At 18 years of age, many NBA hopefuls are just beginning the transition from High School basketball to NCAA basketball. Thanks in part to social media, many of these same NBA hopefuls are either already marquee recruits as well as, potential future stars. At 18 years of age, many NBA hopefuls are not playing in one of the world’s top tier professional leagues and surely they are not dominant players. For Luka Doncic however, at 18 years of age, he plays more like a seasoned veteran than a potential top selection in the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft.
When Doncic was just 16 years old he made his EuroLeague debut for Real Madrid. For those of you who do not know, Real Madrid has won 9 League championships and even beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in a preseason game this year. Many young talents would have rode the pine throughout the season but not Doncic. The then 16-year-old became a key member for Real Madrid. With averages of 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists per 36 minutes. During the 2015-2016 season, Doncic continued to impress and turn heads but it was not until this year when he started to turn heads worldwide.
This past December the now 18-year-old made history. With 20 points and 11 assists, Doncic became the youngest player to notch a double-double as well as, dish out 11 assists in a game in Spanish ACB League History. In EuroLeague play Doncic averages just around 16 minutes per game. Although his 2016-2017 per game averages of 7.8 points may not jump out at the average basketball fan, Doncic numbers do not do justice for his standout play.
A number of notable NBA Players also ventured overseas at a young age. Ricky Rubio played for Barcelona, Kristaps Porzingis never played in the EuroLeague while he was a member of Sevilla and Dragan Bender played for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Unlike the previous three players, Doncic was thrust into his club’s rotation and rightfully so. At 6’8 he has great size for a combo guard. This past season, the 18-year-old spent the majority of his time playing at the point but also played at the shooting guard position as well. The open court is where he is most deadly. His length allows him to make a majority of passes in transition whether that means finding the open man ahead of him, finding shooters in the corner or, getting crafty on the break, Doncic has superb playmaking skills. Doncic’s length also allows him to regularly make highlight reel blocks. Another area at which the Slovenian thrives in is creating space for his own offense.
Lastly, although he is nearly 7 feet tall, Doncic is very solid in a catch-and-shoot-situation, regularly hitting three-pointers with ease.
The 2018 Draft is still a ways away. If Luka Doncic can improve his speed and all around quickness along with defense, there is no telling just how good he can be. That is if he even decides to declare this year. Doncic may decide to wait and stay work his way up the rotation with Real Madrid all the way up until 2021, his final year of NBA Draft Eligibility. Either way, when he decides to make the jump to the NBA, a future stay may be in our midst. Since the age of 16 Doncic has been turning heads with his play in professional leagues in Europe. This stellar play may help Doncic to become the highest selected European player since Andrea Bargnani. You are going to want to keep your eyes on the rise of this potential future NBA star.
Last night he scored 11 points with 8 rebounds and 6 assists against the Poland.