SocraticGadfly: Luka vs Trae: It's no contest

January 17, 2020

Luka vs Trae: It's no contest

Atlanta Hawks fans trying to put the best face on the trade two years ago, and some general Trae Young stanners, try to put him in the same breath as Luka Doncic.


It wasn't close before Jan. 15, and it's surely not close since. (And, no, Trae-stanners, your stuffing the ASG ballot box doesn't change this, either.)

Against the Kings, Doncic entered select company with a 15-rebound, 15-assist triple double.

How select?

Wilt Chamberlain.
Magic Johnson, twice.
Larry Bird.
Jason Kidd, twice.
James Harden.
Rajon Rondo.
Nikola Jokic.
Russell Westbrook, several times.
And now, Luka.

Followed by this:

Two nights later, as part of a career high in 3-balls. (The personal best "dagger" starts at 1:40.)

Before this, though, it wasn't even close. Basketball-Reference (I think this is new, and I know it's new to me) has a player comparison tool, one that works on a year-by-year basis.

So, let's put Luka and Trae side by side.


Let's go to the baseline sabermetric stat first, VORP — Value Over Replacement Player. It's Luka in a landslide, 4.2 to 2.2. Why?

Luka's got better 2-ball AND 3-ball shooting percentages and a lot more rebounds. They're even on assists. Luka's slightly better on turnovers. Trae's better on free throws and that's about it.

That's just basic stats. On advanced stats like VORP, Luka has a higher assist rate, which means he gets teammates more involved. He's ahead on both offensive and defensive win shares and WAY ahead on total win shares.

Only Harden, Giannis, LeBron and AD are higher. Trae's not in the top 20. (Luka is third on VORP behind the Beard and the Greek Freak.)

I mean, Trae Young isn't a bad player, and I'm not saying he is.

I AM saying he's not Luka, and YOU, if you claim he is, need to stop it.

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