Mavericks nab European prodigy Luka Doncic in first round
By Jasmyn Wimbish
The Dallas Mavericks pulled off the impossible on Thursday night’s NBA Draft. After all the rumblings and rumors, the Mavs pulled off a trade with the Atlanta Hawks that landed them Luka Doncic in the first round.
It will be interesting to see how Dallas fits Doncic into the starting roster as they didn’t unload any players in the deal with the Hawks. But for now let’s enjoy the fact that Dallas pulled off this feat in the first place.
Doncic has been lauded for his impressive passing ability, garnering comparisons to Manu Ginobili with the shooting ability of James Harden. With his size, standing at 6’8″ 228 pounds, Doncic can muscle his way through defenses to get to the rim, while his impressive vision allows him to dish it to the open man on the wing.
At 19 years old Doncic could still grow a few more inches, and once he slims down a bit he could likely gain some quickness that could help on the defensive end of the court. So how does he fit into the game plan for the Mavericks?
A tandem of Dennis Smith Jr. and Doncic will be a sight to see for the Mavs with the two likely alternating ball-handling duties. Doncic can score from virtually anywhere on the floor, and despite his age he displays a sense of maturity when it comes to making decisions on the court.
Playing in the EuroLeague at a young age, Doncic accomplished just about everything you can overseas. He won the MVP of the league, the EuroLeague championship with Real Madrid and the EuroLeague Final Four MVP.
Doncic averaged 14.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists last season. He’s been considered a franchise-changing player, and for the Mavs expect him to do just that. In order for this to work Dennis Smith Jr. will likely be playing off the ball a lot more, with Doncic calling the shots at the point guard position.
If Dallas lands a center in free agency, pick and rolls for the Mavericks will be even more entertaining with Doncic now on the team. Doncic excels with a big man who can execute the pick and roll well, and if Dallas lands someone like DeMarcus Cousins or Clint Capela it’ll turn into an instant highlight reel.
Did I mention his ball-handling skills? Doncic’s crossover is deadly and he seems to have already mastered the Harden-esque stepback three. Not only can he score from the outside, but his post game is pretty solid too. He can back guys down and knock down a turnaround jumper with ease, or work around for the up and under.
There could not have been a better place for Doncic to go, as Dirk Nowitzki knows what it’s like to adjust to the NBA game and lifestyle. Doncic will have the opportunity to learn from Nowitzki, making his adjustment that much easier.
The major knock on Doncic his his athleticism, but in all reality he’s pretty athletic already. Once he goes through the paces during Summer League and preseason those questions shouldn’t remain.
Doncic is coming into the league as the most accomplished and experienced guy in the draft. The Mavericks picked a surefire franchise cornerstone in Doncic, and all they had to give up was next year’s first-round pick. Talk about an easy deal.
Next: Instant reaction: Dallas Mavericks trade up to get Luka Doncic
Stay tuned for more coverage of the rest of the NBA Draft.