After Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic became the second-youngest player in NBA history to score 40 or more points while recording a triple-double, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James offered his endorsement:
The 20-year-old Doncic finished with 42 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in a 117-110 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, making him the second player in NBA history—along with James—to post such a line before the age of 21.
Earlier this month, Doncic called James his "idol," and in just his second season, he is already following in LeBron's footsteps.
Last season, Doncic averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game en route to being named Rookie of the Year. He has taken his game to another level this season with averages of 29.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists.
With LeBron averaging 25.0 points, 11.2 assists and 7.6 rebounds per contest, it can be argued that he and Doncic are two of the early front-runners for MVP.
Further, the Lakers are an NBA-best 11-2 this season, while Doncic has Dallas off to an 8-5 start, good for fifth in the Western Conference. Considering the Mavs haven't made the playoffs since 2015-16 and won 33 or fewer games the previous three seasons, Doncic has helped them take a significant step.
James is a four-time MVP, but it wasn't until his sixth season that he won his first. In his second season as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game.
Along with Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Doncic should be the face of the NBA for years to come. LeBron may be happy to pass the torch to Doncic eventually, but since the Lakers and Mavs are both top teams in the West, the two stars may see one another in the postseason.