Propsect Preview: Luka Dončić

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

LUKA DONCIC, G, REAL MADRID
Ht: 6-foot-6
Wt: 218 pounds
2017-18 Stats: 14.0 ppg, 4.4 apg, 5.1 rpg, 1.1 spg

HOW HE OPERATES

There is flair and plenty of smarts to Luka Dončić’s game. He played on a team – Real Madrid – tailor-made for his skills, and those skills were put on display to the delight of all who witnessed him on the court. First, Dončić, at 6-6, has great size for either guard position. And he is a combo guard; Dončić is not one or the other. He’s got the ability to run an offense, and is solid in pick-and-roll situations. He can also play off the ball, use screens and is decent in catch-and-shoot opportunities.

Dončić plays with swagger. There is supreme confidence to how he moves on the court. As a scorer, Dončić averaged 45 percent shooting from the field in pick-and-roll plays, and by-and-large expertly navigated his way through those situations, knowing when to get the ball the way to the rim, when to take a midrange jump shot or when to get the ball to the cutter.

He shot 43 percent in spot-up situations, and was very good in transition as well making 69.7 percent of those attempts in open court circumstances. In screen-roll, he’ll take plenty of chances with his passing and pay for some those with turnovers, but Doncic has good vision and picks out the right pass most of the time. And he delivers those on time and on target.

He is a right-hand dominant ball handler, but Dončić can get where he needs to go with a left-handed dribble, and finish at the rim with a left-handed layup as well. He does not yet finish well through contact, and he’s still working to improve speed and lateral quickness, which will help him get better at creating his own shot. Dončić does, however, have a deadly step back jump shot, which he can unleash all the way out to the 3-point line.

Defensively, Dončić is active. He averaged over a steal per game, and had blocked 25 shots – which was second-most on Real Madrid’s team. Still, Dončić has to improve his lateral quickness on that end of the court. He’s instinctual, however, and gets his steals by correctly reading plays in addition to keeping his hands active.

HIS BEST FIT

A team that needs ball handling, playmaking and scoring from the guard positions is a good fit for Dončić. In addition, a team that is willing to put the ball in his hands and immediately make him a big part of the offense is ideal. Dončić has the most NBA-ready game in the draft. He can help immediately, especially if there is another guard present to take some of the decision-making and production load off of him.

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv and @chrisadempsey on Twitter

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