Is Luka Doncic a top 5 player?


Luka Doncic quickly became one of the best players in the league. Photo by Mavs Moneyball.

Luka Doncic. A player who divided the basketball world even before stepping on a NBA search. Much of the narrative at the entrance to the draft was based on the question: Can Luka be effective in the NBA or not? We have long moved past this question and today we ask ourselves if Luka is one of the top 5 players in the NBA? We’re going to be looking at Luka Doncic 2021 stats and his game, so let’s not waste any time.

Everything is known Luka Doncic and his game. Even casual basketball fans know his skills.

He entered the NBA as the best player in Europe and quickly established himself as one of the best European players in the NBA. In her early years, she showed her skills and her stats were nowhere near what you would expect from a rookie. He was already a seasoned veteran, but an NBA rookie nonetheless.

From that point on, his skills remained largely the same, but he did not remain the same player. Since his rookie year he has improved in many aspects of his game. He has increased his usage and scoring. He’s increased his shooting percentage every year, including his eFG percentage, which is the highest this year.

2021 is its best year yet and the numbers back it up. Check it out …

Luka Doncic 2021 statistics

GP MIN FG% 3P% FT% REB AST BLK STL PF AT PTS
58 35.2 48.6 35.3 72.8 8.0 8.9 0.6 1.0 2.4 4.3 28.6

Source – ESPN

He shoots 48.6% from the field against 46.3% last year. It shoots 35% from three down from 31% last year and its eFG% has gone from 53.1% last year to 55.6% this year.

These are not just the stats for the best European player in the NBA, but also one of the best players in the NBA in 2021.


Is Luka Doncic one of the top 5 players?

So let’s come back to our original question. Is Luka one of the 5 best players?

Well yes and no.

Luka Doncic’s 2021 stats clearly put him in the mix for that honor. After all, he has played most games compared to many other players who have missed a lot of time this season.

It is unfair to blame them, but it matters a lot. Watch the lakers and what happened to them with their best players. Without Luka, the Mavs wouldn’t make the playoffs, so his value is immense to the team. This qualifies him again for the conversation of one of the top 5 players in the league.

Is he the best player in the league? No, but it doesn’t have to be as long as he’s leading his team to success.

Last year, he became the youngest player to be named to an All-NBA First team. He’s been spectacular for the Mavs in the playoffs and he will ultimately lead them to their first playoff victory since 2011.

So what would disqualify him from the conversation of being one of the top 5 players in the league?

Few players have better stats than Luka Doncic. Well, it’s a question of talent. Since joining the league he has improved his game in many ways, but for the most part his game has remained the same. He hasn’t become a better shooter, he just chooses his spots better. His free-throw percentage has actually gone down and his complaints to referees have also increased, resulting in an increase in technical fouls this year.

In terms of talent, he is not among the top 5 players in the league. He’s probably not even in the top 10, especially if the whole league is healthy, which is not currently the case.

But the conversation is about 2021 and with all the injuries and limited availability, he could very well be in the NBA’s Top 5. Luka Doncic has the stats, his value to his team is immense and without him they would fall apart. On the other hand, if you were to ask a casual NBA fan to name their top 5 players, their name would often be overlooked.

So has he become a good defender?

Defense in the NBA has always been a controversial topic. A lot of that is because defense doesn’t really show up in the boxscore. It’s not like points and rebounds or assists.

So when you look at his numbers, they’re nothing too crazy. But numbers have never been a good way to determine a good defender. So, to determine if it has improved, we have to watch the movie.

The movie says Doncic has not only improved as a defender, but actually tends to be a good defender. His first improvement is his anticipation which is much better than before. It causes more turnover than ever despite its flights being roughly the same as last year. He is also quite strong in defense thanks to his weight which was criticized before the season but in this case, it is a plus for him.

But the biggest difference is its ISO defense which has improved significantly. Only two players allow fewer points per possession when defending iso games. Doncic is now an ISO defender at the 95th percentile while last year he was at the 35th percentile. Obviously, he’s not as picked as last year and even when he does, he’s really good at defending the game.

The caveat to this improvement is the fact that the Mavs as a team play much better defense than last year.

Obviously this also improved Doncic’s defense, but with his absurd attacking exit, that would be more than enough. If he can remain a good team defender with his stellar offensive performance, he will certainly be recognized not only as an MVP candidate or All-NBA first team candidate, but also as one of the top 5 players in the league.

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