Former Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James has been the face of the NBA for basically two decades, but at 37 years old, there is no question that his time on the throne is getting close to coming to an end.
When that time finally does come, there are a handful of players who could take his spot.
According to two of James’ former Cavs teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is just “as special” as James himself. They seem to believe quite firmly that Doncic has what it takes to be the kind of player that James has been and continues to be.
“Luka is as special as Bron is,” Jefferson said. “Luka is that type of special.”
Jefferson then asked Frye if he felt the same way, and Frye made it clear that he concurred.
“Everyone knows LeBron is going to go down as one or two, depending on what your opinion is, greatest basketball player,” Jefferson said. “Luka is that special. The way he plays the game. What he’s able to do. The dominance that he’s had at an early, early, early age. Like the game is a joke for him. He’s playing a different game.”
Jefferson did admit that it is “yet to be seen” if Doncic will have the ability to stay healthy and lengthen his prime like James has done. Still, Doncic is just 23 years old right now, and his age or longevity won’t be a concern for many more years.
Though Doncic has yet to win a title, he did manage to advance to the first conference finals of his career last season. He lost to the Golden State Warriors in just five games, but he performed incredibly well.
He averaged 32.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game in that series. He added 1.6 steals and 1.0 block per game in the series as well, despite the fact that defense is far from his strong suit.
In the case of James, he was 27 years old when he won his first title. He’s won three more since then.
If Doncic really wants to be considered the best player in the league, he is arguably going to have to win a title first. That level of success simply gives players a stronger claim to the crown.
However, it is clear that he already has the reputation to be a generational player. Now, it’s up to the Mavs ownership to find a way to surround him with talent worthy of winning a title in Dallas.
Up to this point, the team has not really gotten it done in that category. Only time will tell if Doncic’s time with the Mavs ends in the same way that James’ first tenure with the Cavs did.