Luka Magic – We Are Not Worthy

stephendataviz

Luka Doncic is good – no shit. You don’t need stats and graphs to tell you that.

Just go back and watch the last game vs the Clippers & it is very clear that Doncic is a different breed. His step back 3 may be as unstoppable a shot as Dirk’s famous fadeaway. 

When Dirk retired I remember distinctively thinking that we as Mavs fans were lucky – soak it all in because there’s no way this will ever happen again. Unfortunately, I was ready for the team to revert back to the lifeless 90’s Mavs.

Looking back on the Mavs success, Dirk bailed Mark Cuban out over the years – his ability to craft a roster has been shaky at best.

I’m old enough to remember the Raef Lafrentz/Eddie Najara years & unfortunately was still following during the OJ Mayo/Darren Collison years. Take a look at the draft picks since 2000 – would you bet that the Mavs would be competent enough to find another superstar after Dirk? I sure didn’t.

Besides Luka/Trae Young – the top 3 draft picks in order are: Josh Howard, Kelly Olynyk, & Jalen Brunson/BJ Mullens? Yikes.

Fast forward to 2018 & we are gifted Luka – s/o Vlade & the Kings for being the Kings. Now as we sit on 8/2/2020 before a huge game 5 for the Mavs – I think it’s time to say with certainty that Luka is the greatest European player of all time.

Our first visual compares Luka’s 1st 4 playoff games vs Dirk’s 1st 4 playoff games. It is obviously a small sample, but Luka is better in every major statistical category (points, rebounds, assists, FG%, & 3pt%).

Now this doesn’t tell us the whole story, since it is such a small sample size, but it’s important to note one thing. At the same time in their careers – Luka is head and shoulders ahead of Dirk in every major statistical category.

Our next visual compares playoff individual game score* (game score is a formula that combines all major categories to give a single number to quantify a single player’s productivity) for Dirk & Luka. The y-axis is Ind Game Score, the x-axis is career playoff game #, red is Luka, & blue is Dirk. The black shaded area are all the games where ind game score was < than Luka’s in game 4 vs the Clips. Spoiler: it’s a lot of them.

What Luka did in game 4 was special – he had a game score of 37.6 & won the game (not to mention the sprained ankle, Porzingis being injured, & the freakin game-winner). So special that the greatest European born player of all time has only accomplished this feat THREE TIMES (he lost 1 game where game score > 37.6).

I’m going to retype that because it is literally ridiculous. In Dirk’s HOF career of 145 playoff games, he won the game & had a game score of 37.6 only THREE TIMES. Luka has already accomplished this once in 4 games.

Obviously it is very early in Luka’s career & there are many things that can happen between now and playoff game 145, but I’m confident in saying that Luka has surpassed Dirk as the greatest European player of all time.

Luka & the Mavs will not win the Championship this year & that is okay. We are way ahead of the plan – all we need to do is be patient, sit back, & watch Luka magic – because there is no way Mavs fans will be this lucky 3 times in a row. Go Mavs.

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*Individual Game Score: PTS + 0.4 * FG – 0.7 * FGA – 0.4*(FTA – FT) + 0.7 * ORB + 0.3 * DRB + STL + 0.7 * AST + 0.7 * BLK – 0.4 * PF – TOV. Game Score was created by John Hollinger to give a rough measure of a player’s productivity for a single game. The scale is similar to that of points scored, (40 is an outstanding performance, 10 is an average performance, etc.).

Image Credit: Copyright: Pool Photo

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