At CelticsHub this year we will be focusing on a potentially fluid list of the top 5 prospects and track their progress throughout the season. Since the Celtics will only select in this year’s lottery if the Los Angeles Lakers fall between the 2nd and 5th pick, it doesn’t make sense for Cs fans to get familiar with more than a handful of top prospects. In the weeks leading up to the college basketball season we will be introducing some of the names you should start to get to know and the number one reason why you should get excited about them. Next up: Luka Doncic
Real Madrid (Slovenia, 1999)~Wing~6’7″ 220 lbs
Draft Range: Top 5
Ceiling Comp Group: Brandon Roy, 40 year-old Lebron, Rich Man’s Hedo Turkoglu, Gordon Hayward
60 Words or Less: Everyone loves a teenage phenom and Luka Doncic is the latest to capture our attention. With a game and frame beyond his years, Doncic’s play has captivated fans and has been remarkably effective in the second best league in the world. Watch him play for five minutes and you want to check his birth certificate.
#1 Reason To Get Excited About Luka Doncic- Playmaking (with size)
Luka Doncic is very good at basketball and I don’t mean that in a snarky, Twittery way. His number one strength is that he’s an exceptional passer, shooter and ball-handler, especially for his age. I know that’s sounds remarkably dumb and simplistic but follow me here. To be a virtuoso at anything you have to have to master the basics. That mastery is often a mix of nature and nurture.
It’s not enough to just work hard and practice, the skill has to come to you in a natural, unforced way. It’s clear that Luka Doncic is a virtuoso basketball player. I’m not saying he’s a sure-fire Hall of Famer or that he’s even a lock to be an all-star, but I cannot see a reality where Doncic is anything short of a very valuable player to any team that’s trying to win.
I do not think Doncic has been blessed with the raw physical gifts to make him a true franchise changing player, but for an organization like the Boston Celtics he is the type of talent that could take their current roster to another level. The number one thing to get excited about for Luka Doncic is his elite playmaking and offensive skills combined with his size. For the Celtics, he would serve as a savant passer and shot-maker who compliments their diverse roster of athletes and scorers and provides Brad Steven’s with a cheat code to unlock to true power of his ball movement offense. Other than finishing above the rim, there isn’t a phase of his game that is underdeveloped. Don’t believe me? Well here’s some GIFs!!
Pick and Roll
Doncic is essentially executing a Chris Paul impression here, something that young ball-handlers in the pick-and-roll take a while to develop. Because he’s not a jet, he’s had to depend on pace and skill from day one. Want to switch the screen? Okay
Or ice it?
Or drop back…
Notice the little dribble he takes as he comes off the screen? With that one bounce he both loses his man and squares himself up for the jump shot. Again, it’s simple but it’s mastery.
There’s only a handful of guys in the NBA that can makes these passes. Both in the half-court and transition. Literally a handful. Enjoy!
And off course he can shoot it…
…and he’s even got an effective post-game, which we know Brad is bringing back into style.
The better his teammates are the more valuable Doncic is, and even more importantly, he’s not a project. He’s ready to contribute to a championship contending team now and with the #MaybeLakersPick the Celtics could be that team. As a plug-and-play prospect with a similar skill-set, he could (whipsers) potentially provide Gordon Hayward insurance and, best-case scenario, give Boston another high-level wing to serve in Ainge’s army.
If Luka Doncic is available in the 3-5 range, he’s a steal for an already talented roster. If Boston is sitting at number two, that’s a much tougher choice. Scouts and draftniks are divided on his potential as an NBA player, but there’s one thing they can all agree on. He’s very good at basketball.