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“That’s not a point guard in that body. That is a power forward.” — Sam Mitchell compares Luka Doncic to Magic Johnson and two more legends

“He is something that we’ve never seen before and quite frankly, with his size and skill set, we may never see again,” said Mitchell, and mentioned a player Luka's never been compared to before.
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul guards Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic

Chris Paul and Luka Doncic

Upon Luka Doncic’s entry into the league, fans and analysts immediately tried to decipher his playstyle. They inevitably compared the Dallas Mavericks star to legends of the past and present. According to a former NBA player and head coach Sam Mitchell, Doncic isn’t just like a particular legend. Instead, he’s a combination of three great players.

The most potent offensive weapon since Jordan

Sam Mitchell prefaced his analysis of Doncic’s playstyle by emphasizing how offensively potent the Slovenian is. Doncic has been mentioned alongside Kevin Durant and LeBron James when it comes to creating a basket out of nothing. But for Mitchell, Doncic has his own unique way of punishing defenses.

It’s amazing to me when you watch Luka play. This young man is doing things offensively that we haven’t seen since Michael Jordan. And I know he does it in a different way than we’re used to seeing for those of us who had the pleasure of watching Michael Jordan play in that era. And he does it different than LeBron James or Kevin Durant,” Mitchell said, per SiriusXM NBA Radio.

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Three legends

Mitchell also pointed out Doncic’s 6-foot-7, 230-lb stature — a frame usually reserved for a forward. Yet the 23-year-old has the handles of a point guard, not to mention the wit and savviness. In Mitchell’s eyes, Doncic is a combination of Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird.

He’s unique in that way that his style of play at his size. I’m going to quote something that Isiah Thomas said [about] Magic Johnson: ‘They may give him the title of point guard but that’s not a point guard in that body. That is a power forward.’ Luka is built more like Karl Malone, plays like Magic [Johnson], but has the touch and finesse of Larry Bird. He is something that we’ve never seen before and quite frankly, with his size and skill set, we may never see again,” Mitchell said.

Fans are familiar with the Johnson and Bird comparisons. Like Magic, Luka sees things before they actually develop. Like Bird, Luka finds a way to get to his spots without the aid of God-given athletic gifts. 

The Karl Malone comparison is a rather fresh take, and it surprisingly makes sense. The longer we see Luka on the court, the more we notice how strong the Slovenian is. We see this whenever he’s defending forwards and power forwards. The man stands his ground against seemingly more beefy foes. It’s impossible to bully Doncic in the post. Gone are the days when analysts downplayed his defensive abilities.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about these conversations is that Doncic is just 23 years old and in his fourth year in the league. He’s been in the league for just a minute, yet he’s already being mentioned alongside the greats. We can say that that’s a great milestone in itself. But we know that Doncic isn’t just satisfied with such things. He wants to make his own mark - that requires some jewelry.

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