By far the biggest opposition to Luka Doncic as a prospect and future NBA player has been how he holds up against NBA athleticism.
Doncic, the Mavericks recent draft savior, relies more on skill than speed — although that’s not to say he’s a “bad” athlete. Just of all the things Doncic is great at, his athleticism isn’t necessarily something that shows up in the strength column of a scouting report.
While the top European leagues can mimic the NBA in some regards to athleticism, it still can’t really compare. So as we wonder how Doncic will look against NBA athletes let’s pass the time by watching...Doncic against NBA athletes.
Behold, this clip that strings together most of Doncic’s play as a 17-year-old coming off the bench for Real Madrid against the Oklahoma City Thunder during a preseason game in 2016.
(Do not be alarmed that your phone or computer speakers are busted: the video doesn’t have any audio).
Doncic’s final stat line is far from impressive: 3 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists on 1-of-5 shooting. What pops off from the video is just, well, how smooth Doncic looks as a damn 17-year-old against a real NBA team. Sure it’s the preseason, but who cares! It’s nuts that Doncic is throwing behind the back passes, near half-court lobs and warding defenders off with his backside in the pick and roll like he’s been in the league for a decade.
That’s what surprised me the most. Doncic seemingly has no nerves and very much looks like he belongs on the floor. To think Doncic was this comfortable before he turned 18 is just remarkable. I can’t wrap my head around it.
I have no idea if Doncic will live up to the hype, but honestly watching this short video sold me on Doncic’s potential just about as much as any other highlight reel has.