DALLAS - Luka Doncic will start in the 2021 All-Star Game, the NBA announced Thursday night on TNT, the Dallas Mavericks young superstar joining the Warriors’ Steph Curry as the Western Conference top guards - and, via fan vote, edging out Portland’s Damian Lillard for the second starting spot.
Said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle on Thursday after practice. “He is one of the faces of the league, and he’s deserving to be an All-Star starter.”
Doncic’s second straight selection - in just three NBA season - matches Dirk Nowitzki’s two All-Star starts. It is therefore yet another gigantic step in Luka taking the Dirk "face of the franchise'' baton ... and running with it.
Doncic will be part of a lineup in the March 7 event that on paper will put him alongside Curry, the Lakers’ LeBron James, the Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic and the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard. In reality, NBA captains LeBron and the Nets’ Kevin Durant will draft teams.
But in any event - and along with any controversy that comes in the form of support for Lillard - Doncic’s appeal is as undeniable as his talent. He's scored 186 points in the Mavs' last five games, is an NBA triple-double machine, and presently ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring, third in assists and 18th in rebounding.
Luka, Carlisle said, "on the highest possible trajectory that a young player can be on.''