NBA Finals: What a championship would mean for Tatum and Doncic's legacies

Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics / Winslow Townson/GettyImages
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What a championship would mean for Luka Doncic

Similar to Tatum, Luka Doncic came into the NBA with much fanfare. At 13, he was already playing professionally and even won the Euroleague MVP before his arrival in the NBA. How he wasn't the No. 1 pick in 2018 still baffles me; what makes it worse is that he was selected as No. 3 by the Atlanta Hawks in a trade for Trae Young at No. 5 by the Dallas Mavericks.

I'm sure the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings are regretting their picks, just as the Hawks found a star and cornerstone in Young, but even he's not on Doncic's level. Doncic came right out of the gate, even more dominant than Tatum, winning the 2019 Rookie of the Year. He didn't have the team success of Tatum in his first year but through his first six seasons, he has had more individual success paired with some deep playoff runs.

His accolades are the following thus far:

- 5x All-NBA First Team

- 5x All-Star

- 2024 NBA Scoring Champion

- 2019 NBA Rookie Of The Year

- All-Rookie First Team

He's a primetime playoff performer and has been showing since day one. Whether it was his iconic buzzer-beater in the bubble against the Los Angeles Clippers that had Mike Breen call his iconic "Bang!" or just recently against the Minnesota Timberwolves, I saw him going a mile away once he got the switch he wanted on four-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.

Doncic has set many records throughout his career, including becoming the first player in postseason history to record 450+ PTS, 150+ REBS, and 50+ 3-PT FGM in a postseason run. He's been a prodigy since he was a teenager playing against professionals and has been compared to NBA legends such as LeBron James, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan throughout his career.

A championship at 25 will put Doncic ahead of the curve, where Jordan and LeBron won their first titles (28 and 27), respectively. My top 15 consisted of Jordan, LeBron, Kareem, Kobe, Magic, Russell, Wilt, Bird, Duncan, Hakeem, Shaq, Steph, KD, Oscar, and Dr.J. when I did my NBA 75 list back in November 2021.

If I were to redo, Nikola Jokic would be in the 15-20 range, as would Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was #20 at the time. A ring will catapult Doncic into that top 25 discussion with so much career left ahead of him.

If he wins this title and takes care of his body, there's no telling how far he can climb up the list. Top 15? Top 10? Top 5? Only time will tell, so let's enjoy the show!