Mark Cuban Compares Luka Doncic to Magic Johnson: 'He Has the Same Charisma'

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has heaped praise on Luka Doncic, comparing the Slovenian to Magic Johnson. Since being selected by the the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft and being subsequently traded to Dallas, Doncic has taken the league by storm.

Any concerns he may find the transition from Europe to the NBA difficult and that the latter could prove too physically demanding for him were swiftly brushed aside, as the 21-year-old was named Rookie of the Year in his first season in the league and followed it up with a first All-Star selection and inclusion in the All-NBA First Team last year.

While it would be premature to expect Doncic could emulate Magic, there are aspects of the former's game that are clearly reminiscent of the latter. Both are considered oversized point guards, who can play the dual roles of facilitator to allow their teammates to score and being the primary scorer themselves.

For all their on-court similarities, Cuban singled out the Slovenian's charisma as the most striking similarity between him and the former Los Angeles Lakers great.

"He [Doncic] can pass the ball, see from the top, get where he wants from the court. Knows how to pass to guys on time and on target," he said during an appearance on the Danger Show with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

"Clutch player in crunch time. [He] will take on responsibility against anybody, anytime. Great teammate. Fun Kid. Magic will light things up with a smile, Luka's the same way for the Mavs. He's got that charisma that Magic has."

Comparing two players from different eras can be a futile exercise at the best of times, particularly considering Doncic's NBA career is still in its infancy and the statistics do not take into account the respective players' supporting cast.

Looking at the Slovenian's production from a statistical standpoint, however, can at least put his performances in his first two NBA seasons into context. Doncic finished his rookie year with an average of 21.2 points per game, 7.8 rebounds and six assists, while Magic averaged 18 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game.

Both players' numbers grew in their sophomore seasons, with Magic averaging 21.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game, while Doncic vaulted himself into MVP territory following an astonishing season in which he averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game.

Both Doncic and Magic suffered first-round playoff exits in their second season in the league, with the Mavs losing to the Los Angeles Clippers in six games and the Lakers eliminated in three games by the Houston Rockets—the first round was extended to a best-of-seven series only in 2003.

Significantly, however, while Dallas went 33-49 in Doncic's rookie season, Magic was named NBA Finals MVP as the Lakers won the NBA title after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers in six games.

That, however, should not be taken as criticism of Doncic, as the Mavericks had missed the playoffs in two straight seasons before drafting the Slovenian. By comparison, by the time the Lakers selected Magic with the first overall pick in the 1979 draft they were coming off the back of three consecutive playoffs appearances, which included a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 1977 and to the Western Conference Semifinals two years later.

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 25 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Kim Klement-Pool/Getty