Later today we will find out who will be crowned the Rookie of the Year for the 2018-2019 season. During the first half of the season Dallas Mavericks rookie, Luka Doncic came out like a man on a mission. Averaging 18.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game in just his first 20 games in the league. During this time, Doncic recorded 198 points, 66 rebounds, and 44 assists in just his first ten games in the NBA. The only other teenager to achieve that feat is Hall of Famer Oscar Robinson.
WIth two months under his belt in the NBA Doncic was the clear front runner to win the Rookie of the year award, and the majority of the basketball world believed that the Dallas Mavericks won the draft day trade with the Atlanta Hawks. Due to Hawks rookie Trae Young’s slow start at the beginning of the season, but he was able to come on strong after the All-Star break in February averaging 25.8 points, 9.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. Young would later become the eighth rookie to score 35 points and dish out 11 assists against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Young even received endorsements from fellow NBA players such as Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzma, and Blake Griffin. Following his double-double game of 32 points and 11 assists on the Philadelphia 76ers.
Doncic has received a lot of praise as well as former and current NBA players.
Enter former Slam Dunk Champion, Cedric Ceballos, who recently shared why he thinks Luka Doncic should be Rookie of the year.
“Luka Doncic should be the Rookie of the Year because of the year-long process of him getting it. Now, this has happened before, ironically in Dallas and in Detriot with Jason Kidd and Grant Hill. Grant Hill got it early and matter fact, I played against Grant Hill on his open day game. He got a loss, but 25 points, I think got 12 rebounds and six assists something like that incredible numbers and he hit a hill.
The closest one to Luka is Trae Young and he came along after All-Star break because he had to figure it out just like Jason Kidd. Jason Kidd’s first couple of months he was trying to figure it out too. Then, once he figured it out boom both of them Hall of Famers, but I don’t how the voting goes. I am still trying to figure out the All-Star vote work because I can’t figure that out.
In my book, Luka Doncic has done it all year. He has made more big plays and more game-changing plays as much as, Trae Young is nicknamed Ice Tray because of his coolness to his name. Luka has been doing it with a smile on his face for 82 games.“
Back in April, I spoke with reigning Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons and asked him his opinion on who was his choice for Rookie of the Year?
— Landon Buford (@LandonBuford) April 1, 2019
Luka replied Ben Simmons.
Why did Simmons Pick Luka?
“Same reason as last year. He [Luka Doncic] is playing better, his team’s winning more games. Trae Young is killin’ it. Same as Donovan. But it’s just, overall, I think Luka’s team has played a little better,” said Simmons.
Luka was averaging 20.7 points on 43% shooting per game compared to Young, who averaged 16.9 points on 40.6% shooting before the All-Star break. In the month of November, Doncic averaged 17.7 points per game on 43.3% shooting from the floor, while the rest of the field only shot 35.5%. He also shot an impressive 36.8% from behind the arc, while Young was only 19 percent from three. Doncic has also recorded seven triple-double in his rookie season and was only two shy of tying former Maverick Jason Kidd’s team record per The Crossover’s Alaa Abdeldaiem.
As for Trae, he has been shooting 45% from the floor and 38.8% from behind the three-point line. Young has also recorded nine of his 24 double-doubles during the same time period. Including four consecutively in late March and becoming the third rookie to score 40 plus points and dish out ten assists. The other two were Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
Meanwhile, Doncic’s numbers post the All-Star break look like this 22.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 7.0 assists, but his shooting percentage from the field and behind the arc has dipped to 39% and 22.5 respectfully. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle did mention Luka being fatigue earlier this season.
Young responded to what Ben Simmons said a couple of days later when Chris Kirschner from The Athletic asked him about it.
“Yeah, I saw it, but I don’t pay too much attention to it. Maybe he thinks differently now,” said Young.
Doncic would also respond, “I mean it is great what other players think about my ability, but I have to say there is too much talking about it. There is a lot of media and I just don’t want to talk about it and I just want to focus on the next game,” Doncic told me.
The person will be crowned the 2018-2019 Rookie of the Year will be named to tonight during the NBA Awards on TNT.