Luka Doncic: I Shouldn't Be MIP Award Finalist over Hornets' Devonte' Graham

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2020

Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte' Graham (4) reacts during an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Monday, March 9, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

Luka Doncic has ascended to become easily one of the 10 best players in basketball in his second NBA season. He just doesn't think that level of improvement merits being in the Most Improved Player conversation.

The Dallas Mavericks star, who is a finalist for the award alongside Bam Adebayo and Brandon Ingram, said he believes Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte' Graham is more deserving.

"Take me off the list and put Devonte' Graham on there. I don't deserve to be on there," Doncic told Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

Doncic has a point. While his progression has been noteworthy, it was more of a natural year one to year two leap for a future superstar. Had Doncic not made this improvement, some may have considered his sophomore NBA season a disappointment.

Graham, meanwhile, blossomed from looking like a G Leaguer his first NBA season to getting some outside All-Star consideration. Here is a breakdown of how his first two seasons looked:

2018-19: 4.7 PPG, 2.6 APG, 1.4 RPG, 34.3 FG%, 28.1 3PT%

2019-20: 18.2 PPG, 7.5 APG, 3.4 RPG, 38.2 FG%, 37.3 3PT%

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The leap is nothing short of astounding and on par with those made by Adebayo and Ingram, who are considered the two favorites for the award.

Graham's case was likely damaged by the Hornets' 23-42 record and spending the season well out of the national purview. He is also simply not on the level on his best day as the three nominees, all of whom should wind up multi-time All-Stars.

That said, by the definition of "most improved," Doncic is correct.