Legendary NBA Reporter Sam Smith speaks on the ability of Toni Kukoc and compares it to Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic and Toni Kukoc. Two players, you’d have never initially thought about in the same sentence. But once you do, their games and early careers start to look strikingly similar.
Luka Doncic’s career with Real Madrid isn’t bad, you know? He casually became the youngest player to ever play a senior game for the prestigious club. And in his time there, he didn’t really win that much, to be honest. Just a cool 7 titles, a EuroLeague MVP (the youngest ever winner). And of course, he also won two back-to-back EuroLeague Rising star awards, becoming only the third player in history to do it twice in a row.
So, you know, nothing much to really freak out about. And we must say, Toni Kukoc was much of the same. Take a look at the tweet below.
Today, Toni Kukoc joins the Hall of Fame!
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) September 11, 2021
Okay, of course, these achievements are incredible. Their similar levels of success in Europe are simply staggering. But, according to Sam Smith, the comparison between the two doesn’t end there.
Let’s get into it.
Sam Smith believes if Toni Kukoc was allowed to be the first option on a different team, he would be what Luka Doncic is today
Even in the NBA, Toni Kukoc wasn’t exactly a slouch. Of course, he was a 3-time NBA champion. But the thing is, the Croatian was so much more than that.
Even the most committed Bulls fans sometimes don’t realize how much of Kukoc’s game had to be sacrificed so that he could fit within the team. However, if the man was given the chance to be the first option on a different team… well, here is what Sam Smith believes would happen.
“If Toni Kukoc had gone to almost any team other than the Bulls… he’d be what Luka Doncic is now.”
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) September 10, 2021
“You look at the NBA now, whos’ the champion? Guy from Greece. Who’s the MVP? Guy from Eastern Europe. Who’s the best player to watch? Luka Doncic, another European player. Basically, the NBA is dominated now for the most part by European players. If Toni Kukoc had gone to almost any team other than the Bulls, he would have been one of the great players. He would be what Luka Doncic is now. He would be essentially and virtually an NBA candidate.”
This claim may seem absurd at first. But frankly, the more we think about it, the more likely it seems.
From a playmaking perspective, we do think Doncic would reign supreme, he is a generational talent after all. But, as an overall player? We can definitely see Kukoc becoming a fearsome figure in the NBA.
Alas, it is a reality we will never get to see.