Slovenian wunderkind Luka Doncic is having another remarkable NBA season, almost averaging a triple-double for an entire season. He is one of the best players in the league, despite the fact the Mavericks haven’t been playing great as a team lately. Now that Luka is in his third NBA season, everybody knows he is much more than your standard NBA All-Star and an exceptional player. Unfortunately, when he initially came to the NBA, there were many discussions about whether he will be a bust or not, with many people skeptical about what he is all about and later finding out how wrong they were.
One of those people who admit they were wrong is none other than former NBA players Gilbert Arenas. He made a guest appearance on Whistle Sports to break down what makes Luka so successful in the NBA today and how he initially thought he would be too slow for the NBA.
I really fell in love with Luka. I was watching him coming to the draft process, and I was like, the guy is too slow. I have no idea how he’s going to take his shot off.Gilbert Arenas, via Whistle Sports
According to Arenas, what separates Luka from other players is that he is a big point guard that is so fundamentally sound he can play multiple positions in the game. Luka is so polished offensively and understands the game so well; he can easily maneuver his way even if a very athletic player is guarding him.
Luka is just different. At 6’8, 6’9, being a point guard, being a shooter, being able to understand the fundamentals vs. raw athleticism. There is a reason he is performing the way he is vs. others in the past. Just give him the ball and let him go, and you can see, no matter if it’s at the one or the two spot, his dominance still shows.Gilbert Arenas, via Whistle Sports
One of the biggest things that separate players from Europe are that they are fundamentally sound and can shoot the ball. The way young players are developed is much different than the way things are done in the US. Remember, Luka started playing professionally at a very early age, which also gives him an advantage in terms of recognizing certain situations most players don’t. Arenas believes some US players and the NBA never properly learn the fundamentals of the game and get by through their careers using their athleticism.
Luka is fundamental. He has that old Duke fundamental. He’s sound, good footwork, reaction, ability to create shots. I think that is what really sets him and a lot of Euro players apart. They learn fundamentals first. The league he came from, everybody is fundamentally sound. You get drafted to the big league, here in America, where our athleticism kicks in so much that it becomes a stand-out. We learn fundamentals later in our careers if we ever actually do.Gilbert Arenas, via Whistle Sports
Luka’s ability to exploit explosive defenders separates him apart from everyone else, and he is living proof fundamentals will always be superior to raw athleticism. He is already playing like a veteran who’s been in the league for over a decade. However, then you realize Luka recently turned 21 and is not even in his prime, which is scary if you are the rest of the NBA.
Fundamentals kill raw athleticism, and that is what is going with Luka right now. Everyone wants to use their speed, 46-inch vertical, and they are always going to be out of position on a player like him. He is smart enough to understand being fundamentally sound is the most important key about sports. He understood that because he was a pro since 13 is given him that in his second year, he is averaging 30.Gilbert Arenas, via Whistle Sports
Even though he is having another great individual season, Luka’s performance doesn’t impact Dallas in standings lately, and they are in a bit of a slump. They had issues with injuries and players affected with COVID-19, but from a team looking like a playoff team, it seems they are struggling to get a win despite Luka putting up big numbers. The sky is the limit for this kid, but other players and the Mavs as a team will have to step up if they want to be considered as a serious squad for the playoffs.