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Fresh off a closely contested 131-129 win against the Orlando Magic Monday night, Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd is singing the praises of his superstar point guard in Luka Doncic. It's not difficult to hype Doncic up, who just last week dropped 73 points against the Atlanta Hawks, the most points scored in the NBA since Kobe Bryant's 81-point stunner in 2006. He's a top-5 player in the league, is regularly mentioned in MVP conversations, is a staple at the All-Star game and has carried the Dallas Mavericks to the most success they've experienced since winning a title in 2011. 

The praise is warranted, even if Doncic has no major accolades -- MVP or NBA title -- to his name...yet. But Kidd is taking the praise to another level.

In a Tuesday appearance on 97.1 The Freak's "The Downbeat", Kidd said Doncic has already surpassed the talent of Hall of Famer and former teammate Dirk Nowitzki. Not only that, but Kidd went as far as to say that Doncic is on a similar trajectory of Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Bryant.

"I've said this before, and I'll say this for as long as I'm here, you can't take this young man for granted," Kidd said of Doncic. "He's better than Dirk, he's in the atmosphere of MJ, the best to ever do it. LeBron [James], Kobe, and so just to appreciate what this young man is doing at the age of 24 is something that Dallas has never seen. And I've said this internally, he is better than Dirk. He does things that Dirk could never do. And now is the opportunity of getting the right people around him to ultimately win a championship."

Saying Doncic is better than Nowitzki isn't ridiculous, even the 7-foot German has said in the past that the young superstar is already better than he ever was in his prime. That alone is saying a lot considering the illustrious career Nowitzki put together, which included leading the Mavericks to their lone championship, a league and Finals MVP, All-NBA and All-Star accolades for most of his career, being named to the NBA's 75th anniversary team and most recently being enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2023. Doncic's NBA resume doesn't read nearly as long as Nowitzki's right now, but like Kidd said there are things Doncic can do talent-wise that Nowitzki was never capable of accomplishing. 

Doncic's court vision, rebounding and ability to score at all three levels effectively make him one of the toughest players to guard in the league. Combine that with the fact that he's a 6-foot-7 point guard, who despite not being the most athletic can manipulate the game with his slow-paced, stop-and-go speed, and you have something that we haven't quite seen before in the NBA. That 73-point outing was the perfect example that regardless of what you throw at him on defense, he's basically unstoppable.

When asked if Kidd really backed up his statement that Doncic is better than Nowitzki given he has never made it to the NBA Finals, the Mavericks coach doubled down.

"Yeah, MJ is the same way, MJ didn't make it until his 30s," Kidd said. "This young man is 24 and is breaking all the records that stand in front of him. He's a winner, and his ultimate goal is to win a championship. He will get there, and not just win one, but he will win multiple when it's all said and done."

Through Doncic's first five years in the league he's broken records held by those guys, and the statement "first since Jordan, LeBron or Kobe" frequently appears next to his name with whatever feat he accomplished. The only thing stopping Doncic from truly reaching that level is not winning MVPs or championships, and that comes, as Kidd said, from the Mavericks ensuring they surround their superstar with enough top-end talent to help him get there. 

We've seen Doncic carry the Mavericks on a number of occasions throughout the years, and while it results in these other-worldly offensive performances from the Slovenian superstar, that strategy of relying solely on him has its limitations. We saw that in Doncic's first two postseason appearances, where he was virtually unstoppable against the heavily favored Clippers, and in several instances it looked like he could actually beat L.A. by himself, but ultimately he alone wasn't enough. Even at times this season, Doncic has been asked to do far too much, and while it sometimes results in a win for Dallas, it's not sustainable.

Bringing in Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline last season did ease some of the offensive burden for Doncic, but Irving's frequent stays on the injury report this season means we've seen more of the one-man Doncic show more often than not. Couple that with injuries to other role players and inconsistent play from those that are healthy and Dallas is still very much relying on Doncic's talents to pull out wins on most nights. That has to change if the Mavericks not only want to ensure Doncic stays happy in Dallas but also want to win another title.