Iowa Men's Basketball

Luka Garza leads Luka Doncic by 1.1 points per game

The two Lukas are current favorites to win Wooden Award and NBA MVP

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic goes up for a basket past Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley during the Mave
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic goes up for a basket past Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley during the Mavericks’ 124-73 rout Sunday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Kyusung Gong/Associated Press)

It’s possible the college basketball Player of the Year and the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2020-21 could both be named Luka.

Possible, not probable. But possible. Betonline.ag has Garza an overwhelming 1-to-4 favorite to be the John R. Wooden Award winner, with Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu second at 9-2. Three Gonzaga players are 10-1 or 12-1.

Bovada’s current favorite to be the 2020-21 NBA MVP is Doncic, at 3-1.

Doncic has a little competition in Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and several others who are rather good at their sport.

Anyway, I now present “Two Lukas,” a statistical look at the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and the Iowa Hawkeyes’ Luka Garza that I’ll do on a regular basis. Or maybe just this once.

In the last week, Dallas opened its season with three road games. It lost to Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers, then obliterated the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday, 124-73.

Doncic, a 6-foot-7 guard, averaged 27.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists. He was 2 of 16 from 3-point distance.

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Garza, a 6-11 center at Iowa, averaged 27.0 points in a home win over Purdue and an overtime road loss to Minnesota. He also averaged 13.0 rebounds, and was 5 of 13 from 3-point. Doncic played 32 minutes per game, Garza 35.

Garza is averaging a nation-leading 28.8 points per game. Entering Tuesday, James Harden of Houston led the NBA at 39.0, with Atlanta’s Trae Young second at 34.0.

Did you know Young was a high school basketball teammate of Iowa State third-team All-America tight end Charlie Kolar?

Garza plays Tuesday night when Iowa hosts Northwestern. It’s a lot to ask of a Big Ten player to put up 28. But the Bovada.lv over/under for him against the Wildcats is 28.5

By the way, last year’s Wooden Award winner was named Obi and the NBA’s MVP was named Giannis.

Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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