Luka mania was taking over the NBA after Luka Doncic led the Dallas Mavericks past the top-seeded Phoenix Suns and into the Western Conference Finals. Doncic dominated the Suns in spectacular fashion, which was reminiscent of some of LeBron James' epic performances in the playoffs in the past.
The two have been compared thanks to their offensive skillsets, but a former teammate of LeBron's shut down any talk of Luka ever being as good as the King. Iman Shumpert played with LeBron for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2015 to 2018, and he quickly dismissed the notion during an interview with Vlad TV:
"I just don’t see him (Luka) having the athletic edge that I have seen LeBrons, and Kobes, and Mikes have. That’s usually your breaking point, where it’s like you can do some freakishly athletic stuff nobody can do (anything) about. I just think after a while, somebody is going to stop the step-back stuff."
"It's no way I can watch James Harden do that for that long and not win and then look at Luka like okay you gonna step back with your right hand but yours is gonna work. You can prove me wrong but I don't see the same type of dominance of LeBron coming from Luka."
Shumpert makes a fair point here that Luka doesn't have that athletic ability like a LeBron or a Jordan to elevate his game to that next level. We're not sure, however, if anyone is going to stop the step-back as Shumpert suggested and the Harden comparison is a bit off, as Luka has never been accused of shrinking in the playoffs as Harden has been.
We don't know if he will ever be as good as LeBron, but Luka is already on his way to becoming one of the all-time greats of this game. Sadly for all his greatness, this epic Luka Doncic postseason run looks set to end at the Western Conference Finals after they fell behind 3-0 to the Golden State Warriors.