Former Star Makes Bold Claim About Mavericks Star Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks

Getty Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.

He may only be entering his fifth year in the league, but Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is already on an elite trajectory.

He’s been a stat machine since entering the league back in 2018 and last season was no different. The Slovenian guard put up 28.4 points, 8.7 assists, and 9.1 rebounds per game last season en route to an All-NBA First-Team nod. Further, he led the Mavericks to their first Western Conference Finals since 2011, when Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs bested the LeBron James-led Miami Heat. While the Mavericks ultimately lost to the Golden State Warriors (who then went on to win the Finals), last season’s playoff magic should only be the beginning for Doncic.

And if the Mavericks do make another run at the Finals, then it will likely fall on Doncic’s shoulders to carry them there. But that shouldn’t be a problem for Doncic, considering the company he’s often thrown around in among NBA analysts.

And recently, Shannon Sharpe of Undisputed joined the fray to give his take on Doncic’s place in basketball history. The former football star compared Doncic to a familiar name.

“Luka is the closest thing to Larry Bird, and when it’s all said and done, he’ll probably be better than Bird! Luka is the one guy that can give 40 points and 15 assists. He’s phenomenal,” Sharpe said.

It’s not the first time Doncic has been compared to the Boston Celtics legend. Sharpe’s comments came in the wake of a report among NBA execs who named Doncic as the top player under 25 to build a team around.

Last week, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype revealed the results of a poll he conducted with 15 execs from across the league. The question posed was a simple one: each exec was asked to rank the top-five players under 25 that they would want to build a team around.

The results? Unsurprisingly unanimous in favor of the Mavericks star. Doncic retained his spot at the top of the rankings after finishing first in the poll’s last iteration in 2020.

“Luka’s size, IQ, scoring ability from every level, and passing will allow him to continue to play at an MVP caliber level,” explained one executive in their voting.

Scotto also noted that Doncic’s name at the top of the rankings should come as a surprise considering the outstanding tear he’s been on, including strong play at EuroBasket.

“After leading the NBA in usage percentage last season (37.4) and Dallas to the Western Conference Finals, Doncic has one of the best global ratings in the EuroBasket tournament thus far,” Scotto wrote.

Ultimately, Doncic bested other young superstars, including Jayson Tatum (No. 2) and Ja Morant (No. 3). It’s an impressive showing, especially considering that Tatum led the Celtics to the Finals last season. It’s a sign that Doncic’s talent is there and with a little bit more support, he might be able to lead the Mavericks to the Finals himself.

Dallas Named a Top Sleeper Team Next Season

While the Mavericks might not make the cut on any “Finals favorites” lists, the Dallas club can’t be discounted as long as Luka Doncic is suiting up. That’s why Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report listed Dallas as the No. 2 “sleeper team” heading into next season.

“The simple truth behind the Mavericks’ standing as sleepers is this: They could be scary good, and they simply aren’t regarded that way,” wrote Buckley.

But Buckley noted that everything rides on Doncic. The additions of Christian Wood and Javale McGee are nice, but everything rides on Dallas’ superstar.

“Dončić is the real key here, though. He’s a basketball magician—fourth player ever to tally 6,000 points, 2,000 assists and 2,000 rebounds in his first four seasons—who might have new tricks up his sleeve,” noted Buckley.

If everything clicks for Dallas, they could be a tough out. Getting just a little more from Doncic and the team’s role players will be vital to making that a reality.

Read More