Luka Doncic is having an incredible rookie year. So incredible, in fact, that he decided to throw shade at NBA defenses.
Here’s what Doncic said in an interview with Spanish network Movistar+:
“Here [in the NBA] it’s easier to score compared to Europe,” said the rookie phenom in an interview, “In Europe, the court is smaller and here there is the three seconds rule. I think it’s easier to score here.”
Though many jumped to the defense of the NBA, it’s interesting to consider Doncic’s take. For one, Euroleague is much more open to hand checking, whereas hand checking is strictly banned in the NBA.
Kobe Bryant addressed the physicality in European basketball, “I’d allow for more physicality in the game. I’d allow for hand-checking, things like that.” The hand check rule seems to infuriate scorers in the NBA. Bryant would go on to say, “I feel like European basketball is more physical than the NBA is right now. I think the NBA needs to be more physical.”
Many expect the NBA to be the highest level of competition, especially on defense. However, certain rules and regulations may make the game easier to play. When Chris Paul once claimed that scoring in the NBA was easier than in college, Paul described the NBA as being more spread out because of the three-point line.
Doncic would go on to say that the NBA court was bigger and easier to navigate. Current Euroleague play by FIBA rules which require a smaller college-sized court. In addition to court size, NBA referees may be another source of credibility in Doncic’s argument considering that superstar players generally get courtesy calls from refs – making it easier to score.
Perhaps the talent in Europe is not better, but the rules they play by making the defenses more difficult to score on. Although Doncic may have made argumentative comments, he is far from unqualified to make such statements. Doncic is a favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award. The Slovenian shooting guard is averaging 20.6 points per game along with 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists.