The 18-year old Slovenian has become one of the biggest storylines of the 2017 summer (EuroBasket), with his unbelievable unique skills, talent, and growth. To be able to advance to the quarter-finals with Slovenia is a really big deal for him and he is really enjoying it while taking on another challenge in his young basketball career. Goran Dragic and Luka Doncic have been incredible for their national team, who are ready to take on another challenge and face off Porzingis’ Latvia in the third round of the tournament. (Tuesday 12/9)

Luka Doncic is introducing himself to the world while playing great basketball and leading his team together with Goran Dragic to an undefeated 6-0 record so far in this tournament. The Slovenian is doing incredible things on the court these six games in the EuroBasket as he averages 13.8 points per game, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Doncic is shooting 41.8% from the field while also shooting 82.4% from the free-throw line. To be able to do that in such a competitive tournament at that age is something really special and great. According to many different scouts from all over Europe and the United States, the Real Madrid guard will be drafted in the Top-5 picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Some draft experts also have him going No. 1.

 

Early Years

Credit: BallinEurope

For people who follow European basketball and the Spanish ACB League, Luka Doncic is well known in Europe even though he is only 18 years old. In 2014, Doncic participated in the U-16 FIBA Europe Championship second level B tournament, but he had to withdraw due to injury. In December of the same year, however, he participated in a tournament (Under-16) in Hungary and he showcased his talent by averaging 35.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 81% (!) from two-point range and 57% from downtown. In this tournament, Doncic showed his potential, talent and unreal skills from that young age.

In September of 2016, Doncic made his debut for the men’s Slovenian national team. The Slovenian made his professional debut for Real Madrid at just 16 years of age (!), and has already played two seasons with this historic franchise.

 

EuroLeague & Real Madrid

In 2016-2017, Luka Doncic played in Europe’s top competition, the EuroLeague with Real Madrid, who also appeared in the Final-4 in Istanbul, and played an important role in his team’s success. In the 35 games he participated in, Doncic averaged 19.9 minutes, 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting a great 51% from the field. He also had some really impressive games, where he showcased his full-potential, the way he can finish around the rim, the way he can facilitate the offense and the many different ways he can score the basketball. His best game in the EuroLeague came against Maccabi Tel a Viv where he scored 17 points.

Goran Dragic of the Miami Heat was asked to comment on Luka’s performance in the EuroLeague 2016-2017 season and he responded by saying the following

“It is unbelievable. I know him since he was a little kid. Now he is 18 years old, he is dominating the EuroLeague and I’m really happy for him. He is playing well, he is taking clutch shots, and he has the ability to guard multiple positions with his height and skill set.”

Dario Saric of the 76ers was also asked about him and he said:

“He is really good. He is really smart for his age and he is just unbelievable.”

This shows how other European players, who are playing in the NBA, are already seeing the potential Doncic has, the skills he has, the way he plays, the way he makes other players around him better, is not afraid to shine in big stages (EuroLeague, Spanish League, EuroBasket) and takes advantage of any opportunity given to him.

In the Spanish League, Doncic also played crucial minutes for his team. He had similar stats as he played 19 minutes per game while averaging 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds. Learning from one of Europe’s best, Sergio Llull, Doncic can become even better this season, improve his game all-around, perfect his style of play, become a better defender, while also have a more important role on his team. When he does that and ‘grow’, becomes a better all-around basketball player, he will be ready for the next step in his young career which is the NBA. His draft pick will get higher day by day and this is already starting with this year’s EuroBasket.

 

EuroBasket 2017

Slovenia is undefeated so far in the EuroBasket this autumn. With six straight wins, Slovenia advanced to the quarter-finals and will face Kristaps Porzingis and Latvia’s national team. Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic have been incredible leading this team to the eight best national teams in Europe. As stated earlier the 18-year old Slovenian is averaging 13.8 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. In his last game vs. Ukraine, Doncic flirted with a triple-double as he finished the game with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists, and got everyone talking in Istanbul (where the tournament takes place).

Utah Jazz assistant coach and Slovenia’s coach Igor Kokoskov has said how Luka Doncic is a rare talent, who is growing day by day and getting better day by day. He has also stated, that as the tournament progresses he is playing better and shows maturity, while also the team plays better and more confidently. Anthony Randolph (Real Madrid player), Doncic’s Slovenian teammate talked to the media about Doncic and his talents and he said the following:

“He is amazing. Like I say every time, he has the chance of becoming the best players in the game of basketball.”

His teammates and coaching staff believe in him, he seems like he believes in himself and his talents, and so this EuroBasket has been the introduction to even a bigger stage where scouts and people from all over the world can watch and admire this young man.

 

Player’s characteristics

Luka Doncic is a truly authentic talent. A point guard who can arguably play the point guard position as well as the shooting guard and the small-forward position when needed at the age of 18 is someone really special. At 6’7’’ Doncic has the ability to guard multiple positions on the perimeter, post up smaller defenders on offense, finish with either hand above the rim and also get himself to the free-throw line. His unique talents give him the chance of executing from any part of the court, as he can knock-down deep three-pointers, while also be really effective under tough shot-clock situations.

Moreover, Luka can run the court really well in transition, which is something we’ve seen various of times in this EuroBasket but also in Spain with Real Madrid. His highlight plays come from fancy passes, on the fast break, while also finishing circus shots and lay-ups really well and effective. Compared to last summer, he has developed, worked hard and become more mature in his style of play. Even though he is still very young, the development he had over the summer will be what will make him even better and stronger this upcoming season with Real Madrid in the Spanish League and in the EuroLeague.

Doncic also is not afraid of clutch situations. He shows his character, steps up for his team and is not afraid to take his team on his shoulders. Remember he is only 18 years old. He will have unfortunate moments in tough games, but he will learn from them, mature and improve his game which will take him to the next level. In Real Madrid, he has players who can mentor him in Llull, Rodriguez, while in Slovenia he has Goran Dragic, who is an exceptional international player.

According to different NBA scouts from all over Europe, who try to find the best young NBA prospects for the ‘American Dream’ and the NBA, Luka Doncic is perhaps the best young European prospect ever, and will become one of the top storylines during the 2018-2019 NBA season where he will debut as a 19-year old kid from Slovenia.

Finally, mark my words, this kid will have a bright future in the NBA, will become one of the best players in five years and people will be wondering ‘where did this kid come from?’

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