While Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James finds himself at home during the playoffs, the new age of NBA stars have cemented themselves this postseason. Arguably none have done so more than Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, who has surprisingly led his team to the Western Conference Finals opposite the Golden State Warriors and their all-time great trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
In just his fourth season, Doncic has already established himself as perhaps the NBA’s next great superstar and his size, scoring and passing ability have drawn comparisons to James. Indeed, Doncic’s all-around game does compare well with the Lakers’ star and Green believes so as well.
Green discussed the similarities between Doncic and LeBron, believing the two are very much alike in many ways but do have some differences as well, via The Volume:
And speaking of Luka Doncic, and LeBron James, and the comparisons that are being made to those two guys. One of the main, glaring similarities that stick out at you is how those two guys can manipulate a defense, how those two guys can control the pace of a game. At their size, with their passing ability, and the way they can put pressure on the rim, and pressure on the defense, and with the vision that they have, they’re a lot alike. There’s not many people in this league that can control a game, or control the tempo and the pace of a game like that.
Where I think they differ is Bron will take more transition opportunities where Luka kinda doesn’t, unless it’s just a complete runout. I also think Luka, as great of a passer as he is and he loves to pass the basketball, I think Luka looks for his shot a little bit more than LeBron. Now LeBron is uber-aggressive at times, but he’s more often than not pass-first. Luka is pass-first at times too, but he’s looking to score more than LeBron in those, from a possession-to-possession situation.
They definitely have similarities and then you look up and it all makes sense. Luka has said over and over again LeBron’s favorite player growing up. And then you’re actually blessed with that size that Luka has, it all makes sense to why there are similarities there cuz they’re definitely there and it feels a lot like playing against LeBron, playing against Luka every possession.
Both Luka and LeBron are masters at controlling the game with the ball in their hands, reading and manipulating the defense and getting the best out of their teammates. It is an interesting note that Green makes about Doncic being slightly more of a shoot-first player than James, but it isn’t necessarily wrong either.
Obviously the other big difference that Green didn’t mention, but also doesn’t need mentioning, is LeBron’s athletic advantage. But the great thing about Luka is that he has shown he doesn’t need elite athleticism to dominate in the NBA.
The new era of NBA stars is growing before our eyes and these playoffs have seen the likes of Doncic, Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum and Anthony Edwards have truly impressive outings. There is always a tendency to compare the new stars to current or past ones and it is hard to argue that Doncic and James have some serious similarities.
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