The Slovenia Times

Dončić follows up sensational rookie season with MVP-worthy performance


The year started sensationally for the Slovenian, as he came second only to LeBron James in the fan voting portion of the selection process for the NBA All Star Game, proving himself as one of the most popular players in the league.

However, Dončić did not make it into the NBA Western Conference's starting line-up for the exhibition game, falling short in the vote by the league's players and a media panel, as the fan vote accounts for only 50% of total vote.

The Slovenian nevertheless made an astonishing individual feat as the season was concluding, securing averages of at least 20 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists per game to become only the second NBA rookie ever to reach the benchmarks, along with the great Oscar Robertson.

While his Dallas Mavericks did not make the play-offs in the previous season, Dončić won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award to become just the second European player ever to win the accolade, after Spain's Pau Gasol in 2002.

Dončić also became only the fourth international player ever to win the honours in the 73-year history of the NBA, receiving 98 of possible 100 votes. He beat Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, for whom he was swapped on the draft night to end up in the Mavericks.

While some expected Dončić to stagnate in the second season as teams start to focus their defence on him, the Slovenian came out of the gates as the season started in late October to establish himself as one of the most efficient players.

He needed only two games to log his first triple-double of the season, following it up with another seven and also setting the new Slovenian record in points scored in a single game, dropping 42 points on two occasions.

It was after the first scoring outburst that his head coach Rick Carlisle said that "this guy can do anything he wants to on a basketball court. He's having one of those magical runs right now. It's a phenomenal thing to watch."

Through 25 games, Dončić has averaged 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game for a player efficiency rating of 31.83, which makes him the second most efficient player in the entire league.

He has broken several NBA records already, including the record for the most triple-doubles by a player before his 21st birthday. He has become the youngest NBA player ever with a triple-double while scoring 30 or more points.

With the year nearing its end, Dončić was named Sports Illustrated's 2019 Breakout of the Year, with the award coming after the Slovenian was declared the Western Conference player of the month for October and November.

Dončić has also remained popular in Slovenia, coming second in the recent voting for the Slovenian Athlete of the Year by the Association of Sports Journalists, losing the title narrowly to the cycling phenomenon Primož Roglič.


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