With the NBA regular season almost 1/4th of the way completed, there are already fans looking forward to the 2018 NBA Draft. The Hawks (4-16), Bulls (3-16), Mavericks (5-17), and Suns (8-15) are the frontrunners for this year’s #1 pick. With a stacked class expected to declare for this summer’s draft, fans of bad teams should be plenty optimistic about their futures.
For these candidates, their potential, present play, athleticism, and skill were all traits necessary. There might be players with more potential or with better college production, but these players have a dynamic style of play that can translate to the NBA.
Luka Doncic would be dominating at a similar rate if not an even greater rate than Bagley if he was playing college ball. That’s not debatable, and it’s also insane to think about
— Justin Hodges (@HodgepodgeHoops) November 27, 2017
Luca Dončić (SG, Real Madrid)
If you haven’t been paying attention to top prospects, chances are you don’t know who Luka Dončić is. Dončić is a Slovenian-born prospect who currently plays for Real Madrid (Spain). What is amazing is that he’s carved up the Euroleague in his teenage years. Dončić is only 18 years old, and he’s averaging 16.8 PPG on 46% this season.
What makes Dončić impressive to many scouts is his all-around game. Not only is Dončić a big-time scorer, but he also rebounds very well for a forward (6 RPG this season) and is a great passer (4.3 APG). At 6’8″, Dončić has the ability to play and defend 3 (or maybe even 4) positions on the floor, and with the NBA transitioning to a position-less game where versatility is valued, Dončić will fit in great in the NBA.
What is most impressive about Dončić is his accomplishments and level of competition as a teenager. Dončić was playing on Real Madrid’s top team at the age of 16, where most USA players are playing weak high school competition. Zion Williamson, one of the top high school prospects this year, is playing for his AA high school. At 16, Dončić was playing against physically matured men and was holding his own.
Now at age 18, Dončić won EuroLeague player of the month in October, and he has a really good chance at winning the season MVP. Dončić’s clear strengths are all-around offensive game and his frame. Dončić (6’8″ at age 18) can be a primary ball-handler in the NBA like we’ve seen Ben Simmons (6’10) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (6’11”).
Remember, Dončić is only 18 years old and is putting up big-time numbers in a league far more competitive than college basketball.
“Michael Porter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III couldn’t put up the production that Doncic is doing in a 40-minute FIBA ball-control game,” said an NBA executive. Dončić also competed in the EuroBasket tournament this summer with many NBA pros, including Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia), Goran Dragic (Slovenia), and the Gasol brothers (Spain).
Against Porzingis and team Latvia, Dončić dropped 27 points for Slovenia, who won the EuroBasket tournament for the first time ever.
NBA All-Star and Slovenia National Team teammate Goran Dragic said,
“Mark my words, he’s going to be one of the best in the whole world.”