2018 NBA Draft Profile: Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic is a skilled playmaker with a mature game beyond his years coming off one of the best seasons any teenager has ever had in the best professional league outside of the NBA. Among the most highly-regarded youth players in European history, Doncic quickly ascended the ranks after signing with Real Madrid at age 13 and developed his skills primarily against adults. Made his ACB debut at age 16 and began seeing rotation minutes in the EuroLeague the following season filling a minor, yet steady role during the 2015-2016 campaign. Saw his playing time expand considerably in 2016-17 averaging 7.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Had an even stronger showing with 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game teaming with Goran Dragic to lead Slovenia to an improbable gold medal at FIBA EuroBasket 2017. Maintained that momentum returning to Real Madrid in a huge role this season averaging 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game to help the historic Spanish club to a EuroLeague Championship while collecting a host of the competition’s highest individual honors.
Father, Sasa Doncic was a similarly sized swingman who scored at a strong rate across almost a dozen leagues in central and eastern Europe during a 15-year professional career.
- Listed anywhere from 198 cm to 200 cm—or approximately 6’7—by most sources. Possesses impressive size for a player who handled the ball extensively this season to go along with a solid frame for a teenager. Not the most explosive or shifty athlete, but fluid and crafty getting to spots with the potential to become more dynamic as his body improves.
- Was thrust into a huge role this season after 2009 NBA Draft second round selection and 2017 EuroLeague Most Valuable Player Sergio Llull suffered a serious knee injury in an August exhibition game. Picked up a lot of the slack in Llull’s absence while tasked with creating off the dribble extensively out of ball screen actions and isolations. Carried a huge offensive burden for a player in the EuroLeague, let alone a teenager.
- Started the season on a tear, scoring with gaudy efficiency for the first few months of the season before battling through a steaky shooting stretch in February. Continued to produce as defenses keyed in on him, particularly as a passer, before finding his range in time for the EuroLeague Final Four. Recorded several near triple-doubles in under 30 minutes of action over the final months of the season.
- Savvy offensive player with an advanced feel for the game which shined most often in ball screen actions. Pick & Rolls made up 32% of his own possessions last season, but he created more possessions for others with his passes out of those actions than he used himself. Ranked among the most efficient Pick & Roll scorers in Europe averaged 0.957 points per Pick & Roll used by the Ball Handler possession [85th percentile]. Manipulates the defense playing at his own pace using his size to make passes smaller guards cannot and his touch to score consistently from all three levels. Very good passer and able to thread the needle with good vision. Not the type of playmaker who is going to make a shifty move and split the defense, but whips the ball around with flair, makes sound reads, and began the year shooting the ball with great consistency pulling-up off the dribble from beyond the arc. Gets to spots out of ball screen actions, but can improve his ability to handle pressure and create one-on-one.
- Possesses promising mechanics from the perimeter. Around two-thirds of his shots in the half court are jumpers, with three-quarters off those perimeter attempts coming off the dribble. Scored 0.913 points per jump shot in the half court overall [53rd percentile], down from 1.087 points per jump shot [83rd percentile] across 18 games with the Slovenian National Team last summer. Started the season strong, but cooled off mid-year. Takes a large percentage of his attempts in short shot clock situations leading to some erratic results. Scores in bunches when he runs hot. Relies on hesitation moves into step backs to create separation in a pinch. Consistency as a jump shooter figures to be key to his future as an NBA scorer.
- Attacks the basket very opportunistically. Scored 1.252 points per shot around the rim in the half court [66th percentile] proving particularly effective scoring inside against overly aggressive closeouts. Can play above the rim with a head of steam, use crafty footwork to find angles, and use his size to protect the ball. Handles the ball well with his left hand, but can improve his touch with it inside. Draws fouls more with his craftiness than by being physical or aggressive.
- Does some of his best work in transition. Feel for the game is apparent in the open court. Scored 1.381 points per Transition possession [87th percentile] primarily pushing the ball himself. Attacks with pace and poise on the run. Could benefit from the tempo of the NBA game.
- Gifted all-around offensive player who shined in big moments playing alongside Goran Dragic at EuroBasket and serving as a primary ball handler with Real Madrid.
- Fairly competitive defender whose size can a plus when contesting shots. Allowed 0.824 points per Isolation possession [50th percentile] holding up well on the ball in spots away from the rim. More active some times than others. Lacks a degree of physicality defending the post and speed defending elite scoring guards. Has good instincts in the passing lanes and on the glass. Has attainable progress to make as a team defender and could hold his own more often individually as his frame improves.