2018 NBA Draft

Report: Atlanta Hawks leaning toward Luka Doncic with third pick

The Atlanta Hawks are leaning toward Slovenian teen sensation Luka Doncic with the third pick in Thursday’s draft, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and DraftExpress.com’s Jonathan Givony.

Here’s more from Wojnarowski on the Hawks’ interest in Doncic, who many Draft experts believe is the best playmaker in the 2018 Draft:

Doncic’s elevation within the Hawks organization reflects a leaguewide belief that Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III could go 1-2 to Phoenix and Sacramento, respectively, to open the draft, league sources said.

If the Kings pass on Bagley, that would clearly complicate the Hawks’ ultimate choice with the third pick.

Doncic started to separate himself in organizational discussions around the choice, an examination that has included a tremendous intrigue with Jaren Jackson Jr., league sources said.

Atlanta remains a target of multiple teams trying to move up in the draft, including Dallas, which also has been focused on selecting Doncic, league sources said.

Rival teams say that Atlanta general manager Travis Schlenk has been willing to engage in talks about dropping out of the third spot and moving down to draft later in the first round, league executives said.

Atlanta has three first-round picks: Nos. 3, 19 and 30. Per Wojnarowski, league sources say the 19th and 30th picks have been included in talks to move up and select another player in the lottery.

Additionally, here’s what Givony reports via Twitter as well about Atlanta’s interest in Doncic …

Been hearing similar stuff as Woj here the last few hours. There’s reportedly a growing movement within the Atlanta Hawks organization that they should go with Luka Doncic here, though nothing is finalized yet.

Will be interesting to see whether the prospects of selecting Jaren Jackson instead of Luka Doncic changes Memphis’ thinking about how they value the #4 pick. The word is that up until today they’ve shown little interest in the trade proposals they’ve received to this point.

Doncic’s stock had seemingly dropped slightly during the pre-Draft process despite one of the most impressive individual seasons in recent European seasons with Spanish power Real Madrid.

At just 19, the 6-foot-7 combo guard became the youngest player to win the Liga ACB MVP, the EuroLeague MVP and the EuroLeague Final Four MVP. He also won the EuroLeague Rising Star and Liga ACB Best Young Player awards for the second straight season.

In doing so he averaged 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists in 25 minutes over 61 total games.

Not a great shooter or defender, Doncic stands out most for his impressive playmaking skills.

As an NBA scout told NBA.com’s David Aldridge: “If they use him the right way, it’s going to be real hard for him to fail. You put him in a ball screen, middle of the floor, with a good roller, it’s a really tough cover. Just the consensus I get is that people really like Doncic. They think he’s going to be a really good player.”