Luka Doncic came to the Dallas Mavericks at only 19 years old and immediately started to dominate the NBA. How did he do it? How was he so ready? BasketNews invites you to experience the journey together.

The Slovenian magician started his professional path with Real Madrid in 2015. At 16 years, two months, and two days of age, he became the youngest player to ever play for the Royal club in the Spanish ACB. 

Moreover, being at the same age (16), Doncic made his debut in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, scoring 2 points in a loss against Khimki. He became the 21st player ever to debut in the strongest continental league before turning 17.

Doncic spent 3 years with Real Madrid (2015-18), three times becoming ACB champion (2016, 2017, 2018) and winning EuroLeague in 2018. Not only that, he became the EuroLeague's regular-season and Final Four MVP at the age of 19, being the youngest of these prizes' holders.

Credit Reuters-Scanpix

Though, titles and individual awards come after the shining performance on the court. Luka built his brilliance, being able to deal with those circumstances: more physicality allowed, less space inside the arc, and no defensive 3 seconds rule.

Hand checking is a key element of every good defensive team in the EuroLeague: post-ups, drives to the basket, pressing full court; hands are involved all the time and fouls are called only if you use them excessively.

NBA changed this rule a while ago, transforming the game completely. That's why guards are all over the place in the NBA, as they can use their agility to have more clean penetration to the rim.

At 18 years old, Luka Doncic had to cope with defenders, harassing him on the court, who used their hands trying to keep him as close as possible. Fouls were not called as often as the top basketball prospect would have wanted but it was perfect training for the next step in his career.

Credit AFP – Scanpix

Points this season

47%
79,4
Points made: 79,4
Accuracy: 47,2%
Place in standings: 5
Record max: 95
Record min: 58
Best scorer: Guerschon Yabusele

As mentioned, another thing is spacing. The three-point line in Europe is closer to the rim by half of the meter, so players automatically have less space inside to drive.

Therefore, Luka needed to adapt to a less spacious area and he did it remarkably. Doncic excelled in perfect shooting from deep, including step-back jumpers, long threes, and tough shots from behind the arc.

The non-existent three-second rule in the EuroLeague also gives huge importance to your game vision and finishing around the rim with contact. Very often one man is always protecting his own basket.

Credit Facebook

So, beating your own opponent and creating an advantage is just the first step in Europe, while in the NBA, is sometimes all it takes, especially, in the regular season.

Last but not least, Luka saw all the different Pick & Roll coverages in the EuroLeague basketball: drop, hedge, under, ice, double, switch. Doncic was forced to make the right reads quickly which made him, who is now.

Slovenian wunderkind found innovative and mastered new ways of scoring outside, without whom, he might not have been so successful in the strongest basketball league.

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2022-01-10
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Luka Doncic

Luka  Doncic
Team: Dallas Mavericks
Position: SG
Age: 22
Height: 201 cm
Weight: 99 kg
Birth place: Slovenia