Predicting 5 players that will battle Luka Doncic for Western Conference supremacy over the next decade.
Luka Doncic is fresh off of a 73-point performance against the Atlanta Hawks. His 73 points in a single game is tied for fourth all-time in NBA history. Doncic just continues to impress. Since he stepped onto the NBA scene, he has refused to remotely slow down.
Doncic is one of the NBA's brightest young stars. His regular season stats are other-worldly and the closest numbers to LeBron James as one could conceivably get. Let's make this clear. Luka is not LeBron. We should not expect him to be.
Luka is a polarizing offensive force, but aside from a trip to the Western Conference Finals back in 2022, Luka and the Mavs have had a fairly disappointing amount of playoff success. In Luka's five years before this season, he has been to the playoffs three times. The WCF appearance is documented above, but the other two playoff appearances are first-round playoff exits.
If the early playoff exits persist, the aesthetic of Luka will begin to dwindle. With a league filled with young stars, it's fair to wonder what teams and what players Doncic will presumably compete against in his quest for a title. Doncic is still only 24 years old and turns 25 in February. He has many years ahead of him.
For this exercise, we are going to look at five young stars who reside in the Western Conference, that are going to make life difficult for Luka to get to the Finals.
Honorable mentions: Chet Holmgren - OKC, Devin Booker - PHX, Nikola Jokic - DEN, De'Aaron Fox - SAC
(For reference, we are only looking at players currently 25 and younger for the exercise)
5. Western Conference foe: San Antonio Spurs - Victor Wembanyama, C
Victor Wembanyama is included on this list because, well duh. Wembanyama is about as Unicorn as you can get. He is 20 years old and he is already incredible. His placement on this list at fifth is currently attached to the San Antonio Spurs' status as a rebuilding team.
The Spurs are not a good team and it might take them a bit to get back into regular postseason contention. Wembanyama vs. Doncic has the makings of a great matchup, especially because it incorporates an international twist.
This matchup is all about Slovenia vs. France. The NBA would love a matchup like this, viewership would for sure be through the roof. Wembanyama's skill set is incredibly unique and he has the potential to be one of the most impactful two-way players this league has seen in a minute.
Luka seemingly scores on anyone, at any time, anywhere on the court. He won't wow you with his defense or his athleticism, but that has yet to factor into any facet of his game. Wemby vs. Luka would be electric. Also, the regional rivalry of San Antonio vs. Dallas would be additionally intriguing.