Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic has emerged as one of the best players in the NBA with a strong start to the 2019-20 season.
After a promising rookie campaign that led to the 2018-19 Rookie of the Year award, Doncic has taken his game to another level, to the point where his name has been thrown around in early conversations for this season's Most Valuable Player.
His performances on a nightly basis have stakeholders of the NBA on notice each time he steps on the court, and most recently, he's received quite a bit of praise from Canadian Hall of Famer Steve Nash in an interview with NBA Cafe Barcalona.
"I think he's maybe the best 20-year-old the NBA has ever seen," Nash told NBA Cafe Barcalona. "The game's a little different than when LeBron (James) came in the league. The numbers are little inflated because of the pace and the hand check. But still.
"I 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."
Athleticism was always one of the biggest knocks on Doncic, but it hasn't prevented him from averaging a near-triple-double of 30.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game in his sophomore season. When you're averaging numbers like that at the age of 20, it is hard to argue Nash's point.
But the two-time MVP even took Doncic's praise a step higher than that.
"He's going to be a Hall of Fame player if he stays healthy," Nash stated.
And speaking of Hall of Famers, Nash and Doncic both spent time as a teammate to one particular International star-turned Hall of Famer. As the next cornerstone of the Mavericks franchise, Doncic will always draw comparisons to his former teammate Dirk Nowitzki.
Nash, who was a teammate of Dirk's from 1998 to 2004, believes there's a possibility that Doncic could be better than Nowitzki - a person who some consider to be the best International player of all-time.
"It's possible. For sure, especially when you look at Dirk at 20. Dirk was amazing at 20. But compared to Luka? Because physically he was catching up. Luka's already there physically.
"...Dirk was a rare-rare thing then. Now, it's normal for a guy to come from Europe and be good right away. But Luka's not normal in any way. He has a chance to be better than Dirk and Dirk is one of the best players we ever had. That says how incredible of a player and talent Luka is. That says how incredible player and talent Luka is."
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