Selected with 3rd pick by Atlanta Hawks and traded to Dallas Mavericks afterwards… Luka Doncic can call himself NBA player now! It not happens often when NBA team can select young and very talented 19 years old player having achieved all this in that early age:
- EuroLeague champion
- EuroLeague MVP
- Euroleague Final Four MVP
- Liga ACB champion (3x) and Liga ABC MVP
- European champion (Slovenia NT).
And all this not sitting on the bench and playing few minutes per game, he played significant role in teams success both Real Madrid and Slovenia NT.
Doncic might be ”the safest pick” for any NBA team. He has no ”next step” in European basketball… he is ready for NBA already playing grown men basketball since age of 16!
On April 30, 2015, Doncic became the youngest player to debut with Real Madrid in the Liga ACB (the top-tier Spanish League), at the age of 16 years, 61 days.
LUKA DONCIC PERFORMANCE IN EUROLEAGUE FINAL FOUR – OFFENSE/DEFENSE & STRENGHTS/WEAKNESSES. HIS READINESS FOR NBA.
In my opinion Doncic offensive game could be the mix of MANU (the most), TEODOSIC and slightly with LEBRON.
- ABILITY TO CREATE HIS OWN SHOT 1-on-1 separates him from most of European players even those who already playing in NBA. Well known for his STEP-BACK. His VERSATILITY makes him be able to score from mid-range, can finish at the rim (dunk/eurostep/floater etc.), also his below average 3-point FGA% this season doesn’t mean he can’t shoot from outside… He has lot of offensive weapons and being 19 years old rookie from Europe where team basketball dominates over NBA individual skills oriented basketball he has plenty of time to improve his game and get better and better.
Doncic very often creates shot for himself this way.
What type of shots he’s taking depends on his role in the team. But it’s not often when every of 3 highest level of European basketball competitions (ACB, EUROLEAGUE, EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP) where he is playing, he takes different type of shots the most. ACB = 2pts, Euroleague = 1pt (FT), Slovenia NT = 3pts.
- TRANSITION. Ability to put pressure on defense while attacking after getting defensive rebound. For his size and weight he is very fast going from coast-to-coast and knows how to use his physical strength.
- PICK-AND-ROLL. HIGH BASKETBALL IQ. Doncic is great pick-and-roll player because of his versatility and COURT VISION. He reads defense very well. No-look passes, pass in the last moment, fakes, change of speed.
- ABLE TO PLAY MANY POSITIONS. 1 & 2 & 3 (PG/SG/SF). Although he is much better player with the ball compare him without the ball he can play effective multiple positions, at least in Europe basketball.
Ability to pass the ball (accuracy and timing) can separate him from other SG and SF in the league since he often played PG position for Real Madrid.
- YOUNG VETERAN. Already a pro. Ready for grown man basketball! European champion at age of 18, EuroLeague champion at age of 19, ACB Spanish league at age of 16..
- MENTAL TOUGHNESS. This is the thing that makes difference between stars and superstars. His competitiveness and tenacity will definitely help him to survive and stay well above being only one many of NBA basketball players.
- KNOWS HOW TO SHOW HE IS FOULED. Usually more experienced players are great doing this but Slovenian basketball star are excellent taking advantage of his intuition and basketball IQ already at that early age.
- 3-POINT %. 1.5/4.8 (30.9%) per game.. Too low for player who isn’t the quickest in the game, especially compare to PG/SG position players in NBA. All the best NBA teams are among the best in 3-point shooting %.
Despite his below average 30.9% 3-point shooting percentage it’s hard to ask stability for such a young player + this was the first season where Doncic played such a big role in European best team last season (Sergio Lull injury). Defenders paid attention to him more, lot of times he had to create shot within few second in the end of possession, most of his 3-point shots are off-dribble by creating his own shot 1-on-1 or pick-and-roll situations.
- PLAYING WITHOUT THE BALL. Doncic needs ball to be effective. Very often while playing in PG position he passed the ball and he wasn’t involved or didn’t make too much effort to be involved again in team’s offense.
Real Madrid offensive system is built not mainly on PG playing pick-and-roll all the time but offense is initiated (Euroleague Final 4) with entry pass to the wing or any type of other situation where down-screen or other type of screen comes before pick-and-roll. But it’s it makes sense for Coach Pablo Laso do organise team’s offense such a way because of the luxury having lot of players who can shoot coming off the screens very effective – Carroll (49% reg. season 3PFG%) , Rudy Fernandes (47%), Llull (44%), Causeur (42%)..
Very often in EuroLeague Final4 Real Madrid starts their offense like this :
Most of the time when Luka Doncic played in point guard (1) position, he brought the basketball up the court and passed to teammate and his job was done, lot of time he just stayed in one spot all 8-10 seconds of the offensive possession after the pass.
After feeding the post players passer very often cuts to the basket or screens away. There were lot of situations in Final 4 when Doncic just looked to the teammate with the ball not using the screen who is set for him.
- PICK-AND-ROLL PASSING. Despite being very good pick-and-roll player and also passer overall, lot of times he takes unnecessary risks when he’s passing ball to teammates especially to rolling big men. Decision making will be better and better in future, so I thing this is just thing to pay attention to, it’s not something he can’t change.
Also the question could be if his skill level which will improve more and more (already it’s very high level) and high IQ (knowing passing angles, drawing fouls, changing speed, read the defense) will be enough to compete against the best and quickest defenders in the world. Larry Bird, Drazen Petrovic are great examples and I think Slovenian superstar is very likely to be somewhere near in future.
- HIGH IQ DEFENDER. Timing + being in right place in right time makes him valuable part of team defense.
- SOLID DEFENDER AWAY FROM THE BALL. His intuition and basketball IQ and size helps to take away offensive player passing angles. Able to steal the ball because of good timing.
- LATERAL QUICKNESS. In NBA, especially play-offs is all about match-ups, finding weakest part of defense and exploit it to the maximum. If Euroleague Final 4 Doncic very rarely defended the best opposite team’s ball-handlers and 1-on-1 players but mostly wing players who wasn’t the main offensive threats in their team then NBA he has to be ready to defend 1-on-1 situations vs. best 1-on-1 players in the world.
- FIGHTING THROUGH SCREENS. Will he able to defend his offensive players in situations like this? For example, Klay Thompson who is catch-and-shoot player who is constantly moving.
Is he quick enough to effectively guard players like Klay Thompson in situations like this without switching and preventing him to get wide open shot?
- POST DEFENSE & DEFENDING OPPONENTS NEAR THE BASKET. Despite his above average strength for basketball player his post defense could be question vs. opposite team’s SF position players.
- BOXING OUT & FOCUSING ON BALL TOO MUCH AND NOT SEEING HIS DEFENDER. Doncic almost never box-out his player and lose sight of his initial defender. Flight time is the key of establishment of good rebounding position but most of the time he is just watching the flight of the ball not boxing out. Most of these situations in NBA will be punished with PUT-BACK DUNK. Also constantly losing the sight of his offensive player will be punished by cuts and alley-oops.
Luka Doncic very often lost sight of his man and focused on getting rebound. He almost never box out his offensive player. If in EuroLeague he can live with that, in NBA it will be much much harder.
19 YEARS OLD EUROLEAGUE MVP TO BECOME FUTURE NBA STAR?
Doncic has great starting positions. There’s no question – he is ready for NBA. Next NBA superstar from Europe? If he improves his 3-point shooting and defense he will have bright future even not being the most athletic basketball player in NBA.
Thanks for reading 🙂