There is a Slovenian basketball player named Luka Doncic who at 18 is considered by some to be the second-best non-NBA player in the world. Though he stands 6-foot-7, Doncic plays a below-the-rim game. He’s excellent as the ball handler in a pick-and-roll, and he has been so productive in the European league there is talk he could go No. 1 in the 2018 NBA draft, as reported in a detailed analysis by The Ringer.
He’s the most accomplished European prospect since Ricky Rubio, and he’s a much more complete player. There aren’t many things he can’t do on a basketball court.
The problem, though — there is always a problem — is that Doncic is not particularly athletic. The big question is whether he could hold his own physically against NBA swingmen, and basically nobody has a good answer. All anybody knows is that he’s one of the most creative players in the world, and that guys who have been as productive as he has in the European league rarely bust out of the NBA.
Comparisons range from Hedo Turkoglu …
“The European guys who tend to outperform in the draft models are tall swingmen with a good feel for the game who can dominate the lower level of competition, but don’t have the athletic ability to be an elite player in the NBA,” one Eastern Conference executive told me. “I like Doncic, but he might just be a smaller version of Hedo Turkoglu.”
… to Larry Bird.
One name multiple NBA people have floated to me is Larry Bird, and a 17-year-old Bird probably wouldn’t have been any more productive in Europe than Doncic has been. Putting that type of pressure on any young player is unfair, but he has been so good that it’s hard to put a ceiling on how good he can be either.
I dunno. Seems like more of an “upscale Tom Chambers” to me.