Jared Dudley spent the previous two seasons with the Lakers, winning a title in 2020. He was expecting to resign a one-year deal with the Lakers this past offseason, but the team opted to instead shore up the roster space on someone who could contribute more on the floor.
Dudley was disappointed and shocked, but decided to retire and join Jason Kidd in Dallas as an assistant coach. Kidd was previously the Lakers assistant coach for the past couple seasons.
Over his time in Los Angeles, Dudley was able to develop a close kinship with LeBron James. It was easy for the both to connect since both are similar in age, compared to the rest of their teammates who were in their 20s at the time. Even with both not on the same team, they still plan time to break bread together when they are in the same city.
Now that we are a quarter into the season, Dudley has had an in-depth look at how Mavericks’ superstar Luka Doncic’ mindset and how he plays. He spoke recently with Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News about the comparison between Doncic and LeBron James.
“Both, especially early on in their career, are winners — Luka winning in Europe, being so advanced at such a young age. With Kobe [Bryant], it took him four or five years. Luka came in and is already one of the best players in the league, which is very rare. I think common things are unselfishness, wanting to pass and make other players better. Both big guys who can handle the ball. I mean, as good as Luka is, he still has a long way to go, which is a great thing for him.”
It is insane to think that Doncic started playing professionally since he was 13 years old. Like James, he has dominated at every level before the pros. At 19 years old, he led Real Madrid to the EuroLeague championship and won MVP. This was a premier league that included many former NBA players, and Doncic was still able to dominate before he even turned 20.
James was similar in that respect. He was already putting up jaw dropping numbers as soon as he entered the NBA before he was 20. Doncic is only 23 years old, and already an MVP candidate so if he continues on this upward trajectory, we could be seeing him approaching LeBron James level in terms of dominance by the time the Serbian is in his 30s.