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Top Gun: Maverick Luka Doncic Has His Eyes on Prizes
OK, that’s a cheesy headline, but sometimes I have the need for milk-it speed.
That’s Jay Leno-lame.
This is getting worse as it goes along, but also I confess that I’m one of the few Americans left that hasn’t seen Tom Cruise’s supposed masterpiece. So sue me.
But not Scientologists because that seems scary, as in, I might disappear.
What we’re about to talk about you religious freaks and fanatics (nah, it’s fine) is the odds on the Mavericks winning the title, which is not going to happen, and Luka Doncic winning the Most Valuable Player award, which I do think is going to happen.
Here’s what I wrote back on Sept. 29 when the season hadn’t started as I made my picks for the 2023 NBA season awards:
The pick: Luka Doncic (+425)
“Speaking of Ja Morant, I was tempted to pick him at an incredible +1500 odds, but I think he’s a year away. Health issues are always a concern and Doncic is no exception (he’s missed an average of 18 games in each of the past three seasons) but he’s improved every year in every category during his four seasons in the league – and he’s still just 23 years old. For the past three preseasons, he’s been listed as the favorite to win the league’s top individual honor. With Jalen Brunson off to New York, after signing with the Knicks, Luka will need to carry even more of the scoring load this season (he was third in the league last season with 28.4 ppg). I think he’s poised to join Dirk Nowitzki as the only regular-season MVP in Dallas’s franchise history.”
Doncic just finished off perhaps the greatest individual performance in an NBA game, because, statistically, it’s never been done before. How’s this: 60 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists.
He wanted a “recovery beer” and Slovenia (hello, homeland) responded in kind.
In 2019, Doncic said this, which became a headline for “The Washington Post”:
Start believing that this kid might be correct.
Doncic is quickly closing in on the league’s scoring leader, currently Philly’s Joel Embiid.
And, look, there’s a long way to go with this season – the regular schedule doesn’t even end until Sunday, April 9, 2023, so put that in your memory bank as we move into the new year – and teams will start finding ways to stop Doncic from dropping 60.
Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria, Tim Duncan of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Steve Nash of Canada, Dirk Nowitzki of Germany, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, and Nikola Jokic of Serbia are the only foreign-born NBA players to win MVP.
But, in the last four seasons, the trophy has gone to Giannis twice (back to back) and The Joker, also twice back to back.
Everyone to a person that’s watched enough basketball knew this Luka dude was unique. And special. And all the rest.
The definition of the most valuable player is: “the player who contributes the most to his or her team's success.”
Here’s what I suggest: Using odds from FanDuel, one of our favorite wagering sites, among many, Doncic is still at +400, below talented Celtics star Jayson Tatum (+340) and the crazy-good Greek freak Antetokounmpo (+390).
But I’m telling ya right now, don’t take the Mavericks to win the NBA title (+3600) or even the West (+1600). Too many better teams.
However, I like Luka to win MVP.