Luka Doncic Falls Short Of Top 3 In MVP Voting; Is MIP Finalist

Mike Fisher

DALLAS - Maybe the voting would've gone differently had the NBA not made the odd decree that the 2019-20 NBA MVP Award would include only games played before the March 11 COVID-19-forced hiatus. After all, why should Luka Doncic's work in the Orlando Bubble - where in his first three games he averaged 34 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists and one block per game - be discounted?

READ MORE: Luka is 'Kareem-Like' In Win Over Kings

Alas, the Dallas Mavericks' 21-year-old superstar will have to wait another year for full MVP recognition, as on Saturday afternoon the NBA released the list of top-three finalists: Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee, LeBron James of the Lakers and James Harden of Houston.

Luka is, however, one of three finalists for the Most Improved Player Award - a special feat for a player who was Rookie of the Year a season ago.

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By design, only the top three get mentioned in this announcement; surely Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, Doncic and maybe others (Damian Lillard in Portland? Anthony Davis of the Lakers) will get attention from the panel of media voters in some capacity.

The (frozen-on-March-11) stats for each of the top contenders:

Giannis - 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks

LeBron - 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 10.6 assists, 1.2 steals

Harden - 34.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.7 steals

Luka - 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists, 1.1 steals

Kawhi - 26.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.8 steals

There is no argument against "The Greek Freak.'' Or "The King.'' Or "The Beard.'' Therefore, these voting results represent no diss against Doncic, or of his steady climb of recognition for his greatness. In Luka's first season, he was the overwhelming winner of the Rookie of the Year trophy. In this, his second season, he was a first-team All-Star.

And next year? For the triple-double machine who is the centerpiece reason for the Dallas franchise turnaround as it prepares to enter the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2016?

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has said he wouldn’t trade Luka Doncic for anybody. At the rate Doncic is growing, eventually, we bet, MVP voters see it the same way.

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