On Friday Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News posted perhaps the most praise-filled interview about Luka Doncic with a NBA Legend.
That legend? Jerry West, currently a consultant with the Los Angeles Clippers, formerly an executive with the Los Angeles Lakers that helped construct a pair of dynasties, as well as a consultant with the Golden State Warriors during their championship run. Before his days as an executive he had an incredible NBA 14 year NBA career where he won one championship and ended up in the NBA Hall of Fame.
It’s safe to say that Jerry West is one of the most successful NBA people in the history of the league. And he thinks Luka Doncic plays the game the right way.
“Everyone wishes they had a 20-year-old who plays like him, and he hasn’t even scratched the surface. It’s fun to watch genius...
I’ve been around a long time,” he says, “and I’ve seen a lot of special players. How many superstars are there in the league at any given time? Maybe five or six. There’s a difference between All-Stars and superstars.
A superstar is different, and that’s what he is.”
In the wide ranging interview, West talks about his affninity for how Doncic approaches the game, the fact that he takes losses hard, but that his lack of top tier athleticism may be an issue as he learns by experience in the NBA. It is without question, the kind of piece where you read the entire thing.
West didn’t stop there, though. He thinks that Doncic has the potential to be special in a way many of us haven’t really considered yet. After all, it’s just year two.
“Look at Dallas; one player has transformed them into a playoff team. He will be the best player Dallas has ever had.
I have great respect for Nowitzki, but Dirk is not him.”
This is a man who played against and with some of the early greats in NBA history: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, and more. He’s the general manager during both the Showtime Lakers, led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant Lakers. The man knows his basketball.
And he thinks Luka Doncic has what it takes to be one of the best players of all time. Fans critical of the 20-year-old’s game might take that harder than most. A player better than Dirk Nowitzki? It’s hard to imagine. But Jerry West has high expectations for Luka Doncic and we should as well.