Luka Doncic has been likened to LeBron James and the duo's rookie numbers certainly show the Dallas Mavericks sensation and the Los Angeles Lakers superstar are comparable at this stage of the Slovenian's career.

It was Dwyane Wade who said 19-year-old Doncic's passing ability was "LeBron James-like" after facing the Mavs with the Miami Heat last week.

Doncic, the third overall pick in last year's draft, is the clear frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award, a prize James took home in 2003-04 when he was a teenager playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Four-time MVP James has gone on to establish himself as one of the greatest to ever play the game, and the statistics from his rookie campaign are remarkably similar to Doncic's debut season in Dallas.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at the numbers for Doncic in 2018-19 and James in 2003-04.

Points per game: Doncic 20.7, James 20.9

James was one of 17 players to average at least 20 points per game and he finished his first season 13th, behind the likes of fellow rookie Carmelo Anthony (21) and Tracy McGrady, who led the entire NBA with 28.

A sign of how the league has changed is evidenced by the fact that, at the All-Star break, there were 30 players averaging at least 20 points and one, James Harden (36.6), averaging more than 30. In his 55 games to date, Doncic is averaging 7.3 fewer minutes on court than James but is providing similar production.

Rebounds per game: Doncic 7.2, James 5.5

James may be taller and bigger than Doncic, but the Slovenian is proving adept when it comes to boards.

The Mavs youngster ranks 36th in the league in rebounds, with James finishing his first campaign 58th in that category.

Assists per game: Doncic 5.6, James 5.9

Wade's suggestion the two are similar in the way they dish the ball around is backed up by the stats.

Doncic is 21st in the NBA for assists per game, ahead of All-Stars like Stephen Curry and Paul George, though James was 13th overall in 2003-04.

Field goal percentage: Doncic 43, James 41.7

James attempted three more shots on average in his maiden term but Doncic is proving more efficient.

The rise of three-point attempts is also reflected in the fact Doncic is making 2.4 per game from seven attempts, while James' rookie average was only 0.8 made from 2.7 attempted.

Double-doubles: Doncic 13, James 12

Despite playing 24 fewer games than James did, Doncic already has more double-doubles than his counterpart managed.

Triple-doubles: Doncic 3, James 0

James failed to register a triple-double in his first campaign in Cleveland. Doncic became the second-youngster player to achieve the feat in January and has gone on to do it twice more.

In fact, only six players have recorded more triple-doubles than Doncic in 2018-19 - one of whom is James.

Pat Riley thinks the Miami Heat had a good chance to win more championships if LeBron James remained with the team.

James left the Cavaliers to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in July 2010. The trio made four NBA Finals appearances and won two titles together before James returned to Cleveland prior to the 2014-15 season.

Riley, the long-time Heat president, reflected on James leaving the team during a recent interview with ESPN.

"When LeBron made that call, I saw a dynasty fly out the window," Riley said. "I didn't blame him, but I knew that was a 10-year team. It was just a sad day for me and our franchise because I wanted that dynasty.

"I wanted this city and this team to go 10 years and maybe be in the Finals eight times. I don't know how many championships we would have won. But, I don't have any rancor towards him, at all."

James, a 15-time All-Star and four-time MVP, went on to make four more trips to the Finals and won another championship with the Cavaliers in 2016. He became a free agent this offseason and signed a four-year, $153.3million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Heat have made two playoff appearances in the four seasons since James departed. They are in a virtual tie with the Detroit Pistons for eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal acted as a recruiter during the NBA All-Star weekend.

The Wizards – who entered the break with a 24-34 record – traded Otto Porter Jr and Markieff Morris before the trade deadline.

Washington trail the Detroit Pistons by three-and-a-half games for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Beal, who tallied 11 points on four-of-11 shooting in Team LeBron's 178-164 win over Team Giannis on Sunday, used the All-Star weekend in Charlotte to try and recruit new team-mates.

"The recruiting process is really going alright. It's going alright. I'm trying," Beal said. "This is new for me. I'm definitely getting some ears and seeing what guys are looking for."

Beal did not specify which players he spoke with but said he was asked multiple times "How is D.C.?"

"I'm going to keep it in my piggy bank, in my back pocket," Beal said when asked which All-Stars he tried to recruit. "Hopefully we can do something."

