Kings

Luka Doncic: The Next European Hero or Zero?

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In a draft class filled with extraordinary talent, Luka Doncic could very well be the best of the bunch. Doncic comes off the page as an unbelievable gem. At 6’6 Doncic boasts wing size, while rebounding like a forward, passing like a seasoned floor general and dominating seasoned pros in Europe’s top league. He is accomplishing all this while still more than 20 days from his 19th birthday. However, European prospects have been up and down, for every Kristaps Prozingis, there has been a Darko Milicic. Will Doncic be the next European transplant to take the NBA by storm or will he bounce out of the league? His stats can provide a look into which is more likely.

Doncic’s per game stats are depressed by the light minute load he is playing in Europe. Doncic is only playing around 24 minutes per game. He is still putting up 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game along with a steal per game and getting to the line around 5 times per game. Doncic’s per 36 minutes numbers are more like what we expect from top-tier NBA players and the numbers actually match up with an NBA player having a renaissance year.

Per 36 Min Stats

PTS

TRBs

ASTs

STLs

FG%

3PT%

FTA

Doncic

23.1

8.2

6.7

1.5

47.3%

33.5%

7.4

NBA Player

25.3

5.4

4.2

2.0

48.9%

39.0%

5.4

While the yet-to-be named NBA player has Doncic in points and shooting percentages. Doncic is hitting the glass, dishing it out, and getting to the line at a higher rate. With the stats pretty evenly split, I would say that it shines pretty bright upon Doncic. The NBA player is Victor Oladipo, who at 25 is having a breakout year and he has reached a new level. Doncic is performing in a similar way as an 18-year-old who still could have much to add to his game.

Doncic’s advanced numbers are just as impressive. His 21.8% defensive rebound rate would rank third in the NBA among guards, falling behind only Russell Westbrook and Dejounte Murray. His PER of 27.16 would rank near the top of the NBA as well. His 32.5% assist rate would place him 11th in the NBA among guards. However, his TO rate is only 14% which is tops all but two of the top ten assisters in the league (Spencer Dinwiddie and Dennis Schroder) so the combined numbers favor Doncic.

Doncic’s numbers reveal a player that certainly can make a difference in the NBA. The question is how much of a difference. Doncic’s game resembles Ginobili’s, in that he plays at a different pace and that is how he springs loose for points. Doncic’s depressed shooting from three is worrisome, but from the video, I’ve seen many of those 3’s are coming on step backs or situations where he has to get something up in a tough spot and that is certainly bringing the number down. Also, Doncic’s athleticism isn’t great, specifically his lateral quickness which could spell trouble in the NBA. Will he be able to get his shot off? Can Doncic beat his man and get to the rim consistently? Will he be able to guard opposing 2’s and 3’s? These are pressing questions that will decide Doncic’s ceiling.

When placing him specifically with the Kings, Doncic finds what might be the best fit among the teams projected to pick in the top 5 (Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas, and Phoenix). Doncic could fit as an off-guard next to Fox while also meshing in lineups with Hield and Bogdanovic. Doncic would excel as a secondary creator that can get Hield and Bogdanovic open shots, while not taking the ball out of Fox’s hands to much. Doncic would benefit playing next to Fox whose abundance of athleticism makes up for Doncic’s lacking. The Fox-Doncic combo would give the Kings a backcourt of the future that has the versatility to mesh not only with each other, but with anyone else on the floor with them.

About Brooks Ohman

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