Going into this season it would not have been unreasonable to predict that Luka Doncic might regress after an incredible rookie season that saw him take home the Rookie of the Year award. However, Luka Doncic has not only not regressed but has elevated his level of play to another level. A quarter of the way into the 2019-2020 NBA season, Doncic has averaged 30.1 ppg, 10.0 rpg, and 9.5 apg with a 62.5% true shooting percentage. If he keeps these numbers up for the rest of the season, this would be an all-time great season in NBA history. However, when you remember that he is only 20 years old, these numbers are even more ludicrous. This prompts the question: is Luka Doncic having the greatest age 20 season of all-time?
First, let’s establish some criteria. I will not compare Doncic to any centers or power forwards and will just limit the search to players that play similar positions to Doncic. Doncic is a modern-day unicorn so it is pretty unclear what position he plays, so I will include point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards in the search. Now let’s compare him to other all-time greats’ second season.
To start off, let’s compare Doncic to the greatest player of the current generation: Lebron James. In Lebron James’ sophomore season, he averaged 27.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, and 7.2 apg with a 55.4% true shooting percentage. While these numbers are incredibly impressive from a 20-year-old, Lebron did lead the league that year in minutes per game, playing an average of 42.4 minutes per game. However, Doncic is putting up better numbers so far in only 34 minutes a night on greater efficiency. Looking at the statistics it is clear to see that Doncic is having a far superior sophomore season in the NBA.
Now, let’s compare Doncic to none other than Michael Jordan. Jordan missed pretty much all of his second year due to injury, so it is unfair to evaluate Jordan’s second year. However, in Jordan’s third year, or his second full year in the NBA, he put up one of the greatest seasons in NBA history, averaging 37.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, and 4.6 apg on a 56.2% true shooting percentage. Clearly, Jordan’s second full season was superior to Doncic’s second season, however, it is important to note that Jordan was already 23 during his second season.
Essentially, by doing a simple comparison to the two greatest players in NBA history, we can determine that Luka Doncic is in fact, assuming no regression, on pace to have the greatest age-20 season of all time, but not the greatest sophomore season of all time.