Mavericks fans and collectors have been in a frenzy since he arrived in Dallas, and in a few months they’ll be celebrating his 2018-19 Rookie of the Year win.
Luka Doncic was born in Ljubijana, Slovenia in 1999. According to his family, he first touched a basketball when he was seven months old. By age one, he was already playing with a miniature hoop. Growing up, he played a variety of sports including football. At seven, he started playing organized basketball at his primary school in Ljubijana. Throughout his early years he would often compete with older and more experienced players. His childhood idol was Greek professional player Vassillis Spanoulis. When he played for Real Madrid, he wore number 7 in honor of Spanoulis.
In September 2012, when Doncic was just 13 years old, he signed a five-year contract with Real Madrid. He moved to Madrid and became an immediate standout on the under-16 team. At the Minicopa Endesa tournament, Doncic averaged 24.5 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and six steals per game. In the final game, Doncic scored 25 points with 16 boards and five steals. He was named MVP of the game. One month later, he earned MVP honors in the U-16 Spain Championship when he scored 25 points in the championship game.
Doncic made his professional debut for Real Madrid in April 2015. He would play for the team until 2018, earning numerous accolades during his tenure. Most notably, he won the EuroLeague MVP award in 2018 becoming the youngest player to win the award. That year, he averaged 16 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. On June 29th, 2018, he decided to leave Real Madrid for the 2018 NBA Draft.
Heading into the draft, Doncic was seen as the most accomplished teenage international prospect to ever enter the NBA. His jump shot has NBA range, his playmaking skills rival current NBA All-Stars and he’s no slouch as a defender. He stands 6’8” and can play anywhere from point guard to power forward. The only knocks on his game came from critics who didn’t think he could immediately transition from the EuroLeague to face top competition in the NBA. On Draft Night, Doncic fell to third overall where he was taken by the Atlanta Hawks. However, he was immediately traded to Dallas.
Doncic hit the ground running once he entered the NBA. He has played in 50 games so far this season, averaging 32.1 minutes. His 20.7 points per game leads the Mavericks and all rookies. Among rookies, he’s second in rebounds with seven per game, and second in assists with 5.4. Dallas has fully committed to building their team around Doncic. Their recent trade for Kristaps Porzingis suggests they want to build a team that mimics the Steve Nash/Dirk Nowitzki tandem of the early 2000s.
Dallas still has a way to go before they return to being a top Western Conference superpower. With the 2018 draft day trade for Doncic and the recent Porzingis acquisition, they’re a bit strapped for draft picks these next few years. Still, they have one of the best coaches in the NBA with Rick Carlisle who can get the most out of any roster. Don’t count out on Dallas being an attractive destination for free agents either. The lure of playing for Carlisle with Doncic and Porzingis will be attractive.
In a loaded Western Conference, Doncic was an All-Star snub in his first year. That isn’t a surprise, as he was the only rookie who even had a chance of making the roster. He’ll still have a presence on All-Star weekend when he competes for the World team in the Rising Stars game. Participants haven’t been announced, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Doncic in the Skills Challenge. He could even make the Three Point Contest (he’s currently averaging 2.4 makes from three per game). The NBA knows how to successfully market their talent and Doncic will certainly be a part of their efforts on All-Star weekend. The only thing that could derail the Doncic train right now is an injury. Even if that were to happen and he had to miss the season, he’d still win the Rookie of the Year.
Collectors are going wild for Luka Doncic rookie cards this year. It began with his autographs in 2018 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Collegiate Basketball. When 2018-19 Prizm Basketball hit stores, he entered a hobby tier reserved for recent rookies like Shohei Ohtani, Connor McDavid and Aaron Judge. His silver prizm rookie cards from that set and selling for incredible prices. There’s no doubt his Rookie Patch Autographs from upcoming high-end products like Impeccable, Cornerstones and National Treasures will deliver tremendous value. Collectors will also be able to find Doncic autographs in the upcoming 2019 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions.
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