Luka Doncic Wins 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year over Trae Young, DeAndre Ayton

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2019

Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic reacts after missing a foul shot late in the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 100-99. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks small forward Luka Doncic was announced as the winner of the NBA Rookie of the Year Award at the 2019 NBA Awards show Monday night.

He ended up receiving 98 out of a possible 100 first place votes, with Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young earning the other two.

Doncic's former teammate Dirk Nowitzki congratulated him on Twitter:

Dallas acquired Doncic as part of a draft-night trade last June that saw Young dealt to the Hawks. No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NBA draft DeAndre Ayton was a finalist, as well.

The 20-year-old Slovenia native had already built an impressive resume overseas, highlighted by winning EuroLeague MVP and EuroLeague Final Four MVP honors last year while helping lead Real Madrid to the competition's 2018 championship.

So perhaps it should have come as no surprise he was best prepared to make the NBA transition.

Doncic averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.3 threes and 1.1 steals across 72 appearances for the Mavs. Among rookies, he ranked third in player efficiency rating and second in estimated wins added, according to ESPN.com.

His level of immediate success even caught him off guard.

"I knew I could play over here," Doncic told Marc Stein of the New York Times in February, "but it's better than I expected, for sure."

Doncic's arrival also represented a "circle of life" situation. The Mavericks have been led by fellow versatile European Nowitzki for the past two decades, and now, with Nowitzki retiring at the end of the regular season, Doncic takes over as the new face of the franchise for Dallas.

If his career resume comes anywhere close to Dirk's, the Mavs will have hit the jackpot. Winning Rookie of the Year is a perfect start.

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