Former Celtic Cedric Maxwell did it speaking to Marc Stein of the New York Times, saying Luka Doncic is “Larry Bird reincarnated.” Doncic’s own coach and former Bird teammate Rick Carlisle has dropped the Doncic/Bird comparison before: big ball-handling forwards with a passing gift and a deep competitive streak.
Doncic wants nothing to do with the comparison. ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked him about it after Doncic led the Mavericks to a 115-98 win over a shorthanded Nets team.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) February 28, 2021
“You can’t compare me… More, more games to go. A long time before you can compare me to Larry Bird. I just want to keep hooping, have fun playing basketball.”
In his third NBA season, Bird averaged 22.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 5.8 assists a game to lead a 63-win Celtics team that was bounced in seven games in the second round of the playoffs by a 76ers team that made the Finals.
In his third season, Doncic is averaging 28.5 points a game, 8.4 rebounds, and 9 assists a night on a team that is .500 and, as of right now, would be in the play-in games in the West. Doncic turns 22 on Sunday, but he doesn’t have the talent around him Bird did when he was in his third year (Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Nate “Tiny” Archibald, and Maxwell).
On Saturday, Doncic had 27 points on 11-of-21 shooting, plus six rebounds and seven assists in the win.