The most difficult thing to find in the NBA is a franchise superstar, a cornerstone to build your team around. The 76ers tanked for half a decade to get their hands on Embiid and Simmons. But would you trade both of them for Luka Doncic?
Richard Jefferson and Paul Pierce had a discussion about Jerry West’s prediction that Luka will be better than Dirk Nowitzki. While Luka is playing phenomenal basketball right now, they both pointed out that the hardest thing about having a career like Dirk is sustaining it through time. Not a few years, Dirk did it for almost two decades. Luka has all the tools, but for him to reach Dirk’s level he has to perform in the playoffs and make an impact at least until 2035. So we come to the most interesting question – would you trade Luka for Embiid and Simmons.
“I’m not taking both of those for Luka. I wouldn’t do that. Both of those players have legitimate holes in their game. Luka has a complete offensive game.”Richard Jefferson, ESPN
As this was a hypothetical meant to compare talent, let’s ignore the cap implications for a moment. Players always lean towards the single best guy on the court, and there’s a reason for that. Both Jefferson and Pierce witnessed one player overcoming a superior team. When things slow down in the playoffs, having the single best guy on the court is often what makes the difference between winning and losing. So what about a 1-1 trade for the 24-year-old MVP?
“Someone asked me what would you trade Luka for, and that’s so dumb because there’s nothing I’d trade Luka for. Giannis? Maybe. That’s what I’m saying – [only] maybe.”Richard Jefferson, ESPN
The premise was who do you want for the next 10 years, and even Giannis leading the Bucks on a 70 win pace and rushing towards a second MVP award got a “maybe.” This is mostly an indicator of how impressive Luka’s been, but Giannis’ impact on defense is still on a different level than Luka’s. Yes, Giannis will never be the shooter Luka is, but he’s still a lot better in most elements of the game.