Breaking down the Luka Doncic vs. Trae Young debate: Is the Mavs star on top?

Recent comments have shed light on a debate that has Dallas Mavericks fans and Atlanta Hawks fans in a heated standoff: Who is better, Luka Doncic or Trae Young?
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Trae Young
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Trae Young / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks' main focus this offseason has been improving their roster. So far, the team has done so by re-signing Kyrie Irving, signing Seth Curry, trading for Grant Williams, and drafting Dereck Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper.

This might just be the beginning, though, as players such as Tim Hardaway Jr. and JaVale McGee have all been linked as tradable assets. However, one player who is virtually untouchable is Luka Doncic. The four-time All-Star is coming off a season where he averaged a career-high 32.4 points.

On the contrary, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young was once mentioned in trade talks at the beginning of the offseason. In June, Jovan Buha of The Athletic (subscription required) reported that the Los Angeles Lakers had internal discussions about what a trade for Young might look like.

Young and Doncic will forever be linked, as the stars were traded for each other on draft night. Back in January, ESPN's Tim MacMahon wrote about the connection between the two. He stated that both players are "elite as a scorer and passer," and "they both butted heads with their first head coaches and led their teams to surprising conference finals runs after coaching changes."

Breaking down the Luka Doncic vs. Trae Young debate: Is the Mavs star on top?

In a recent interview on his podcast, "The Draymond Green Show," Green sat down with Young to discuss his comparisons to Doncic. During the interview, Green told Young, "you've been All-NBA, he's All-NBA, you've been All-Star, he's an All-Star, neither has won MVP, both lead their team to a conference finals."

He went on to mention the media comparison between them, stating that Doncic is highly praised, while Young is painted as this bad guy.

So, just how similar are Doncic and Young? How does the Mavs' star stack up to his draft class rival?

Let's break down the two.

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Statistical Averages

Through five NBA seasons, Doncic has averaged 27.6 points on 46.6 percent shooting overall and 33.8% from deep. In his rookie season, he averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 boards, and 6.0 assists. Four seasons later, Doncic has taken his game to the next level.

In the 2022-2023 season, he averaged 32.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.0 assists while knocking down a career-high 49.6% of his shots.

On the other side, Young has a career average of 25.5 points. During his rookie campaign, he averaged 19.1 points, and last season, he tallied 26.2 points on 42.9% shooting.

That being said, Young holds an edge over Doncic in the passing department, as he holds a career average of 9.3 assists per game and dished out 10.2 per contest this past year. Plus, Young has a better career three-point percentage than Doncic at 35.1%.

However, Doncic leads him in points, rebounds, and overall shooting. Defensively, both players rank near the bottom in terms of defensive statistics.


As far as awards, both players are not far apart. Doncic's list of accomplishments includes being a four-time All-Star while being named to the All-NBA First Team four times. He also won the 2019 Rookie of the Year award and was named to the All-NBA Rookie First Team.

Young is a two-time all-star who was named to the All-NBA Third Team in 2022. Like Doncic, he too was named to the All-NBA Rookie First Team.

While both players have yet to win MVP, Doncic has been closer than Young. In 2022, he finished fifth in voting, and in 2023, he dropped to eight. Last season, Doncic fell short of the NBA scoring title, as he ranked one point behind Joel Embiid.

Playoff History

One final thing to point out is their team's playoff history with them on the team. During his tenure with the Mavericks, Doncic has made the playoffs three times. In two of the appearances, he failed to get out of the first round. In 2022, however, he made the Western Conference Finals.

Similarly, Young and the Hawks have made the playoff three times. Like Doncic, he too struggled to get out of the first round twice, while making the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021.

In terms of playoff numbers, Doncic leads the way. For his career, he has a playoff average of 32.5 points on 47.3 percent shooting. Every year Dallas has made the playoffs with Doncic on the roster, he has averaged 30 points or more.

In comparison, Young has a playoff average of 26.4 points on 40.2 percent shooting. This past season, he helped lead the Hawks through the Play-In Tournament. Young averaged 29.2 points in the postseason.

When comparing the two, both players are pretty similar in terms of their careers in the NBA. While Doncic does rank above Young in specific categories, is it enough to give him the nod?

You decide!