Luka Dončić Has the Clutch Factor

03/08/2019

Photo from USA Today

Luka Dončić, the 20-year old NBA superstar from Slovenia, is the best rookie player the NBA has ever seen in its entire 72-year history. His exciting plays, unparalleled vision, and reliability have already placed him as the leading star of the Maverick's roster. Throughout the season thus far, Dončić has put up a reliable average of 21.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. Although none of these numbers seem to jump out, what's most remarkable is Dončić's incredible ability and maturity to close out games that reaches far beyond his years.

On February 20, 2019, Luka Dončić and the Mavericks found themselves down 15 points in the fourth quarter with 9:30 left on the clock against the Portland Trailblazers. Needing a clutch performance, Dallas head coach, Rick Carlisle, had Dončić play all 12 minutes of the vital quarter. In that period, Dončić scored 13 points while his incredible defense helped his team contain the Trailblazer's- allowing them to score just 9 points in the quarter. Dončić loves to put the team on his back and give the fans everything he's got in order to pull out a win.

"It was one of those times where he was going to have to finish for us to have a chance. I love the fact that he loves carrying the load. He's one of those dynamic young players that has the charisma to give his teammates confidence."

Dallas Head Coach, Rick Carlisle

With the game tied 99-99 with 1:28 left on the clock, Dončić converted a tough and-1 to put the Mavericks up 102-99. The Trailblazers ended up with the ball with only 10 seconds left on the clock. On the fast break, Portland's All-Star point guard, Damian Lillard, dribbled into a layup but was met at the rim with the tough defense of Luka Dončić. Dončić showed that he isn't just clutch offensively but that he has what it takes to make big plays on both sides of the floor.

According to NBAMiner.com, clutch time is when teams are within 5 points of each other with 5 minutes or less in the fourth quarter or overtime. For points scored during this time, Dončić ranks 12th in league with only players like James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Stephen Curry ahead of him. Luka Dončić truly has the clutch gene, giving him the brightest future of any current NBA rookie. It might be too early to say, but Dončić has made himself an absolute superstar in the NBA and his ceiling is very, very high.

Jackson Fedosa