The two-time All-Star is averaging a career-high 25.1 points and 5.4 assists in 37.2 minutes per game this season. He is shooting 47.2 per cent from the field and 34.9 per cent from three-point range.

LeBron James was trading lob passes with Dwyane Wade again, one last time. Lobs from Kyrie Irving once again, too. And after making a stepback 3-pointer late, he stared down Joel Embiid to send a message without saying a word. 

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton said he and LeBron James "get along just fine".

The Lakers entered the NBA All-Star break sitting 10th in the Western Conference with a 28-29 record amid an inconsistent run of form.

Some have speculated James may prefer a coaching change but Walton said he "didn't know anything about that" when he spoke to TMZ Sports.

"LeBron and I get along just fine," Walton said.

The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month the Lakers have had no "internal discussions" about firing Walton.

Walton is expected to finish the season as the Lakers' coach, that report said.

James signed a four-year, $154million contract with the Lakers in the offseason.

The three-time NBA champion is averaging 26.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists in his first season in Los Angeles, but missed more than a month with a groin strain.

The Lakers return to action against the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

 

Stephen Curry said Zion Williamson is "unreal" as the Golden State Warriors star praised the top NBA draft prospect.

Duke forward Williamson has delivered highlight-worthy material in almost every game this season and is projected to be the top pick in the 2019 draft.

Curry was asked about Williamson when he met with reporters during All-Star weekend and the two-time MVP has been impressed.

"He's unreal. We were talking about him the other day in our team room," Curry said.

"He has a lot of hype around him and he's unbelievably talented, but you can't teach his passion and the way that … he plays.

"He plays hard every possession, and that's an underrated skill that kids can kind of emulate."

Williamson is averaging 22.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game for Duke this season, while shooting 68.3 per cent from the field.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James also said last weekend Williamson was "very impressive".

"I mean, I guess it's dope," Williamson said about the praise from the two stars, via USA Today. "Those are two of the best players in the league there. And then, I'm hoping to be there competing against them next year."

Duke are set to host North Carolina in a rivalry game on Wednesday and will then face Syracuse on Saturday at the Carrier Dome.

 

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is no longer the first vice-president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA).

James' four-year term expired, and the three-time NBA champion will be replaced by Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala.

Iguodala has been a vice-president with the NBPA since 2013.

"I am honoured to be chosen by my peers to step into this position and take on a larger responsibility within the NBPA," Iguodala said in a statement.

"I look forward to continuing my work with [NBPA executive director] Michele [Roberts], Chris Paul and the Executive Committee to accomplish the best possible outcomes for the union and our future members."

Stephen Curry and Carmelo Anthony will relinquish their positions on the committee. Jaylen Brown, Malcolm Brogdon and Bismack Biyombo will replace them as vice-presidents.

"Malcolm, Jaylen and Bismack have all shown a great commitment to the union since they arrived in the league," NBPA president Chris Paul said. "I have no doubt they will bring a fresh perspective and passion to the Executive Committee and I am excited to start working with them."

Paul, 33, is expected to serve as the NBPA president through 2023, while Iguodala is 35-years-old.

Brogdon, Brown and Biyombo are all younger than 27. 

 

Kevin Durant vowed to keep adding to his collection of individual prizes after being named the NBA All-Star Game's MVP for a second time.

The Golden State Warriors star racked up 31 points with seven rebounds and two assists to inspire Team LeBron to a 178-164 victory over Team Giannis on Sunday.

Durant, who also won the award in 2012, has now scored 30 or more points in four different All-Star games - an NBA record.

"It's all sweet to me. It's hard to rank, everything's special," he said.

"It's cool to be out there with some of the best players to have ever played the game and to win MVP in front of my family and friends was pretty sweet. I'll just try to keep racking them up I guess.

"As a veteran now, coming back and winning another MVP is cool to put into the trophy case."

And Durant paid tribute to Dallas Mavericks veteran Dirk Nowitzki, who perhaps featured in his final All-Star Game amid rumours that this season - his 21st in the NBA - will be his last.

"He is one of those guys where you see him have a tough game three and bounce back in game four," Durant said.

"That shows character, that shows what he's about. So, to grind against Dirk for a couple of years in the playoffs, battling against him in the Western Conference all these years has been a treat.

"He's somebody that's unguardable and created a shot that really can't be blocked.

"His legacy is going to live forever as a baller."

