The NBA Draft is a risky venture, as you’re basing your franchise’s future on the hopes that someone that’s 19 or 20 years old will be capable of fully tapping into their potential. No matter the player’s pedigree, there’s never a completely sure thing. With European and foreign born players, there’s an added stigma and bad selections are held against teams moreso than busts out of college. For every success story like Kristaps Porzingis, an Andrea Bargnani is brought up as a cautionary tale.
Luka Doncic, arguably the most decorated European prospect in recent memory, has seen similar draft question marks arise throughout his career. The Slovenian, who’s listed at 6’8 and around 220 pounds, is only 19 years old and already has a FIBA intercontinental cup, Euroleague championship, Euroleague MVP and Final-Four MVP, two Liga ACB championships, and about a half-dozen other accomplishments. Essentially, no 19-year old in the history of the game had as much professional success as he had, and it’s not even really close. And yet, as we’ve gotten closer to the Draft, it seems the questions have become even bigger concerns, creating an extremely polarizing debate in regards to where he should and could be drafted.
Most media have him pegged at going in between No. 1 and No. 3 in the 2018 NBA Draft, but as we’ve gotten closer to the NBA’s most interesting offseason event, we’ve witnessed him slip a bit down Draft boards.
It’s clear that Euroleague and the first division in European leagues, where Doncic plays, is better competition than the NCAA. He’s obviously got more professional experience (he’s played professionally since he was 16) than any of the NCAA prospects. Throw in the fact that he’s also performing admirably at that higher level, averaging over 16 points, four rebounds and four assists in Euroleague, and there really shouldn’t be much debate as to where he should go. But, teams are apparently still gun shy on drafting him.
Doncic doesn’t have athleticism that’ll blow you away, and while he’s a decent shooter, questions about his ability to replicate and improve those things in the NBA are reasons to be a little scared, especially if you’re a team who just saw a physical specimen like Mo Bamba or DeAndre Ayton work out in person for you. In previous years, the high-level European prospects compared to the NCAA prospects have always been seen as the bigger gamble. However, with Doncic, it feels like it’s the opposite. His ceiling may very well be lower than a seven-foot big-man who could stretch the floor, but his floor seems extremely high.
Even with all the intel, game tape, rumors and opinions, we wanted to get a better understanding of how others viewed Doncic as a talent. So we decided to ask some of Doncic’s peers and opposition about what they thought of his NBA outlook and his game overall. Here’s what they said.