While he has long been considered a strong candidate to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Luka Doncic no longer appears to be a lock to even be a top-three selection, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link). While it’s hard to know what to believe at this time of year, Givony explains to Kevin Pelton that the Kings, Hawks, and Grizzlies didn’t send anyone to watch the EuroLeague Final Four in person last week, and several NBA evaluators seem to have cooled on Doncic.
Givony believes those evaluators are overthinking matters, but admits “the skepticism is a lot more prevalent than expected.” As ESPN’s draft guru explains, some people around the league have concerns about Doncic’s athleticism – or lack thereof – and his ability to keep improving. However, Givony points to Doncic’s incredible workload over the last 18 months, along with European teams’ relative inattention to players’ diets and conditioning, as reasons why the young star may have not looked quite as impressive in recent months as he did last fall. On an NBA schedule, working with NBA coaches, those issues could be addressed.
Ultimately, Givony and Pelton both believe that Doncic is worthy of the No. 1 pick, with Givony writing that the 19-year-old is “too productive, too skilled, too smart and too good a fit in the modern game to pass up.” However, it remains to be seen how many teams at the top of the draft will agree with that assessment.
Here’s more on the 2018 NBA draft:
- UNC forward Luke Maye has decided to return to the Tar Heels for his senior year after testing the draft waters, he announced today on Instagram. Maye, who earned a spot on the All-ACC First Team and was named the conference’s Most Improved Player, averaged a double-double (16.9 PPG, 10.1 RPG) in 2017/18.
- Texas guard Kerwin Roach II has withdrawn his name from the 2018 draft and will head back to the Longhorns for his senior year, the school announced in a press release. “I’m hungry for the opportunity to make a career in the NBA, but I realize I have to improve in so many areas on the court,” Roach said in a statement. “I’m also on pace to earn my degree, and that is a big deal for me and my family.”
- After testing the draft waters without an agent, West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate will head back to school for his junior year, he confirms to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link).
- Sean Deveney of The Sporting News and the staff at Basketball Insiders are among those who have released new mock drafts this week.