LeBron James immediately switched his attention to aiding the Los Angeles Lakers' playoff bid after claiming victory in the NBA All-Star Game.

Team LeBron defeated Team Giannis 178-164 on Sunday, the Lakers superstar contributing 19 points with eight rebounds and four assists.

James' groin injury, sustained on Christmas Day, coincided with the Lakers' drop in form as they slipped from fourth to 10th in the Western Conference.

And as soon as the All-Star Game was over, James outlined his desire to inspire his team (28-29) on a charge to the post-season.

"Looking forward to the second half of the season," he said. "Looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race. That's my only mindset.

"That's the only thing that's going to happen in my mental space for these next two months, pretty much on how I can get this team playing the type of level of basketball we were playing before my injury."

Such is James' winning mentality, the three-time NBA champion was even desperate to be the first to reach the post-game podium and speak to the media.

"You put me on the floor, I love to compete," he said. "I'm a competitor, no matter what it is. I was competing to see if I can get to this table first. Did anybody come here before me?

"See what I'm talking about? See you all the second half of the season."

Team LeBron did not get off to a great start, but came back to claim a 178-164 victory over Team Giannis in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and his team were motivated, but Team LeBron's late game run was too much to handle.

Kevin Durant took home his second All-Star Game MVP with 31 points.

Here are three takeaways from the final event of All-Star weekend.

 

Giannis is ready to take the league by storm

Although the Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the NBA and Antetokounmpo is a frontrunner for MVP, Team LeBron were considered the favourite in this contest.

Antetokounmpo responded to the critics with a plethora of dunks. His most impressive one came on an unorthodox bounce pass from Stephen Curry.

Antetokounmpo even managed to rattle a pair of three-pointers home en route to his 38 points and 11 rebounds on 17-of-23 shooting. 

 

Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade still have gas in the tank

Nowitzki and Wade played limited minutes in the game, but still showed bursts of the talent that helped them become legends.

Nowitzki connected on all three of his field goal attempts, and all of them were three-pointers.

Meanwhile, Wade notched his 13th All-Star appearance and got to throw one last lob to his good friend James.

Wade finished with seven points on two-of-four shooting.

 

Three points are better than two

As always, the All-Star Game featured basketball's best shooters. When it came down to it, long-range marksmen were what won the game.

Despite trailing by 13 points at the half and battling against a deficit of 20 plus, Team LeBron used the deep ball to secure the victory.

James' squad shot 90 three-pointers, which was 13 more than the opposition. It connected on 35 of those attempts and 11 different players contributed at least one made three-pointer.

Six total players hit five or more three-pointers in the contest, the most ever in an All-Star Game.

Kevin Durant led Team LeBron to a 178-164 win over Team Giannis and was rewarded with his second career All-Star MVP award.

The Golden State Warriors forward was 10-of-15 shooting from the field and made six of his nine three-point attempts. He tallied a team-high 31 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks in the victory on Sunday.

"This is definitely going to give me some bragging rights," Durant said, as he will now get ready to return to the Warriors, where he plays alongside fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

This was Durant's 10th All-Star appearance. He has scored 30-plus points in four different All-Star games, which is the most in history.

Durant also took home the All-Star MVP in 2012.

Team LeBron took home a victory in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, beating Team Giannis 178-164 on Sunday. 

NBA All-Star Saturday Night is fun but it is also something we can learn quite a bit from.

This weekend has been interesting. Young talent was showcased and surprising innovations were made. But there is room for more change.

Here is what we learned from the NBA's All-Star action in Charlotte on Saturday.

 

Tatum is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers

So the Skills competition always seems to come down to the final three-pointer to close out the round and several times on the night players who got to the shot first wound up losing because they could not hit that first attempt.

But as the night went on, people were more and more creative. First, it was Atlanta Hawks youngster Trae Young thinking smart as he hit a three-pointer with a runner to beat De'Aaron Fox.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was studying everything going on though and he was not going to get beat by the three-pointer in the finals. Against Young, he took a runner — from half-court — to edge out Young for the win.

This challenge is changing before our very eyes.

 

Nets players keep showcasing well

The NBA All-Star weekend is starting to feel like a showcase for the Brooklyn Nets.

