Luka Doncic: 'I Don't Believe I Should Be in the MVP Conversation This Year'

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IFebruary 12, 2021

Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic handles the ball during an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks in Dallas, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is having a solid start to the NBA season, averaging 27.8 points, 9.3 assists and 8.7 rebounds through 25 games.

And while those numbers rank him toward the top of the leaderboards, he doesn't expect to be honored for his performance with the game's top award.

"Honestly, I don't believe I should be in the MVP conversation this year," he told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith (9:10 mark). 

The 21-year-old's reasoning has less to do with his individual performance and more with his assessment of his team.

The Mavericks are just 12-14 this season, ranking 11th in the Western Conference. Dallas is entering Friday's tip against the New Orleans Pelicans off a three-game winning streak that saw it defeat the Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and Atlanta Hawks, but all were tight affairs. The largest margin of victory came against Minnesota, when the Mavs won by five points.

Bookending that were the two-point victory over Golden State and a one-point win over the Hawks. 

While the Mavericks are an average team at this point, Doncic's success shouldn't be overlooked. On Wednesday against Atlanta, he reached 30 career triple-doubles in the second-fewest number of games in league history. It took him 146 games, 44 fewer games than it took Magic Johnson (190 games).

The record set by Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson (75 games) is safe, though. 

His strong 2019-20 season, when he came close to averaging a triple-double (28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists) had him in contention before the award went to Giannis Antetokounmpo for the second consecutive season.

This could be his year, but in his view, the Mavericks have to step it up first.