This year’s draft class could be one of the best ever.
Players like DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Mohamed Bamba and others have superstar potential, and should make an immediate impact for their respective teams.
One of those players who could potentially serve as a franchise cornerstone is Luka Doncic, a Slovenian guard who has been called the best international prospect ever.
According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, sources have said that Doncic has often been the best player in pickup games at the Mavs’ facility, despite not playing in any Summer League games or being in great shape by NBA standards. “And before you make a crack about the Mavs' talent or lack thereof, these games have included local products like LaMarcus Aldridge,” says MacMahon.
Doncic was forced to miss all of the Mavericks’ Summer League games because he had to wait until July to make his contract with the team official. The No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft was recently named the EuroLeague MVP, and led Real Madrid to the 2018 EuroLeague championship.
Dallas doesn’t plan on having to tank this upcoming season; they signed DeAndre Jordan to a one-year $22.8 million deal and also have a talented young point guard in Dennis Smith Jr., who should pair well with Doncic.
With his passing and shooting ability, as well as his ability to play multiple positions on the court, Doncic seems like he could be quick to make an impact at the NBA level. Scouts have been hesitant to go all-in on international prospects, but Kristaps Porzingis’ success in the league definitely has started to change the thought process of some franchises. Doncic is also arguably the most accomplished international teenager ever, and has an advantage over other rookies since he’s been playing at the professional level for a few seasons now.
These offseason pickup games aren't the most important things in the world, but for a rookie to come in and raise some eyebrows … that's worth noticing.