The Oklahoma City Thunder won the draft. This was the first year in my Thunder fandom where I was nervous about the draft. This was going to be the make-or-break it for the rebuild. For Thunder fans in the last ten years, the draft meant drafting raw athletic long-term projects with later picks. Players like Josh Huestis, Terrance Ferguson, and...
Luka Doncic, LeBron James, and Larry Bird Are Three Versions of the Same Player
Comparisons are a vital part of sports. We can't set our eyes on a new talent without immediately pointing to who that player reminds us of, like the Leonardo Di Caprio meme from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I do it too, so I wish I had an answer for why we can't escape the jaws of a player-comp, but what I will say is I believe I am the best at them. And to prove that to you, I have solved one of the most puzzling ones in recent memory, the case of Luka Doncic.
I am here to tell you that Larry Bird, Luka Doncic, and LeBron James are three versions of the same exact player.
We've all seen it before too. Those three siblings or friends you knew growing up that may have been different heights and had unique facial features, but all acted exactly the same. That's what we have here.
And obviously, there are clear differences that set the players aside, like LeBron's athleticism and defensive capabilities and Larry Bird's all-time great shooting. But they are still all as close as player comps get. All three have the same elite-level basketball IQ and passing ability. Larry Bird is LeBron without the athleticism and Luka's shot-creating ability, LeBron is Bird without the long-range shooting proficiency and Luka's rebounding, and Luka is both without LeBron's athleticism and Bird's shooting.
It's a bit confusing to sort through, but the end result is that all three players have eerily similar playing styles, evident by the impact they have on the game. These are the best three players in NBA history at efficiently carrying the entire offensive load for a team when it comes to scoring, passing, and rebounding.
- At his best, Bird averaged 28 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists
- At his best, LeBron averaged 30 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists
- At his best, Luka has averaged 29 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists
In NBA history, only three players have averaged at least 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists across an entire season, while shooting at least 45% from the field and 35% from three. You guessed it; those three players are LeBron James, Larry Bird, and Luka Doncic.
I am sure that we've seen from the three is the result of a multiverse experiment gone wrong, or right, depending on who you support. They tried to hide it in plain sight; it's why all three names start with the letter L. "Larry Bird" has 9 letters in it, "Luka Doncic" has 10 letter in it, and "LeBron James" has 11 letters in it. Larry Bird is 28 years older than LeBron, cut that in half, and you get LeBron, who is 14 years older than Luka. And to make it all weirder, they all share the same middle name, "Ramone." Okay, I made that last one up for dramatic effect, but you get my point; it's a little strange.
All jokes aside, I really do believe Larry Bird, Luka Doncic, and LeBron James are in a special class of their own when it comes to NBA history. They stand apart in their ability to do everything on the basketball court at a ridiculously efficient level while also displaying a passing ability and Basketball IQ in the 0.1 percentile.
We've been blessed that about a decade after Larry Bird left the league, we got LeBron James, and as he's reaching the twilight of his career, we got Luka Doncic.
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