First, last season Spencer Dinwiddie won the Skills Challenge. Then this year Joe Harris out-duelled three-point specialist Stephen Curry to win the contest. And on Friday, Rodions Kurucs scored 10 points while adding five assists, four rebounds and two threes in the Rising Stars Challenge.

And on Sunday, D'Angelo Russell will make his first career All-Star appearance. Talent is starting to show for the Nets which is probably a pretty good reason why they are in line for a playoff spot with a 30-29 record at the break. The Nets are almost defiantly on the up and up even though few take notice.

 

It's time to change something with the Dunk Contest

There were memorable moments in this year's dunk contest. Oklahoma City Thunder's Hamidou Diallo jumped over Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal.

Rapper J. Cole nearly threw one down himself after Dennis Smith Jr. threw one down over him.

But overall, once again, the Dunk Contest was a bit of a snoozer. We have seen everything these guys have done before and one of the few 50's on the night came on the fifth attempt in the second round by Smith. 

The anticipation of the dunks is almost the most exciting part of the night now. Something has to change. Whether it be a different format or simply opening up the contest more (would you not like to see Zion Williamson in the contest this year even though he is still in college?) or even allowing the use of professional dunkers to compete against NBA players, something has to change.

We have seen it all at this point, and to be honest, a lot of people are bored with it. Unless you can give us Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon again. Absolutely nothing about that was boring.

NBA All-Star Saturday Night is fun but it is also something we can learn quite a bit from.

This weekend has been interesting. Young talent was showcased and surprising innovations were made. But there is room for more change.

Here is what we learned from the NBA's All-Star action in Charlotte on Saturday.

 

Tatum is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers

So the Skills competition always seems to come down to the final three-pointer to close out the round and several times on the night players who got to the shot first wound up losing because they could not hit that first attempt.

But as the night went on, people were more and more creative. First, it was Atlanta Hawks youngster Trae Young thinking smart as he hit a three-pointer with a runner to beat De'Aaron Fox.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was studying everything going on though and he was not going to get beat by the three-pointer in the finals. Against Young, he took a runner — from half-court — to edge out Young for the win.

This challenge is changing before our very eyes.

 

Nets players keep showcasing well

The NBA All-Star weekend is starting to feel like a showcase for the Brooklyn Nets.

First, last season Spencer Dinwiddie won the Skills Challenge. Then this year Joe Harris out-duelled three-point specialist Stephen Curry to win the contest. And on Friday, Rodions Kurucs scored 10 points while adding five assists, four rebounds and two threes in the Rising Stars Challenge.

And on Sunday, D'Angelo Russell will make his first career All-Star appearance. Talent is starting to show for the Nets which is probably a pretty good reason why they are in line for a playoff spot with a 30-29 record at the break. The Nets are almost defiantly on the up and up even though few take notice.

 

It's time to change something with the Dunk Contest

There were memorable moments in this year's dunk contest. Oklahoma City Thunder's Hamidou Diallo jumped over Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal.

Rapper J. Cole nearly threw one down himself after Dennis Smith Jr. threw one down over him.

But overall, once again, the Dunk Contest was a bit of a snoozer. We have seen everything these guys have done before and one of the few 50's on the night came on the fifth attempt in the second round by Smith. 

The anticipation of the dunks is almost the most exciting part of the night now. Something has to change. Whether it be a different format or simply opening up the contest more (would you not like to see Zion Williamson in the contest this year even though he is still in college?) or even allowing the use of professional dunkers to compete against NBA players, something has to change.

We have seen it all at this point, and to be honest, a lot of people are bored with it. Unless you can give us Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon again. Absolutely nothing about that was boring.

Oklahoma City Thunder's Hamidou Diallo leaped over an NBA Hall of Famer en route to a memorable victory in the Slam Dunk contest on Saturday.

Diallo stunned the Charlotte crowd on All-Star weekend after flying over Los Angeles Lakers great O'Neal, who stands at 2.16metres tall.

With Thunder team-mates Russell Westbrook and Paul George watching from the sidelines – and wearing a Superman t-shirt underneath his Thunder jersey – Diallo got the arena on its feet as he finished with his elbow inside the basket.

That gave Diallo a score of 50 and a 98-point total in the first round as he progressed to the final along with New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr.

After channelling Vince Carter's iconic 2000 dunk attempt, Diallo was not to be denied as the 20-year-old soared over American artist Quavo en route to an overall score of 88, three points more than Smith.

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