Overreaction #4: Your 2023-24 MVP: Luka Doncic
Entering the season, most straw polls put one of the past two winners at top of the MVP race: Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic and Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid. Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic made a splash to start the year, trying to edge his way towards the top.
The Mavs were one of the last teams to take a loss this season and the play of its perennial All-Star was the biggest reason why. During the first three games of the year, Doncic averaged 39 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 9.7 assists per game, hitting 55.6 percent of his shots and 48.6 percent from three.
Obviously, those ridiculous numbers aren’t sustainable, though perhaps the Slovenian’s improved shooting from three is an indicator of him taking his game to the next level. His numbers through seven games are down to a measly 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 8.9 assists per game. His field goal percentage and three-point percentage have also dropped, though Dallas has only dropped one game.
Doncic has received MVP votes in each of the last four seasons, never finishing worse than eighth in the voting. He’s also never finished better than fourth, which came four years ago now.
If MVP voting was done by Basketball-Reference’s win shares – which it is not – Doncic wouldn’t finish in the top five this season, either. As of the Election Day pause, Doncic ranked sixth in total win shares, a category led by Jokic. The others in front of him: Anthony Davis, Steph Curry, Embiid, and Tyrese Maxey.
That just shows the uphill climb Doncic has, especially considering how many of those players are already MVP Award winners. Doncic’s hot start should excite Mavs fans, but it’s an overreaction to say it will sway MVP voters his way.