Luka Doncic has been elite almost since the moment he stepped foot into the NBA, claiming Rookie of the Year before going on to make the All-NBA First Team in just his second season. The Mavericks star has been in the MVP conversation every season since his sophomore year and seems to have taken another leap this season, carrying the Dallas Mavericks to the Western Conference Finals.
Doncic has stepped his game up in the playoffs every season, and this year was no different. He dominated the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Semifinals and was crucial to the Mavericks dismantling them in their arena. He had the confidence to call out the Suns for trash-talking when they were up and backed it up by helping his team win the next two games by a combined 60-point margin.
And while he has already been compared to quite a few legends of the past, Larry Bird being among them, the latest comparison comes from a man who played against Larry Bird, former Detroit Pistons player John Salley. Salley went on the Rich Eisen Show and spoke about the one key thing that makes Luka similar to Bird:
(starts at 00:40 minutes)
"I would be afraid to play against a Luka... Larry Bird would put fear in me and everyone else just like Luka (Doncic) does. I watched him going and this dude, every move Kevin McHale's ever had plus he can put the ball in the basket. I'm really happy for Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks. I'm a Mark Cuban fan. I think they're going to go to the Finals."
Doncic is averaging over 31 points and 10 rebounds per game throughout these playoffs. His assist totals have dropped a little, but he looks every bit as good as he promised to be in the first few seasons of his NBA career. And if he truly wants to make it to the conversation with the all-time greats, then he will have to find a way to help his team beat the Golden State Warriors and go to the conference finals.