It’s difficult to exaggerate just how good Luka Doncic has been so far in his sophomore season. Both his peers and former NBA legends have been breathlessly effusive when it comes to his immense talent and just how quickly he’s been able to put all the pieces together in his early career.
Through the quarter mark of the regular season, he’s led the Dallas Mavericks to a stunning 15-6 record and the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference standings, putting his team miles ahead of where anyone would’ve anticipated they’d be at this part of the journey, even with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis in the offseason.
It was enough to bring even more praise from a former Maverick player, who took it all a step further and ventured to place Doncic in the top spot in terms of the most talented players at his age in NBA history. Here’s what Steven Nash had to say, who also posited that he might eventually overtake his former teammate Dirk Nowitzki as the best European player of all time.
“I think he’s maybe the best 20-year-old the NBA has ever seen,” Nash said on Doncic in an interview for NBA Cafe Barcelona. “The game’s a little different than when Lebron came in the league. The numbers are little inflated because of the pace and the hand check. But still. I don’t think Lebron was so gifted but I don’t think he was as polished as Luka at 20. Now, Luka’s never going to be the athlete that Lebron is, but he’s a great athlete. He’s an underrated athlete.”
It’s not as outrageous as you might think. If you’ve been on Twitter at all in the last few weeks, the claim holds up to scrutiny. Doncic has broken all sorts of records in terms of being one of the fastest players in history to reach several significant milestones, too many to name here.
Obviously, this will sound like blasphemy to LeBron diehards, but as Nash is careful to point out, it’s not about sheer athletic ability or even potential. It’s a subtle but important distinction. Regardless, it’s a lot to live up to. So far, Doncic hasn’t been rattled at all in that regard.