The NBA is a constantly evolving sport. While players could once get away with only staying at a single position, modern athletes switch between many defined roles. While specialists do exist, the lines between the different positions have become more and more blurred over time.
Luka Doncic is one example of that phenomenon. He’s an incredibly talented player who wears a lot of hats depending on what his team needs. I will analyze that versatility, and cover why it’s so important, below.
Jack of All Trades
Look on any stat sheet, and you’ll see Doncic listed as a point guard. However, the way he plays is not that straightforward.
He isn’t just a normal point guard who simply brings the ball up and looks to shoot or pass. Rather, he roams around the perimeter in a way that leads to easy baskets or open passes for everyone on his team.
There’s no doubt that he is the main play caller in the current Maverick’s lineup. Their entire scoring runs through him. However, unlike older players, he can either run the offense from the point or leak out to the wing and attack from that position.
In that way, Doncic plays both the point and shooting guard position. He’s the main ball handler, but isn’t afraid to move to the two when the situation calls for it.
A Powerful Forward
As strange as it may seem, Doncic isn’t always a guard. While he’s been a point/shooting guard for almost all of his short-but-successful career, he has played the power forward position every now and then as well. That may sound odd, but it’s not as big of a stretch in today’s NBA.
With the focus on outside shooting, the league has only gotten smaller and smaller over time. That’s not to say the players are shorter, but rather that offenses run with a lot of quicker athletes than traditional big, bulky centers. It is that shift that enabled Doncic to run the four.
By being down by the block, he can create threes or quick passing opportunities in unique ways. He’s not someone who’s going to post up every play, and his defense won’t be as strong when facing up against a larger forward, but he’s shown he can hold his own in a myriad of ways.
Doncic is definitely not a traditional power forward, and he’s never going to play that position if it can be helped. Even so, his ability to switch between the one, two, and four is one of the reasons he’s become the face of the entire Maverick’s franchise.
Blurred (Position) Lines
Doncic is an interesting case for many reasons, but, as anyone who watches the current NBA will tell you, he’s not as big of an anomaly as he first might seem. There are many plays blurring conventional position lines, making Doncic a sign of the times more than anything else.
As offenses continue to evolve and become much more offensively minded, they rely more on solid rotations, good spacing, and quick switches. Any player who can move into different places on the court and score effectively, becomes a big asset. That’s where Luka shines.
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Doncic is an elite scorer in today’s NBA. As with so many other top players, he doesn’t just slot into one role. Rather, he plays different positions as needed. That versatility is one of the reasons he’s separated from the pack.
While there’s no guarantee, it seems that more and more players will take on different roles as time goes forward. The ability to freely switch not only makes playing offense easier, but it helps everything run much more smoothly.