With scoring on the rise, a phenomenon attributed to new rules preventing take fouls (which has birthed a renaissance in transition offense), a record number of overtime games and the prevalence of “D’Antoni Ball,” could we see a player in today’s NBA do the impossible by going for 100 points? Tom Haberstroh of Basketball Illuminati and Meadowlark Media thinks that day is fast approaching, predicting Mavs superstar Luka Doncic will be the one to finally break through, matching a feat last achieved by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.
“I think Luka will [score 100],” Haberstroh opined during his appearance Thursday on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “It’s so easy for him. He’s got no one else on that team.”
The 23-year-old Slovenian has been unstoppable for Dallas, leading the league in points per game (34.3), while recently topping 50 points three times in a five-game span. Adding to the degree of difficulty, Doncic has done it with a dad bod and a host of bad habits, crushing beers and smoking hookah in his downtime. One shudders to think of what Luka might become once he commits to his body like physical marvels LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, a needed next step in his development.
“He’s playing on the slowest NBA team right now because I think he’s not totally in shape. That’s the thing about [Nikola] Jokic and Doncic. It kind of feels like they have another layer to get to before they realize their full potential,” said the former ESPN personality. “Luka, to me, once he gets into shape and realizes how to take care of his body a little better. He was hacking up a lung the other night. Once he does that, I think Luka Doncic has still another level to get to. And I think he’ll get to 100 points.”
We’ve seen some bonkers performances of late, not just from Luka but across the NBA, with Cavs All-Star Donovan Mitchell hanging 71 on Chicago earlier this month, two more than Michael Jordan’s career-high of 69. Following the departure of Jalen Brunson, preceded by Kristaps Porzingis’ trade to Washington months earlier, Doncic has seen almost unprecedented usage (he leads the league in both minutes and shots per game), a product of both his lackluster supporting cast and a trend toward “player empowerment,” allowing stars of Luka’s ilk to more or less play how they want with minimal interference.
“That player empowerment era, we talk about teams allowing players to manage and run the franchise and pick which team they want to go to,” explained Haberstroh. “It’s happening on the floor too, where coaches are ceding that power to players more and letting them run the offenses, which is Luka Doncic like, go slow the ball down the floor and pick apart the defense in ways we’ve never seen.”
Reaching the elusive century mark in points seems like a tall order, even for a scoring machine like Luka, though in today’s fast-paced climate with teams routinely eclipsing 130 points, that lofty threshold isn’t as far away as it once seemed.