Dallas Mavericks sensation Luka Dončić won Rookie of the Year honors Monday night at the annual NBA Awards, inexplicably broadcast live on TNT, which presumably ran out of rerun episodes of Bones with which to fill their primetime schedule.
Less surprising than Dončić winning the award was the final voting margin. Atlanta’s Trae Young had an excellent second half, and Dončić faded somewhat down the stretch, after the Mavericks traded away several of his best teammates. It would not have registered as a seismic shock had Young narrowly won the award. Instead, Dončić was a near-unanimous choice:
Dončić led the Mavericks in points and assists, finished second in rebounds at 7.8 per game, finished in the top 25 in the NBA in scoring, and put up a respectable 55 percent true shooting percentage while using a star-like 29.3 percent of Mavericks possessions. That level of production puts Dončić in some pretty rarified company:
This shouldn’t necessarily factor into award voting, but it’s especially impressive that Dončić did all this as a teenager who’d never played basketball in America before joining the NBA. None of this should prevent you from calling him an absolute clown fraud and insisting that the award rightly belongs to DeAndre Ayton, as is your God-given right as a sports fan.