No player accomplished as much in such a short time and such a young age as the latest player to be revealed as a member of the 2010-20 EuroLeague All-Decade team, Luka Doncic. In just three Turkish Airlines EuroLeague seasons with Real Madrid, Doncic dominated the competition like few players ever have. His average performance index rating for the 2017-18 season, 21.6, ranks 10th in the 2010s and Doncic was just 18 years old when he did so.
"We played as a team all season even when we had a lot of injuries and many problems because of that. In the end, we played together, as a team, and that was one of the keys to winning," Doncic said after winning the EuroLeague title in an interview on May 28, 2018.
"Everyone asks me if I feel the pressure but I say 'No, it's just a game.' It's just a game of basketball. As I said, I was born to play and I love playing. I love the sport and there's no pressure when you're doing what you love," Doncic told EuroLeague.net at the beginning of that season.
Doncic was 16 years old when he made his EuroLeague debut with Real Madrid in the 2015-16 season. He already showed hints of his potential, getting 12 points against CSKA Moscow and reaching 10 and 6 rebounds in a playoff game against Fenerbahce Istanbul. A year later, Doncic was chosen unanimously as the 2016-17 EuroLeague Rising Star by the competition's head coaches after he averaged 7.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 35 games. When 2016-17 EuroLeague MVP Sergio Llull was felled by knee injury, Doncic rose up in his place and dominated like no other teenager in European basketball history. Doncic led Real to the 2017-18 EuroLeague title, earning Rising Star, EuroLeague MVP and Final Four MVP honors that season to establish himself as a once-in-a-generation player.
Only three players - Anthony Parker of Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, Dejan Bodiroga of Panathinaikos Athens in 2001-02 and Nando De Colo of CSKA Moscow in 2015-16 – have ever won the EuroLeague title with a higher PIR average than Doncic. All of them were 28 years of age or older at the time. Doncic was just 18!
Donic had one big game after another to start the 2017-18 season. He scored at least 27 in three of his first four games that season and went for a EuroLeague career-high 33 in Round 11 on the road against Olympiacos Piraeus. A week later in El Clasico against FC Barcelona, Doncic made sure the world took notice. His numbers – 16 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists – were pretty pedestrian for Doncic, but his two highlights took the buzz around the teenage talent to new heights. He ended the third quarter with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from almost the length of the court before lighting up WiZink Center with his smile. Doncic put the finishing touches on the game late in the fourth quarter by twice crossing over Barcelona forward Victor Claver before "breaking the ankles" of the latter and then setting up Felipe Reyes for an easy layup. The Doncic hype train never slowed again.