Top 50 NBA players of the last 50 years: Luka Dončić is 20th
Editor’s Note: As part of a new series for his podcast, “What’s up with Nick Wright,” FOX Sports commentator Nick Wright ranks 50 best NBA players in the past 50 years. The countdown continues today with player number 20, Luka Dončić.
Highlights of Luka Dončić’s career:
- Triple All-Star
- First Team Three-Time All-NBA
- Rookie of the Year 2019
Kevin Durant and Tim Duncan were 23 when they became the first team at the All-NBA for the third time. LeBron JamesIsiah Thomas and Oscar Robertson are 24. Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain are all 25 years old. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Hakeem Olajuwon 26 years old. Shaquille O’Neal is 28 years old.
Stephen the curry and Bill Russell, if you’re wondering, is 30 years old.
Luka Dončić only did that at the 22-year-old season.
“[Dončić] “Wright said” would be the most controversial inclusion, “People will say he’s not even on the list. I feel like I might have him too low.”
Luka Dončić is #20 on Nick Wright’s Top 50 NBA Players of the Past 50 Years
Nick Wright put what he calls the most controversial spot on his top 50 list: Luka Dončić is in 20th place. Despite only completing his fourth NBA season, Dončić has already made his mark. impressive accolades in his short career, including a 3-time All-Star, three-time all-NBA first team and Rookie of the Year 2019.
With Dončić only playing for four years, his ranking is mostly a prediction for Mavericks‘attack prodigy. But there is historical precedent. In 1996, 24-year-old O’Neal was included in the NBA’s 50th Anniversary Team. Like Dončić, he played only four seasons.
“Shaq has no resume,” says Wright. “But clearly he is changing the game. It is clear how dominant he is.
Sound familiar? Dončić’s phenomenal start puts him in the same league as the all-time greats. The numbers – and an eye test – confirm that he is going in their direction.
His full-season average is 26.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists. That’s LeBron territory. They have won Dončić 4th, 5th and 6th place in the MVP poll for the past three seasons. Of course, his best work made it to the knockout round.
While it’s only a sample size of 28 games, nearly all of them are superior.
Two years ago, in his post-season debut, the predecessor score was 42-7-9 vs Slippers. A week later, he dropped 43-17-13 and hit a 3 at the whistle in extra time for the whole series. LA eventually advanced, but Dončić, with the average score of 31-10-9, arrived.
The two teams square off again in 2021, with Dončić ahead of himself in the second game against top full-backs Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. After giving the Mavs a 2-0 lead, Dončić led 44-9-9 in game 3 while shooting a total of 54%. The more complete Clippers still won by double digits.
In game 5, Dončić fixed the score 42-8-14 to give Dallas a 3-2 lead. In game 7, he put up 46-7-14 in a lossy attempt. For the series, he averaged 36-8-10.
How can Luka Dončić compare with the young LeBron James?
Luka Dončić’s fourth NBA season is in the books. His numbers are comparable to that of young LeBron James in his fourth year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but how does Luka line up to King? Colin Cowherd pondered.
Dončić missed the start of the ’22 playoffs with a calf injury but averaged 29-11-6 in the last three games of the winning streak. Jazz. It is considered his most modest playoff production yet. The Mavericks were underrated as they entered their conference semi-finals against Sunwho had been undoubtedly the best team in the league for the previous six months.
They just don’t have the best player in the series.
Dončić scored 80 points through the first two games – he went 45-12-8 in game 1 – before rallying his team back from a 0-2 deficit. With Dallas facing elimination in Game 6, the Slovenian superstar was able to win or lose with a score of 33-11-8. In game 7 in Phoenix, he personally compared the Suns’ entire first half result with 27 points and finished with 35 and 10 in just three-quarters of a big win.
Dallas’ Cinderella Run Ended in Conference Finals with Combatant, but not before Dončić dropped 40 in two of the five games. He’s hit that mark eight times in the playoffs, topping the likes of Curry and Dirk Nowitzki. Only 12 players have done more than that.
“Luka Dončić has been one of the greatest playoff performers ever,” said Wright.
Dončić’s 32.5 points per game in the post-season period is behind only Jordan (33.4). His moving average is 33-9-8. For comparison, Jordan’s is 33-6-6, James’ is 29-9-7 and Bird’s is 24-10-7. Dončić accumulated 16 doubles and scored at least 20 points in all but two appearances.
In six knockouts, he averaged 35-10-8.
Such individual excellence is history. Whether Dončić becomes the core Hall of Famer within will ultimately depend on how much he wins. His track record, if the company he has kept is any indication, suggests titles will materialize when he’s surrounded by a better supporting cast.
“He’s going to be one of the 10 greatest players ever,” said Wright. “It is not an exaggeration to say that he has been one of the 20 greatest players of the last 50 years.”
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