Just like the rest of us, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has spent a lot of time under self-quarantine as well. But unlike the rest of us, Mahomes just recently got half a billion dollars richer. But might there be an NBA player that’s cut from the same superstar cloth as Mahomes?
The big news in sports right now is Patrick Mahomes’ monster new deal that just broke the bank. He signed an extension with the Kansas City Chiefs for a whopping 10 years, $503 million. That deal is the richest athlete contact in the history of North American sports leagues.
The next time Mahomes will be a free agent is in 2032. By then, Bronny James might already be a 10 year veteran with his dad probably nearing a decade into retirement.
Despite the size of the deal, very few talking heads if any are saying that Patrick Mahomes isn’t worth it. He’s a young, transcendent talent that may very well be worth every cent.
Bringing the discussion to NBA circles, it begs the question to be asked: is there a current star that deserves to get the same pay day as Patrick Mahomes?
Let’s run through the list of candidates.
Zion Williamson – New Orleans Pelicans
One thing that media critics often overlook about rookies is their shooting percentage. Wide-eyed 19 year olds aren’t expected to be able to adjust to the NBA game so soon. They’re free to miss some shots, take their lumps, and learn their lessons to carry over for the next season.
But Zion is no ordinary teenager. His backboard-shattering game has translated in full to the NBA stage and he’s looking more and more like a player that will etch his name throughout NBA history.
Through his first 19 games, he’s scored 23.6 points per game on an ungodly 58.9% shooting percentage from the field. The only other rookie to average at least 20 points on 55% shooting or better? Shaquille O’Neal. Following his own 20 year old rookie season, Shaq went on to produce 26 points per game until he turned 30. That’s an entire decade of dominance which included many deep playoff runs, an MVP award, and more than a few championship rings.
While Zion has a long way to go to reach the same heights that Shaq did, he very well seems like he could be the modern-day equivalent of the Big Diesel. What he lacks in height, he makes up for in agility and tantalizing athleticism. If he can tap into the full potential of his abilities and God-given physical gifts, he’d be worth any conceivable contract you can think of.
However, the issue with Zion Williamson is really going to be longevity. He’s shown himself to be injury prone throughout most of his career, missing a great chunk of his rookie year as well. It’s clear that the talent is there. But until he can show that he can stay on the court enough to showcase it, he can’t be your candidate for a Mahomes-type deal.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
The year Giannis Antetokounmpo had last season was obviously special. The man won the MVP award while leading his Milwaukee side to the Eastern Conference Finals. But I still don’t think we understand just how special the year he had was.
Giannis’ 2018-2019 MVP season had the 7th highest Player Efficiency Rating (PER) in NBA history. The only other person who had a better season since the turn of the millennium was LeBron James for his own MVP season in 2009. Giannis’ performance was bested only by James, Wilt Chamberlain, and Michael Jordan – three players who have legitimate arguments as the best players of all time.
If that’s not an argument that Giannis is worth whatever contract, I don’t know what is. His stat line last season looks like someone’s overpowered 2k MyPlayer – 27.7 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 5.9 apg on 57.8% shooting from the field.
What’s crazy is the Greek Freak is posting up virtually the same numbers, if not better, this season despite playing even fewer minutes.
If the Milwaukee Bucks could offer him a Patrick Mahomes type of deal, they absolutely would. Giannis’ own free agency is fast approaching, and Milwaukee would do anything to keep him for whatever price.
The only knock that I would give is that Giannis turns 26 this year. By the time any 10-year contract would end, he’d be way past his prime already at the ripe veteran age of 36. Don’t get me wrong, he could still be productive then and may very well be worth half a billion or more when it’s all said and done.
But there’s someone else who just might be slightly more perfect for that kind of deal.
Luka Dončić – Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks have been a pretty good offensive team this season, and that’s thanks in large part to sophomore sensation Luka Dončić.
Pardon me, I misspoke.
The Dallas Mavericks are posting the greatest offensive season in NBA history, and that falls entirely on the shoulders of their Slovenian wunderkind.
Their offensive rating for this season so far stands as the highest ever for an NBA team at 116.7, a mark that eclipses every Golden State team, Magic’s 1987 Showtime Lakers, and any iteration of the Chicago Bulls.
While Rick Carlisle deserves a ton of credit for, it’s Luka Doncic’s superstar season that’s allowed everything to happen. He’s posting 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per contest in 54 games this season, throughout most of which he wasn’t even legally allowed to buy himself a beer yet.
Doncic’s level of production is unprecedented. His numbers are arguably even better than that of LeBron James during his own aged-20 sophomore season, with much greater team success to boot. The Mavericks are making the playoffs in only his second season, something even a young LeBron didn’t accomplish.
The best part about Luka Doncic is that he’s done this all his life. He’s played professionally for longer than a lot of NBA veterans have, and there are no signs of him slowing down any time soon. In fact, he’s still probably a few years away from his true prime.
If anyone deserves a Mahomes-level deal, it’s Luka Doncic.