Is Luka Doncic the Real Deal?

A look at Euroleague prospect Luka Doncic for the 2018 NBA Draft.

Luka Doncic has already had an eventful career despite being a mere 18 years of age.  It started at the age of nine when his father, Sasa Doncic, won the 2008 Slovenian League championship where he was plopped right in the middle of the celebration, gold medal and all.  Only 4 years later would Doncic be offered a five-year deal with Real Madrid, and would then spend the entirety of that contract learning from Euro stars such as Sergio Llull and (ex-NBA player) Sergio Rodriguez. 

At the age of 17, just one year ago, Doncic would win the Euroleague and ACB Rising Star awards after a very successful season on one of the best non-NBA teams in the world.  These awards were not falsely given either as Doncic proved himself a star in the 2017 Eurobasket tournament as he, along with NBA star Goran Dragic, led Slovenia to their first ever Eurobasket gold medal.  In the tournament, he averaged an astounding 14.3 PPG, 8.1 RPB, and 3.6 APG against the very best that Europe had to offer.  He removed a lot of question marks that scouts and outside observers had as the competition he faced would beat most, if not all, of the teams that prospects Marvin Bagley and Michael Porter Jr. will face this year in the NCAA.

If you watched Doncic and the Slovenian national team you would have seen how fluidly Doncic plays as he can pass and run the offense like a point guard, rebound like a power forward, and space the floor like a shooting guard.  An overlooked part about Doncic is his frame as he stands at 6’8” and weighs 220 pounds; he looks to be able to add more strength as well as there is still plenty of baby fat that can be trimmed under the guidance of an NBA level training staff.  There’s also a level of consistency to his game. Doncic does not have great games and bad games, but instead performs at a consistent level each night. 

Despite only being 18 years of age, he already has a very polished and mature game that most teams can only hope to get out of their young prospects years down the road.  An important aspect of his development is that he has been trained and groomed as a professional ever since he first signed a deal with Real Madrid, something that should not be overlooked as he has not been subjected to the “me-first” and privileged attitude so often seen in today’s top prospects as they so often dominate the AAU and high school leagues they play in. 

There are few question marks when it comes to Doncic and this should not be overlooked by NBA scouts and GMs as the NBA Draft is more often than not a crapshoot, holding out hope that their draft pick will reach his full potential.  Doncic, on the other hand, is on the right path of growth and development as he has only gotten better since entering the Real Madrid system, and should continue down that path no matter which NBA team picks him.  Obviously, the shock and awe of prospects such as Bagley and Porter Jr. will not (and should not) be ignored, but the NBA team that drafts Doncic should know one thing.  The Slovenian will not disappoint.

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