Evaluating Luka Doncic in a Euroleague Basketball Game

November 12, 2017

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the time evaluate another game from Real Madrid’s 6-7 guard, Luka Doncic, whose skills, basketball IQ, and strong play in professional basketball make him a strong contender to be the top pick for the upcoming draft.  With thanks to YouTube via Sergey Danilov, I was able to see Doncic play against Armani Milano in an October 24th Euroleague basketball game.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how he may project as a prospect for the NBA.

Doncic showed a very good ability to knock down three-pointers from beyond the arc.  He showed a knack for making deep, pull-up threes after dribbling off of screens, as he made one off of a step back move early on, and he also showed great range by making another from well behind the three-point line.  He also excelled as a scorer in the post.  Doncic showed deft footwork and shooting touch down low, as he was able to score after using a quick, turnaround jump hook, and he also drew and made the extra free throw afterwards.  Plus, he displayed a fairly good ability to get scores off the dribble.  Doncic drew many free throws due to aggressively going to the hoop, though he did seem to receive a generous amount of them, as the referee called a rather inordinate amount of fouls on the opposition, with some of them getting unsportsmanlike and technical fouls in this game.

He is a crafty player that can change speeds and maneuver his way around the paint, but his lack of an elite first step to the basket or athleticism can cause him to get his shots blocked in traffic. Also, he showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  Doncic was able to score on a put back off of his own miss, and he also managed to score on quick flex cuts to the hoop, as he would take advantage of defenders on instincts and misdirection plays.  He also managed to draw free throws after a drive to the hoop in traffic on the break.  However, Doncic missed a floater once receiving the ball once on a cut.  Another time, he was on a drive in transition, but stopped to pump fake rather than go in quickly for a dunk or layup continuously, and he ended up having his shot stuffed by a defender.

He also exhibited solid playmaking skills when he was on the floor.  Doncic possesses very good court sense and basketball IQ, and he will throw crisp, accurate interior passes to his teammates to set up a wealth of scoring opportunities for his team.  He can also adjust to what defenders are giving him midway through the play, and he does a great job of pushing the pace off of defensive rebounds and steals.  Doncic will also set off-ball screens at times, and he excelled at playing the point as well as off the ball on offense.  He did commit one turnover, as he threw a lob pass that went too high as his teammate was unable to catch the ball, but it did seem to be a good read in despite of that.

In addition, Doncic excelled at hauling in rebounds for his team.  He was quite active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, as he would leap up to get numerous boards, he would usually push the ball up the floor, and he also drew fouls on opponents off of an offensive rebound late in the game.  In addition, he also showed very good hands as he managed to catch a blocked three-point shot that his teammate swatted to secure possession of the basketball.

Also, Doncic showed off good defensive skills.  He showed a knack for collecting steals in this game as he excelled at playing passing lanes, and he raced in and leapt up to quickly intercept a loopy pass once.  He also dove for a loose ball on the ground, and managed to tie up an opponent to help his team force another turnover earlier in the game.   He would deflect passes to make it tough for his opponents to catch balls cleanly.   He also would get back quickly to defend opponents in transition. Adding to that, he showed an adequate ability to defend in the post.  At times, he would give up deep position, but when he didn’t, he would contest the shot to force his opponent to miss the shot.  Another time, he stayed too high when fighting through a screen, and he allowed his man to get an easy lane to the hoop, as he ended up getting beat off the dribble to allow the score.

Overall, Luka Doncic had a very good all-around game, as he helped lead his team to a double-digit victory over Armani Milano.  He is a smart, skilled basketball player that possesses tremendous offensive abilities, and he looks to be a solid candidate to be the top pick for the 2018 NBA Draft.

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