Luka first started coming to P3 when he was 16 years old and spent a few weeks with us each summer leading up to the start of his NBA career. It was immediately apparent and became even more evident as he developed and matured, that Luka did in-fact have tools to excel at the NBA level. He possessed above average strength, lateral acceleration and great positional size. What really stood out, however, was the same thing that we noticed in James Harden - Luka had superhuman braking ability.
While James ranks in the 99th percentile in a series of deceleration related metrics compared to our NBA database, Luka as a teenager ranked in the 93rd percentile. In the same way that James’ athletic gifts bubbled beneath the surface, Luka’s did too.
Learning from the granular data on the benchmark athletes in our dataset gives us the chance to identify athletes who possess unique tools that might escape the eye-test. Studying James gave us a chance to understand Luka before he set foot on an NBA court. Something tells us Luka won’t be the last of his kind.