The future is here, and it is Luka Doncic

1. Luka Doncic is the game’s next great innovator

You are supposed to pick a highlight here and describe it, typically — a play so exquisite that it encapsulates and puts a bow on all the others. You can’t put a bow on Luka Doncic, though, and that’s precisely the point: Every new play is a stepping stone to something newer.

Doncic himself, who walks in the footsteps of creative giants, is proof of that. The 3-and-rim-centric shot chart that James Harden built with focus and vision — and through great consternation — is a blueprint for modern wings. For Doncic, it’s a playground, where the fluidity of his deceptive skills contrasts with Harden’s tight, formulaic maneuvers. Doncic is picking up where Manu Ginobili left off: stamping his insights on the game by taking risks that pissed his coach off before eventually wearing him down, expanding the game’s possibilities by pushing at its parameters, getting himself into messes just to find his way out.

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