There are clear similarities shared between Doncic and James. Both players see the floor multiple steps ahead of the defense as passers and execute with exceptional accuracy and timing. They both hunt mismatches aggressively and can fill up the box score in each main category.
Doncic is coming off his third All-NBA First-Team campaign with averages of 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 8.7 assists. At 23, he led the Mavericks to a Western Conference Finals appearance that ended with the team being eliminated by the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
During a conversation on HBO's "The Shop" on episode four of season five, James highlighted the exceptionally talented Doncic. James was especially impressed with how Doncic can accomplish being practically a point guard with such a size advantage.
“His size. I mean he’s gigantic. A 6-8 point guard. He’s 225 pounds. He has the ball on a string. And more importantly, his vision. That’s why I love him,” James said.
James specifically highlighted how Doncic manages to control games by being the floor general. He can counter any defensive strategy played against him without getting sped up by utilizing effective pace, pivots, and manipulating the last line of defense.
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“He can control a game. He doesn’t even have to shoot. Literally, he’ll walk the ball up ten straight times and get to his spot every single time, just because of his pace,” James added. “He knows when he comes off a pick and roll if they’re hard showing or if they hedging or if they dropping the pick and roll. He knows I can turn the corner because I got this shoulder, and I know the third line of defense, when I get there, if I just slow down and use my pivots, not even jump, just the Euro one-two, this guy’s flying by every time. It’s the mind.”
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Doncic has commanded the respect of his most talented of peers. It's not easy to achieve what Doncic does on the basketball court. He's almost made it into an art form with how he reads the defense and plays at his own pace.
You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.
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