Luka Doncic is the most productive rookie in the NBA. He is also the smiliest goof I can remember ever seeing on its basketball courts. This passage from Rob Mahoney’s nice SI profile of the Mavericks’ Slovenian teen rang true:
While standing under the rim, Dončić fooled Jazz center Rudy Gobert by faking a pass around the back of the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Gobert swiveled, and Dončić smirked his way to an uncontested layup.
“I’ve never seen a guy enjoy the game so much during it,” Mavs guard J.J. Barea says. “If he does something good, he can’t stop smiling. Even in practice.”
Dončić is always smiling—by himself, with his teammates, even with Mark Cuban yammering in his ear, whenever.
Add to that list: on the bench, out with a right hip injury, in last night’s 114-110 win over the Clippers, watching a late-game Dennis Smith Jr. stop.
By the letter of the law, that isn’t quite a smile, but it’s, uh, something.