It’s a question everyone wants the answer to. I honestly never saw Luka Doncic being this good coming out of the 2018 NBA Draft. The kid took a second year leap so big he is already being regarded a top 5 player in the NBA already and has statistically surpassed LeBron James so far going into his 3rd season. His playoff stats this past post-season against the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round exceeded LeBron’s playoff stats in his first post-season run. He was incredible versus the Dallas Mavericks and many still wonder what would have been if Kristaps Porzingis had not been dealing with injuries in that series. Luka Doncic was able to win a game against the Clippers without Kristaps Porzingis who is the second best player on the Mavericks behind the phenom Luka Doncic. It’s odd because I thought after Dirk Nowitzki retired the Dallas Mavericks would spend a few years before they get their next franchise player but they might’ve just drafted a kid who will be regarded better than Dirk Nowitzki soon.
I respect Dirk Nowitzki he carried the Mavericks even after Steve Nash left for Phoenix in the mid 2000’s and was a top 10 player in the NBA for over a decade and arguably top 5 some years but he was never regarded as the best player in the the NBA which Luka Doncic could be regarded some day. He is a bit trigger happy shooting off the dribble 3’s and must improve his efficiency but also his decision making wasn’t the best in the first round against the Clippers. The kid tries on defense but I wouldn’t bank on him ever being a All-NBA defender, he is as strong as an ox and does not shy away from contact but I would like to see him advance in the playoffs this coming season. I wouldn’t be shocked if he once again gets bounced in the first round as the Western Conference should be more competitive next season but if he manages to lead the Mavericks a top 4 seed in the West I could see him winning his first playoff series against a lower seed and maybe losing in the second round.
This kid is on the curve of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird as opposed to Michael Jordan and LeBron James who both spent 6-7 years in the NBA before winning their first championship. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird became champions in the NBA within 4 years and dominated the 1980’s but aren’t brought up in the GOAT debate because they had short careers. Michael Jordan’s career was also rather short when you subtract the years in Washington and him taking 2 breaks one after winning his 3rd consecutive title 1993 and 1998 after the Chicago Bulls broke up the team and decided to not bring back Phil Jackson. LeBron James will likely sit at the top when it is all said and done over Michael Jordan as the best ever if he manages to win 5-6 titles and becomes the all-time leading scorer and he is still writing out his legacy in Los Angeles with possibly another 3-4 years left.
Back to Luka Doncic who is only 20 years old and will likely play at his current level or better for at least another 8-9 seasons in the NBA before we see a decline, this kid isn’t the athlete to be able to sustain a 15 year run as a superstar sorry folks. Again it’s the defense, how will the Dallas Mavericks build around Luka Doncic to hide him on defense the way the Golden State Warriors have been able to do with Stephen Curry who is as dominant as they come offensively but a weak link on defense. I’ll give Luka Doncic the benefit of the doubt he is 6’7″ and weighs 230 pounds and dwarfs Stephen Curry when it comes to size but if he is going to be a point-guard long-term he should focus on becoming stronger and getting leaner. Conditioning has been an issue with Nikola Jokic who is very similar to Luka Doncic in body-type and possesses a very similar skill-set but if Luka Doncic can become as physically fit as possible and take care of his body like LeBron James he could one day be regarded a top 5 player all-time and in discussion with LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
To conclude I think by 2030 we will be looking at Luka Doncic as a top 15 player all-time, I feel comfortable saying that I just don’t know about top 5 all-time unless he plays at the very minimum 15 seasons and wins at least 3-4 championships which is possible but will depend on how he takes care of his body and the adjustments he makes when he can’t jump out of bed like a kangaroo when he hits the age of 30. It’s unbelievable the hype Luka Doncic has received so far, LeBron James,Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant were never regarded top 5 players in the NBA going into their 3rd seasons in the NBA like Luka Doncic will be. Maybe Luka Doncic dominates plays at legendary level and racks up 4-5 titles in a 10 year span and fades away with time or maybe he puts up astronomical stats throughout his career and only wins 2 NBA titles like Wilt Chamberlain, we shall see how Luka Doncic’s career unfolds till next time.