Wow! There are no words to describe Luka Doncic’s game winning 3-pointer against the Los Angeles Clippers. Doncic’s triple at the buzzer in overtime went down in the annals of history as soon as the ball went through the hoop. Anyone who watched the game knows that this was a historical moment in the sport of basketball. 135-133 Dallas, 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists for Luka. A huge Triple-Double for the Slovenian in what could have been his greatest game in his career to date as he helped leveled their first round series 2-2.
What makes the accomplishment even more incredible is the fact that Doncic was doubtful to even play in the game and just an hour before tipoff it was determined that he would give his injured ankle a go. The team’s second European star Kristaps Porzingis surprisingly was scratched at the last moment and on paper, Dallas’s chances in game 4 of their best of 7 series looked shot. Especially when you are facing a team with stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. But the minute Doncic could play it was clear that he came into the game to win. Luka’s holy step back to finish the Clippers with his team down by a point proved what type of huge winner he really is.
Soccer is a much more global sport and with the Champions League final on most of the world were glued to theft TV sets watching Bayern Munich and PSG leaving basketball fans out in the cold. But surprisingly, many who ended up going to sleep weren’t thinking about Manuel Neuer, Robert Lewandowski or Kingsley Coman winning Europe’s greatest title, nor did they dream about Neymar or Mbappe as PSG lost, sports fans went to bed dreaming about Luka, and that was even if they were able to fall asleep. This was even after staying up for an overtime period at a crazy hour of the night. But to tell you the truth it was very much worth it to stay up and not one person who ended up seeing the winning basket complained about what time it was.
This brings us to Doncic who continued to climb the ladder of today’s basketball greats. Before the game, if someone would have said that Luka is already amongst the greats one would have given you a bit of a funny look when you have players like Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and many others. But today, right now, it’s legitimate, oh yes very legitimate to say that Doncic’s name can no be uttered with those mentioned above. And at 21 years of age.
Now that we’ve spoken about Doncic in comparison to today’s players, it’s time to see how he measures up against the greatest of all time. There’s no question that Doncic wants to reach that level of stardom but to do that he will need to win an NBA Championship. But can he even be the greatest of all time? The fact is that maybe, just maybe he has a shot.
Michael Jordan is at the top of that list with 6 titles and countless incredible moments, but to see Doncic do what he is doing at the age of just 21, one can only imagine how much he can continue to improve and in fact even get much, much better. The minute that Luka will win his first championship, which will most probably not be the season, but who knows as we are in 2020 and it seems the impossible could happen, he will jump the hurdle and potentially win one title after the next, after the next and after the next. You can be assured that Jordan fans will never see Doncic as the greatest in any type of situation unless he wins 7 championships because six won’t be enough for the talented Slovenian.
Doncic looks to be heading easily towards the title of the greatest European basketball player of all time and that brings us to the continental connection. The player who lost three years ago in an exhibition game with the Slovenia National team to Israel at Yad Eliyahu in Tel Aviv and also came up short with Real Madrid against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the same arena, is now in a totally different stratosphere in his career, at the top of the tallest mountain. Just like Jordan, Doncic was drafted third overall. And excuse me, but who in their right mind would select Marvin Bagley ahead of a player won the 2017 Eurobasket Tournament with Slovenia at the age of 17 as well as the 2018 Euroleague title with Real Madrid as an 18 year old where he was also the Most Valuable Player?
Comparisons. FULL STOP!
Do not compare Luka Doncic to Deni Avdija just because they are both from Europe. It’s not fair to either party. The comparison isn’t fair to Doncic due to all the amazing things he has done in the sport of basketball at such a young age while the comparison only hurts Avdija because to expect that he will be even close to Doncic’s level in the best league in the world, especially in his first couple of seasons, is just a massive exaggeration.
In fact, there are very few similarities between them. Doncic’s development has been much faster and received the keys to Real Madrid when he was just a 17 year old from coach Pablo Laso. Avdija only began getting significant credit in the Euroleague with Maccabi Tel Aviv when he was a 19 year old. Doncic became the best player in the Euroleague before he even turned 18 and the Israeli sensation was never in that position.
Therefore, these comparisons are both unnecessary and detrimental to both players as well as an injustice to Avdija. Doncic is Doncic, and Deni, as Avdija has said on so many occasions, just wants to be Deni. Avdija wants to be special in his own way and not be compared to any other player. Fair is fair.
In any case, Doncic’s success in North America does help Avdija to some extent. NBA teams won’t want to miss out on the next European star in the draft, especially after what has happened to Doncic. Therefore, Avdija has a chance to be selected very high up in the draft. There is no room for mistakes at the top of the 2020 NBA Draft and all of the experts who massively underestimated Doncic two years ago still resonate strongly.
Imagine if the game had ended with the Clippers in the drivers seat and a 3-1 lead in the series after Marcus Morris hit the game winning 3-pointer just a few seconds before the end of overtime. Thankfully that’s not how it ended. Doncic made the shot of his life and gave such an amazing present to all of the fans who waited for months at home to watch quality basketball. Doncic wrote yet another super significant chapter to his special career.
No matter how the season will end for the Mavericks and the Slovenian, Luka did his job. Instead of comparing Doncic to Avdija, it’s better that everyone begin comparing Luka to Jordan.