“Skyler’s Swishes” is a column by Skyler Trepel recapping the top three events from the past week of NBA play.
For this week’s swishes we’ve got a big-time shot, a future superstar welcomed to the club and a young All-Star showing just why he’s an All-Star.
Get used to hearing the name Luka Dončić because this young superstar will be making waves for many years to come. The Mavericks guard has some memorable clutch moments already, most notably his game-winning step-back three against the Los Angeles Clippers in last year’s playoffs, but he added to that list this week.
Luka hit another step-back 3-pointer to give his team the win against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, proving that his clutch shot against the Clippers was no fluke. This shot may have even been more difficult as Luka faded to the left before drilling the jumper with 0.1 seconds left.
Luka dazzled all game with a flurry of mid-range floaters and step-back threes. He did it all on this night as he finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, including wrap-around passes to big-man Boban Marjanović.
Having just celebrated his 22nd birthday, Luka will be hitting many more swishes in the future.
There are special moments and matchups in the NBA that cross generations when two superstars with a noticeable age difference are ready for a superstar duel. Whether it was matchups of Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James or more recently LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo, these duels create iconic NBA memories that last a lifetime.
On Thursday, Giannis seemed to prove that he has evolved into a mature superstar as a two-time MVP and Zion Williamson is showing that he’ll be the next superstar up. Zion just earned his first All-Star berth at only 20 years old and has been making waves with his play this season.
Zion’s combination of size, power and speed is something we haven’t seen since LeBron James entered the league in 2003, and he continues to excite fans across the globe. In his recent duel with Giannis they both scored in double-figures by the end of the first quarter with a variety of exciting dunks, layups and creativity inside the paint.
The fourth quarter was where the superstars really showed up to play in a tight finish as Zion double-clutched the ball for a powerful layup to give the Pelicans a 125-124 lead with 2:01 remaining. Giannis put the Bucks up for good when he hit a hook shot followed by a vicious, driving dunk with 1:19 to go. Giannis won this round with his 38 points compared to Zion’s 34.
The moment that will stick out from this matchup is the mutual respect Giannis and Zion showed each other by exchanging jerseys and conversing after the game finished. Zion will be a superstar in this league for a long time to come, just as people said about Giannis.
LeBron James tweeted that Devin Booker is the most disrespected player in the league after his most recent All-Star snub. Luckily, the league was able to remedy this and make Booker an All-Star by the end of the week with Los Angeles Lakers’ All-Star big man Anthony Davis injured for the foreseeable future.
However, many players have always seen something special in Devin Booker. Most notably, Kobe Bryant wrote, “Be Legendary,” on Devin Booker’s shoes during Booker’s rookie season in 2015-16.
Booker heard the doubters and responded Sunday with a virtuoso 43-point performance full of dunks, off-ball catch-and-finish plays and silky smooth jump shots. Many say Booker can only score, but he added in five rebounds, five assists and a menacing block on Anthony Edwards.
This was Booker’s 13th 40-point game in only his sixth season. With the most game-winning buzzer-beaters since entering the league in 2015, Booker will be proving doubters wrong for years to come.
“Skyler’s Swishes” runs every Monday.