Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd praised point guard Luka Dončić for "carrying the team" after scoring over 30 points in each of the season's first seven games.
Dončić poured in 33 points during Wednesday's 103-100 victory over the Utah Jazz, which brought his scoring average to a league-leading 36.1, which is the third-highest mark through seven games in the NBA over the past 60 years behind only Michael Jordan (37.0 in 1986-87) and James Harden (36.6 in 2019-20), per ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
"That's rare air and we get to see that on a nightly basis," Kidd said. "That's pretty cool. A 23-year-old kid that is playing on this level is really, really special to see. He can do it in so many ways, when you talk about posting up or getting to the basket, shooting the three or shooting that little step back. It's really cool to watch, and it just shows the focus that he has right now."
Scoring at least 30 points in seven straight games to open a season has only been accomplished by two other players: Wilt Chamberlain, who did it twice, and Jack Twyman, per MacMahon.
Dončić's impact goes far beyond his point totals, too. He's also averaging 9.0 assists (fifth in the NBA), 8.9 rebounds (22nd) and 1.7 steals (11th) while shooting a career-best 51.4 percent from the field.
"I'm trying to win games," the early MVP front-runner told reporters after Wednesday's win. "The player that scores more, you're going to win the game. I think today was one of the best games that I've played. Not forcing a lot. Sharing the ball."
It's hard to overstate his value to the Mavs. He's led the team in points and assists in all seven games so far, and he's also paced the team in rebounds four times.
Dallas hasn't been able to fully capitalize on that terrific play with a modest 4-3 record, but its three losses are by just 10 combined points, which is a promising.
"Amazing, but I'm not surprised," Mavs guard Spencer Dinwiddie said about Dončić's play. "Luka's a savant in every sense of the word as it applies to basketball. Nothing shocks me. Obviously, he's young and the best is yet to come. I think he's going to set a lot of records for the Mavs and be in the conversation with the greats."
Dončić will attempt to keep his hot start alive Friday night when the Mavericks welcome the Toronto Raptors (5-3) to the American Airlines Center.