If the world still had their doubts about Dallas Mavericks' superstar Luka Doncic, they're looking only more silly by the day. Doncic is finally playing under the brightest lights and is solidifying his impending legendary career in the making as each game passes. For the first time in his career, the 23-year-old finds himself in the Western Conference Finals (WCF) and admits it's the best he's ever felt.
"Honestly I never expected to be here, so I'm living my best life right now, this is the dream," Doncic told reporters during Tuesday's practice.
During his third playoff run, Doncic is leading the Playoffs in scoring with 31.5 points a game and 10.1 rebounds. He's tied with Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green for most assists average in the post-season with 6.6 a game and is only behind Miami Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler in steals with 1.9 a game.
To say that Doncic is the best player in the Playoffs is an understatement. Every single team left should be put on notice as he's averaging 38.3 points per game (highest in NBA history) in elimination games.
Like his haters, Doncic was in doubt too.
Speaking of elimination games, Doncic admitted that he was restless before Game 7 against the Phoenix Suns. But based on his performance, where Luka put up an easy 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists in 31 minutes, that didn't bother him as Doncic orchestrated one of the most excellent Game 7 performances in history.
"I was worried. Before Game 7, I was saying 'This might be my last game of the NBA season,' but I wasn't ready. I wanted to play basketball still. I get to play at least four, you never know. I'm just happy to be playing basketball," Doncic said.
In the series against the Suns, the young superstar averaged more points than Devin Booker, more rebounds than Deandre Ayton, more assists than Chris Paul, and more steals than Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) candidate Mikhail Bridges. So yes, it's hard to blame him for feeling like he's living his best life after outplaying the whole Suns' roster.
But the Warriors are a different monster.
As Doncic approaches his first WCF, he can't get too complacent just yet. The Warriors are waiting for him, and unlike the Suns, the former is a different beast in the post-season that has won three championships in the last decade.
The Warriors and Mavs have two different playing styles: one team relies on systematic ball movement engined by Steph Curry and his fellow shooters, while the other has an helio-centric style approach featuring a 23-year-old who has a chance to solidify his case as the best player in the Association.
The series will boil down to who plays the best defense, which team executes their game plan better, and makes their shots when it matters most. Doncic has proven he can step up in high-stakes games but can his teammates follow his lead? The Warriors aren't as sharpened as they have to be, but they always find ways to take over games by trusting their system and principles.
The Warriors-Mavericks series will be a dogfight, and it'll be interesting to see if Doncic continues to live his best life or if the Warriors will make it hell for him in the following days.