Ever since he was a kid and started bouncing a ball while watching his father play and train, Luka Doncic has achieved everything he has set out to do in the world of basketball.

He has done it in a meteoric fashion, always ahead of schedule. He was a quick learner and had a huge innate talent that did not go unnoticed by Real Madrid, who signed him as a child.

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At the age of 13 he won the ‘Minicopa’ with Los Blancos, at 16 he made his debut with the first team and made an ever-increasing impact, contributing to the conquest of three league titles and two Copa del Rey.

In between, he won the 2017 Eurobasket with Slovenia being included in the ideal five of the tournament. And with just 19 he was crowned MVP of the ACB and won the Euroleague being nominated MVP of the tournament and the Final Four before leaving for the NBA.

Making his name in the NBA

At the very top level of basketball, the NBA, he proved from the first day he put on the Mavericks jersey that he was a special player, with a gift for playing this sport, a leader called to be one of the best players on the planet.

He was named rookie of the year and his contribution and statistics grew exponentially, but despite his efforts his team could not dream of something big. In five years, he managed only three playoff appearances and one appearance in the West Finals in 2022 before falling to the Warriors (4-1).

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It was clear that Doncic‘s excellence was not enough to take his team to greater heights. The Slovenian star needed more support. The Mavs saw Jalen Brunson leave for the Knicks for free. They traded for Kyrie Irving, picked young center Dereck Lively in the draft, signed small forward Derrick Jones Jr. and in February in the winter trade market secured their future by making two more trades to add power forward PJ Washington and center Daniel Gafford to their roster in exchange for future draft picks. And those front-office moves have made Dallas a strong contender for the title.

The Mavericks can culminate their metamorphosis in the finals against the Boston Celtics. With Doncic at his peak, despite being only 25 years old, Irving ready to explode, and the defensive plus given by PJ Washington and especially Gafford and Lively, they are ready to win the title.

Going for the ring and the MVP crown

The former Madrid player, despite not being able to play at his best during almost all the playoffs due to a sprained knee, has been the best player in the title series with averages of 28.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the 17 games played. Doncic is going for the ring and the crown of MVP and best player in the world.

Dallas are back in the Finals 11 years later. In 2011 they faced LeBron James’ Miami Heat, who were heavy favorites, but ended up bowing out to a Mavs side inspired by Dirk Nowitzki. Just as then, Dallas appears in this final as the scapegoat of the Celtics, leaders of the regular league (64-18), unbeatable in the playoffs (12-2) and with the best starting five in the NBA. But just like in 2011, the Mavs have a chance to win. Nowitzki is no longer there, but Doncic, an absolutely unstoppable player, is.

Boston will do everything to try to thwart Doncic’s creativity. They are aware that the Mavs’ chances of getting close to the ring are in the hands of their star. But Luka has already shown against great teams that he is capable of getting rid of as many defenders as they put in front of him.

Celtics’ devastating starting five

The Celtics have a devastating starting five with Derrick White at the helm, escorted by an all-purpose player in Jrue Holiday and the universal jumper Jalen Brown, and with Jason Tatum, included in the best five of the season, and veteran Al Horford. It is team that is strong on defense, explosive on offense with many players capable of scoring, and that will recover for this final the Latvian giant Kristaps Porzingis, out since April 29 with a muscle injury in his leg. Everything indicates that he is ready to make his comeback.

In the regular season they benefited from the injury of Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Bucks and Joel Embiid in the Sixers, teams that were going to be their main competitors.

And in the title series they also benefited from the injury to Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton. After strolling past the Heat (4-1), Cavs (4-1) and Pacers (4-0), the Mavs will be their toughest test yet.

Two lethal pairings

The showdown that will steal the spotlight is the one between the NBA’s two best outside lineups. Four players who make a difference on their own and have been at their best in the playoffs. Doncic (28.8+9.6+8.8) and Irving (22.8+3.9+5.2) are the bread and butter of the Mavs. And the fearsome ‘Jays, Tatum (26+10.4+10.4+5.9) and Brown (25+6.1+2.6) are lethal.

They have only met twice this season and both times the Celtics won. First in Dallas (110-119) despite Doncic (33+18+14) and then in Boston (138-110), making another exhibition of Luka (37+12+11) sterile. The ‘Jays’ were the best of the Greens wielding great averages: Tatum (35.5+9.5) and Brown (29.5+5).

Doncic faces the biggest challenge of his career: “I’m excited to play my first final in my sixth season, it means a lot to me. I will try to give my best and lead the team to win the title,” he says. “It’s not easy. It has been a hard road, but we are here. We know the difficulty and the challenge of facing a historic team like the Celtics, with players with a lot of quality and experience like Tatum and Brown.”

His rivals hold him in high esteem: “Luka is a player I have a lot of respect for, I’m excited to be able to face him. We are prepared for the intensity that Doncic and Irving will bring,” says Tatum. His coach, Joe Mazulla was more clear: “There is no way to completely stop Doncic and Irving, two superstars. We have to do a collective job and look at everything, not just what they can do.”

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