Luka Doncic, at 22-years-old, is already being compared to GOAT candidates such as Michael Jordan and LeBron James. There seems to be no stopping the Dallas Mavericks point guard since he won Rookie of the Year honors during the 2018-19 season
The rise of "Luka Magic" has been steady and significant, especially this season when he has shown stretches where defenses are completely helpless against him. After leading the Dallas Mavericks to the 2022 Western Conference finals, head coach Jason Kidd has added Larry Bird and Magic Johnson to the equation.
Charles Barkley, who appeared on an episode of the Ryen Russillo podcast, lavished praise on the Mavericks’ franchise player:
“I don’t think there’s a ceiling for Luka. I think that man, he is just special. I think they got to give him some help. I think he got to learn to play off the ball a little bit more…
"Sir Chuck" could see Doncic rise to all-time greatness if he learns to understand the game like Michael Jordan:
Going back and think about Michael Jordan, you think about that Last Dance thing, they were talking about ‘We can’t be the best we can be unless you give up the ball more.’ I know that sounds strange but it turned out to be the greatest thing ever why he’s the GOAT.”
Putting Luka Doncic in the same sentence as Michael Jordan is about the ultimate praise the three-time All-Star can get in his career. Coming from Charles Barkley, who was once considered to be the second-best player after “His Airness” is even more eye-opening.
Barkley, who’s now part of the award-winning crew of Inside the NBA, has witnessed Doncic’s growth over the years. This year, the Hall-of-Famer has seen enough improvement from the Mavericks superstar, particularly in Game 7 against the Phoenix Suns, to predict greatness for the ultra-talented point guard.
At only 22-years-old, Luka Doncic is already second in postseason scoring average, averaging 32.13 PPG, which is just slightly lower than Michael Jordan’s 33.45 PPG.
While the pressure is at its most intense, Doncic never wilts. In playoff elimination games, “Luka Magic’s” 39 PPG stands head and shoulders above that of LeBron James’ 33.5 PPG and Michael Jordan’s 31.3 PPG.
Luka Doncic’s peak years could rival that of the greats like Michael Jordan and LeBron James
“Luka Legend” will hit his prime in about 3 to 4 years. Given how great he is already, it’s almost scary to wonder what he could become as he reaches his peak years. While many roll their eyes every time Doncic is compared to LeBron James, these critics should at least take a look at their numbers.
In the LA Lakers superstar’s first four seasons in the NBA, he averaged 26.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.8 steals. LeBron James made 46.3% of his field goals, including 32.7% from long range.
Luka Doncic, on the other hand, is averaging 26.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 1.1 steals. He is hitting 45.7% of his shots and makes 35.3% of his threes. The numbers between “King James” and “Luka Legend” are practically the same in their first four years.
Michael Jordan’s first four seasons were just as impressive. The six-time champion averaged 32.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.8 steals. Jordan hit 50.6% of his shots while the three-point basket wasn’t as important today as it was back then.
As Charles Barkley would say, Luka is “special” and there’s almost no limit to what he can achieve. Doncic’s trajectory is at part with the greatest names to ever play basketball.