He’s a mainstream success.
Doncic built a following while playing professionally in Europe. As he transitioned to the NBA, his incredible skill level for a teenager immediately impressed draft junkies. The Suns and Kings passing on and the Hawks trading Doncic, who fell to No. 3, only impassioned his base. Highlight after highlight – including clutch ones – have earned the Mavericks rookie even more fans.
Doncic’s supporters showed their power in All-Star voting. He finished third overall in fan voting, behind only LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The last rookie to rank so high was Grant Hill, who led the entire league in fan voting in 1995.
Here’s every rookie to finish in the top 10 of All-Star-starter fan voting:
It’s foolhardy to compare vote totals across different eras, as voting mechanisms have changed. This year, for example, there were certain days votes counted double. But a player’s rank within a given year still carries validity.
Unfortunately for Doncic, he didn’t get a starting spot in next month’s All-Star game. The NBA no longer picks starters exclusively by fan vote, instead using a more-complex system of fan, player and media votes.
We’d already seen Doncic’s excellent production for a rookie. The All-Star fan-voting results show how much momentum he’s building in popularity, too.