Luka Doncic once again made it on the headlines in the last couple of days, especially after his remarkable buzzer-beater against the Memphis Grizzlies. It was one of those shots you look at in awe and rewind several times to see how he was able to make it. But if you've been following Luka for a while, you know he has a habit of making difficult shots when it matters the most and proved he is unbelievably clutch on several occasions in his short NBA career.
One of the things that separate Luka from a significant majority of NBA players is that he is fundamentally sound and has a tremendous all-around game. He is a great floor general who dictates the game's tempo and has multiple ways to score the ball or get his teammates involved. Other players in the NBA often have a very positive opinion of Luka, and many have already said they would love to play alongside him simply because he makes the game easier for everyone else on his squad.
Even the greatest defenders in NBA are having headaches guarding Luka, and most of them are just hoping he has an off night which doesn't happen so frequently. Some of the best defenders in recent NBA history, like Bruce Bowen, Tony Allen, and Metta World Peace, shared their thoughts on how they would fair against Luka and what type of defensive scheme they could use to slow him down.
Tony Allen, one of the best perimeter defenders in NBA history, believes being physical and constantly in Luka's face would make him uncomfortable. Allen would also foul him hard to set a standard with the refs that Luka won't have an easy night with Allen guarding him.
One thing I'm taking away is that left-hand dribble to step back. That rhythm? Nah. I'm never letting you get comfortable to get into that. I'm on you. I want to waste my first foul, so the ref knows I'm being physical. Pushing Luka really hard. I'm right here, motherfu**er. 1st team all defense.
Metta made an excellent career for being a versatile defender who covered multiple positions on the floor with his combination of size and speed. He admires Luka because of his high basketball IQ and the fact he uses his 6'7" frame incredibly well, especially against smaller defenders. Metta is convinced he could use his size to his advantage against Luka.
When I watch Luka, I always think about how I would stop him. It's getting more difficult to think about that. He is special. It would have been tough. He thinks steps ahead. He's not one-dimensional, but I'd definitely test his cardio. When he drives, he pushes off. I was playing at 255,265, and that would be hard for him.
Metta World Peace
Another great defender Bruce Bowen believes picking up Luka full court would be the best strategy to slow him down. Luka's most significant advantage is his mid-court game when he is orchestrating the offense, and Bowen would do everything necessary to take that away from him.
Even though he is not a player that is rushed, I'm going to pick him up full court and make him work. So you're not having a fresh mindset when in the half-court. If I can be physical with him and make him work more. But, he is that good. I respect his talent so much, and because of that, I work even harder.
It's hard to say which of these defensive strategies would actually work against Luka, and maybe some of the current NBA players could test it out. There is no question, Bowen, Allen, and Metta would do everything they can to stop Luka if they were playing against him, but there are other factors to consider, like, for example, the criteria the refs would impose. Being physical could work with Luka to a certain degree, but we've seen that he can handle that if necessary.
Luka is having another tremendous individual season averaging 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game which is pretty astonishing for a kid that just turned 21. It's scary even to think how good he'll become in the next few years because right now, he is already among the top 7 players in the NBA. In the meantime, teams could perhaps use some of the advice Bowen, Metta, and Allen laid out on the best strategy to stop or at least slow Luka down.