It was truly gut-wrenching to see the Mavericks fall from third to fifth in the NBA Draft Lottery. A year’s worth of pining dashed. The dream of either DeAndre Ayton or Luka Doncic died in an instant. Or did it? For Luka Doncic fans, there’s still a sliver of hope.
Last night after Doncic’s Real Madrid squad captured the Euroleague title, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported that there is a “growing consensus among NBA decision-makers in attendance at Stark Arena in Belgrade is that the teams drafting behind the Phoenix Suns at No. 1, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks are likely to pass on European prodigy in favor of American frontcourt players.”
The key thing to remember here is that the Suns are still expected to draft Doncic, given his ties to Phoenix’s new head coach, Igor Kokoskov. He coached Slovenia to the European Championship last year with Doncic at the helm. There’s also Doncic’s easy fit with a fairly talented and young Suns roster.
Further, it’s odd to read that both the Hawks and Kings would pass on Doncic, given each team’s need for raw talent. Givony gave no reason for the “growing consensus,” which stinks a bit of gamesmanship by the teams involved.
It’s also worth considering what the Mavericks would have to give up in order to move up in the draft to chase Doncic. Dallas has very little to offer, but if it’s their desire is to be a playoff contender next season, Doncic is the most NBA-ready of all the early draft prospects.