As the NBA evolves, the league has become more diverse. With more International players in the Association than ever before, their impact is becoming greater by the year. Future Hall-of-Famers Dirk Nowitzki and Manu Ginobili have made a huge impact, both on and off the court. From signature moves to the growth of the game, International players have no doubt made the game better. Just this year, two International players were drafted in the top-10 of the NBA draft. Now, with so much talent coming from abroad, sooner or later the world will produce another superstar. Could that player be from Central Europe? Slovenia might be known for Mountains and Ski resorts, but maybe not for much longer. The name Luka Dončić is one to be remembered, and for good reason.
Luka Dončić: The Slovenian Star Set to Take the NBA by Storm
Who is Luka Dončić?
Dončić, 18, has played for Spanish club Real Madrid since 2015. Playing in arguably the world’s second best league, he’s relatively experienced for an 18-year-old. Capable of playing either as a point guard or shooting guard, Dončić is an all round talent. Standing at 6’8”, he is a long, lengthy guard who is listed as a two-guard but can create like a point guard. The Slovenian guard has been playing with grown men since the age of 16, something very few draft prospects can brag. 2017 was a great year for him, winning four awards in the process. Dončić is more than ready for next year’s draft, as he looks set to take the league by storm.
What makes the Slovenian Sensation so good?
Dončić isn’t like most European prospects. Most prospects play minor, reduced roles for their clubs, Dončić is the exact opposite. Already one of Real Madrid’s best players, to achieve what he has achieved at just 18 is quite incredible. Averaging 7.8 points, 4.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds, he has been a consistent contributor in 2017. Playing over 100 games in the Liga ACB and EuroLeague, Dončić has bags of experience at such a young age.
College Basketball isn’t Spanish & EuroLeague Basketball, in terms of quality. Playing in both since the age of 16, Dončić has displayed his ability on Europe’s biggest stage. The best way to sum up Dončić is this, he has the height of a small forward, the body of a shooting guard and the mind of a point guard. The Don is on his way, so watch out.
Competition for the First Overall Pick
Every year, there is a race to be the first overall pick. This year it was Markelle Fultz versus Lonzo Ball. Seeing as we are just under a year away from the 2018 draft, it’s difficult to make predictions. At this point in time, Missouri forward Michael Porter is leading the way in most mock drafts. Expect Dončić to be in the mix for the number one pick, however, with most GM’s more comfortable taking a college star, Porter and others have the advantage. Dončić should still go top five, with his talent speaking for itself.
Capable of shooting, driving to the rim and creating for players around him, Dončić has the potential to run a team. With raw athleticism his only real weakness, he should make an immediate impact at the NBA level. When it comes to Dončić, there is no reason to hold back so here it is. Luka Dončić can be a superstar at the next level, it’s that simple. He is the most convincing prospect heading into next year’s draft and that won’t change, even if Porter dominates at Mizzou.
Born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Dončić won’t be the first Slovenian player in the NBA. Goran Dragic, Sasha Vujacic and Beno Udrih have all played in the league, with Dončić on the way. One thing Dragic and Dončić have in common is they share the same agent. Dončić has limitless potential, whereas his fellow countryman Dragic has already peaked. Currently holding the crown of Slovenia’s best player, Dragic should make the most of it, because Dončić is coming for his crown.