As the NBA season winds towards the Playoffs, teams are gearing up for the NBA draft also. In last years Draft, much hyped Euro-league teenager Luka Doncic was picked at number three. Many teams were criticized for not taking the Slovenian whizkid as he took the league by storm this season. He is the clear favorite for Rookie of the Year.
With Zion Williamson being the consensus number one pick this year, the time is right to compare these two. If Luka was in this years Draft would it be him or Zion going first?
Luka Doncic’s path to the league is one not followed by many prospects. Debuting for Real Madrid at just sixteen, he first starred in the ACB and then the Euro league. After becoming the youngest Euroleague Final Four MVP and Euroleague MVP ever, he declared for the NBA Draft.
Drafted third by the Atlanta Hawks, he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Draft night. Dallas gave him the keys to the franchise from the outset. Through 67 games he averages twenty-one points, seven rebounds and five assists. This has only been done twice in NBA history, by a couple of dudes named Robertson and Jordan.
No rookie in NBA history has taken on the usage that Doncic has shouldered this year, this is combined with shooting efficiency has never seen in a player of his age.
Luka has an advanced passing game coupled with a unique feel for the game. He has an NBA ready jump-shot that he can hit from both sides of the court. He has also mastered the step-back three pointer, one of the toughest shots in the game. Just turned 20, he has the basketball world at his feet.
All the above may point to Luka being number one in any draft, but with Zion Williamson being in the 2019 edition, all bets are off.
Future number one pick
Not since Anthony Davis have we seen a big who has the skills and athleticism that Zion possesses. Draft guru Kevin Pelton was quoted as saying that Zion is the best prospect in the Draft since Lebron James in 2003.
Zion’s unique combination of athleticism, size and guard ball handling have NBA fans scrambling for superlatives. At six foot eight with a 40 inch vertical, Zion has leapt to the top of everyone’s drafts boards after some amazing games for Duke.
He is able to finish inside with both hands, and inside the arc he is shooting a freakish 75%. A nightmare to guard in transition because of his strong dribble and length, he has excellent body control and can bully his way to the rim at will.
Zion Williamson— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) March 24, 2019
Carried Duke to the Sweet 16 🐐🐐pic.twitter.com/fMCvH7l0a2
Though opponents will back off of him when he looks to shoot from outside, his three pointer is already up to a respectable 32%. Many great NBA players weren’t shooting the ball like this till well into their pro careers.
Already adept at handling in the pick and roll, he can hit basic passes to outside shooters. Though this hasn’t amounted to many assists, he has shown enough for NBA teams to think he can be a difference maker on that end.
1) Name factor— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) March 25, 2019
2) Physical specimen
3) Superstar in college for huge brand
"Zion Williamson is a superstar. This is what a superstar looks like at 18 years old." — @ColinCowherd pic.twitter.com/HGZET2CwOe
His defensive ceiling is the one skill that puts his ceiling higher than Luka’s. Already an excellent help defender, he has the ability to recover and block shots at the rim. Though he gets beaten off the dribble and bites on the odd pump fake, he has the athleticism and quick feet that will encourage NBA scouts.
Both Luka Doncic and Zion Williamson are generational players. But Zion’s exceptional scoring ability coupled with defensive potential trumps Luka’s all round offensive game. Soon enough we will see Luka and Zion match-up in the league, and fans will be able to make their own minds up.