Luka Doncic Making His Case For #1

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EuroBasket 2017 Group A game between Finland and Slovenia at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.” by Tuomas Vitikainen is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0

With the NBA Draft order now in place, the focus turns to trying to figure out who each team will pick. This is especially true at the top of the draft because all the best players are on the board. The best two prospects in this draft class are DeAndre Ayton and Luka Doncic, who the Phoenix Suns are expected to choose between with the number one overall pick. Early reports are that Ayton is favored to go number one, so where does that leave Doncic?

His draft position is hard to figure out right now. He’s surely giving team’s picking at the top of the draft something to think about. Doncic proved his potential to be an NBA star over the last couple of days. He became the youngest player in EuroLeague history (19 years old) to win an MVP award. He’s not just the youngest player to win it, but he’s the youngest by four years. After becoming the EuroLeague MVP, Doncic led his team to a EuroLeague championship.

If winning EuroLeague MVP and leading his team to the championship isn’t enough to show his NBA potential, let’s look at his EuroLeague stats this season. Doncic averages 16 points on 57.2% shooting, 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He did all that while averaging about 25 minutes a game. The EuroLeague might not be as talented as the NBA, but being the best player in that league at 19 years of age shows why Doncic is in the conversation for the number one overall pick.

While Doncic is showing he’d be worthy of the number one overall selection, a report came out today saying that he could slide in the draft. My notification from Bleacher Report said, “NBA execs believe Kings and Hawks would ‘likely’ pass on Luka Doncic in favor of American frontcourt players.”

Would it be smart of these teams to pass on a talent like Doncic? Both of these teams are at the top of the draft for a reason. Both teams need to add as much talent as possible. In my opinion, they should pick whoever is the best player rather than pick a player because of need. Looking at the rosters of the Kings and Hawks, you could make the case they don’t need to add another guard. Sacramento has young guards in De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, while Atlanta has Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore. Both teams have capable guards, but they also both have capable frontcourt players. Sacramento has Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Libissiere, Zach Randolph, and Justin Jackson, to name a few. Atlanta has John Collins, Taurean Prince, and Dewayne Dedmon. After taking a look at their rosters, I don’t really think the frontcourts for either team are really better than the backcourts. I think it’d be foolish to rule out Doncic because he’s a backcourt player. If he’s the best available, he’s who they should take.

The assumption by NBA execs is based on the Suns taking DeAndre Ayton, but Doncic should be in consideration for the Phoenix Suns also. New Head Coach, Igor Kokoshov, has said Doncic would fit well with the Suns. It would make sense for Phoenix to select Doncic because Kokoshov has coached him before. I don’t think it’s fair to be ruling out Doncic for the top pick at all. If the Suns did select Doncic over DeAndre Ayton, I don’t think anyone would be mad about it.

In my opinion, Doncic has a much better resume than Ayton. Doncic might have won MVP and lead his team to a title against lesser talent than the NBA, but DeAndre Ayton is coming out of college, which is also lesser talent. Ayton played against lesser talent than the NBA level, and what did he win? He won an award for being the best power forward. He didn’t even come close to winning a National Championship with Arizona. Ayton still has loads of potential, but I feel like Doncic can impact the game in more ways than Ayton can, all while having the same amount of or more potential.

You don’t see power forwards or centers dominating the game like they once did. There are very good power forwards and centers in the league, but the NBA is a shooting league now. Most power forwards and centers don’t shoot how point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards can shoot. Both the Rockets and Warriors are two of the best teams in the NBA because they can shoot the ball.

I see Luka Doncic being able to have a bigger impact on a team than DeAndre Ayton, but for some reason Doncic isn’t getting enough love. All he’s done is play great consistently and win. Luka Doncic would be a more than worthy number one overall selection, and teams shouldn’t pass on him if they’re looking for a player who can truly impact the game and make their team better.

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