DALLAS – The NBA announced Tuesday that Mavericks rookie guard/forward Luka Dončić was selected to compete for the World Team in the 2019 MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars game at All-Star 2019, where Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki will serve as an honorary coach for the international squad. The game will take place at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, Feb. 15, and will air live on TNT at 8 p.m. CT.
It marks the second straight year that the Mavericks will be represented in the annual Rookie/Sophomore game showcasing the league’s top young talent (Dennis Smith Jr. played for the U.S. Team at All-Star 2018 in Los Angeles).
Dončić (6-7, 218), the reigning two-time Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month, finished third overall in fan voting for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game (behind only LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo). The last rookie to rank that high was Grant Hill, who led the entire league in fan voting in 1995.
The former EuroLeague MVP is averaging a team-high 20.5 points, 6.9 rebounds (2nd on the team), 5.4 assists (2nd on the team), 1.2 steals (2nd on the team) and 32.1 minutes per game (2nd on the team) in 48 games (all starts) this season. He is one of only nine NBA players averaging at least 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists per game in 2018-19 (James Harden, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Jokić, Antetokounmpo and James are the others).
Among all rookies in 2018-19, Dončić ranks first in scoring (20.5 ppg), second in assists (5.4 apg), third in rebounding (6.9 rpg), third in steals (1.2 spg) and first in minutes (32.1 mpg). He would become just the third rookie in league history to average at least 20-6-5 for a season, joining Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan. Dončić has also knocked down 114 3-pointers this year (114-of-321, .355), which is already the most by a Mavericks rookie in team history.
Through 48 career games, the 19-year-old has produced six 30-point efforts, 27 20-point games and nine double-doubles. Dončić also tallied two triple-doubles in a four-game span from Jan. 21 to Jan. 27 (18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists at Milwaukee on Jan. 21; 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists vs. Toronto on Jan. 27), becoming the first teenager in NBA history to record multiple triple-doubles.
The 6-7 Slovenian has scored 77 points in clutch time (when the score is within 5 points in the final 5 minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime), which ranks 11th among all NBA players this season (and first among rookies).
After averaging 18.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in his first 20 games in October/November, Dončić averaged 21.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per contest in his 15 games during the month of December. He made a career-high seven 3-pointers en route to scoring 34 points at New Orleans on Dec. 28, becoming the only teenager in league history to hit seven triples in a game.
Through his first 13 games in January, Dončić is averaging 22.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists per outing. He registered 25-plus points in five consecutive games from Jan. 7 to Jan. 16, becoming the first rookie to score 25-plus points in five straight games since Stephen Curry in 2010 (5 games from April 4-11, 2010). He also tallied at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in four consecutive games from Jan. 9 to Jan. 16, becoming the first rookie to post such a streak since Jordan in 1984-85 (Jordan had two that year).
Dončić has totaled 67 points, 20 rebounds and 18 assists over his last two contests. After going for a team-high 32 points, eight rebounds and a team-high eight assists in Dallas’ 106-101 win over Detroit on Jan. 25, the rookie posted a career-high (game-high) 35 points, career-high (game-high) 12 rebounds and a game-high 10 assists against Toronto on Jan. 27. Dončić, who doesn’t turn 20 until Feb. 28, became the first teenager in NBA history to record a 30-point triple-double. He also joined Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Jason Kidd, Robertson, Jordan and Curry as one of only seven rookies ever to produce a 35-point triple-double.
Dončić was originally selected by Atlanta with the third overall pick in this past year’s draft, before having his draft rights traded to Dallas in exchange for the draft rights to the fifth overall pick Trae Young and a protected 2019 first-round pick. He has led Dallas to a 18-7 (.739) record at home this season.
Nowitzki (7-0, 245), the honorary coach for the World Team, hails from Würzburg, Germany. He is in his 21st season with the Mavericks – an NBA-record for a player to suit up for a single franchise. The 13-time All-Star ranks first among international players and seventh all-time in career scoring with 31,254 points. Nowitzki played in the 2000 Rising Stars game.
The head coaches for the MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars game will be an assistant coach from each 2019 NBA All-Star Game coaching staff. The All-Star Game coaching staffs are determined by the best record in each conference through games played on Sunday, Feb. 3.
NBA assistant coaches were again responsible for selecting the players to compete in the Rising Stars game this year. The coaches were required to vote for four frontcourt players, four guards and two additional players at either position, in order of preference, for each team (U.S. Team and World Team). They were also required to vote for a minimum of three rookies and three sophomores for each team.