Many fans in the NBA have pegged Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic as the next LeBron James, but Skip Bayless isn’t having any of it.
On a recent episode of “Undisputed,” Bayless strongly asserted that the Los Angeles Lakers star was much further along as a player when he was 20 compared to where Doncic is now.
"I'm sorry, Luka is not better than your man LeBron was when LeBron was 20." — @RealSkipBayless
RT if you agreepic.twitter.com/b6JinRG192
— FS1 (@FS1) December 10, 2019
“You’re saying Luka Doncic is better right now than LeBron was at 20?” he asked co-host Shannon Sharpe. “I do see, I also see what he doesn’t do. He’s a 32 percent three-point shooter, that ranks him 138th in the league right now.”
He later went on to say definitively that James was better early in his career compared to Doncic.
“I’m sorry, he’s not better than your man LeBron was when LeBron was 20,” he said. “I know Cleveland did not make the playoffs that year, they were 42-40 and LeBron went 27, seven (assists) and seven (rebounds). LeBron is a better passer than Luka. He just is, and he was. At 20, he had the gift. Luka is a terrific young playmaker. I’ll also remind you at 15 he was playing pro basketball in Europe at a high level with grown men.”
Finally, Bayless looked back fondly at how great James truly was early in his career.
“He was something now, he was a force,” Bayless said. “Not the G.O.A.T., but he was something. So now we’re on the opposite sides of the table here, because I’m going to defend him. He had a grown man’s body when he was like 16. At 20, he was a dominating force in this league. He could play bully ball when he was 20.”
Bayless has long been a detractor of James, repeatedly saying that he will never usurp Michael Jordan as the greatest NBA player of all time. Still, he has come to the conclusion that James was better than Doncic.
Right now, Doncic is averaging 30.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game. James is averaging 25.9 points, 10.8 assists and 6.8 rebounds per game. Both are in the conversation for league MVP.
Doncic may very well be an all-time player when all is said and done, but to suggest that he is better now than James was at his age seems to be more a product of recency bias than anything else.
As for James, he’s probably not too worried about any comparisons being made. He’s too busy trying to get the Lakers a championship title by the end of this season.