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#pounditThursday, February 2, 2023

Ex-NBA champion compares Luka Doncic to 1 NBA legend

Luka Doncic smiles

May 15, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts against the Phoenix Suns in game seven of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

John Salley knows a thing or two about playing with all-time greats in the NBA. He won four championships, including two with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1990 and 1996.

According to Salley, there’s a comparison to be made between Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and a Basketball Hall of Famer against whom Salley played.

Appearing on “The Rich Eisen Show” Wednesday, Salley compared Doncic’s game to that of Larry Bird.

“Larry Bird would put fear in me and everyone else just like Luka does,” Salley said. “I would be afraid to play against Luka, that’s how good he is.”

That’s incredibly high praise for Doncic, although Salley added that there’s still a gap between the two.

Comparing two players from different generations is nearly impossible. Still, Bird and Doncic do have some similarities worth noting. Both shoot with their right hand and have similar heights (Doncic is 6-foot-7 while Bird was 6-foot-9 during his playing days).

Doncic can seemingly score at will, as could Bird.

Bird, a 12-time All-Star, averaged 24.3 points per game in 13 seasons, including a career-high 29.9 during the 1987-88 season.

In comparison, Doncic has averaged 26.4 points per game, albeit in just four seasons. The 23-year-old averaged a career-best 28.8 points per game during the 2019-2020 season.

Bird never averaged more than 27.5 points per game in the playoffs, while Doncic has averaged no fewer than 30.

Salley’s opinion is all well and good considering he played against Bird. But Doncic needs to have the longevity and consistent postseason success to earn his Bird comparison.

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