The Atlanta Hawks are struggling to the tune of a 5-18 record and full-season win projections in the low 20’s. That isn’t a full-blown surprise given the team’s injury situation and overall talent level but, in the same breath, it can make for a long slog through 82 games.
With that said, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated released a 2018 NBA mock draft this week and the results should please Hawks fans greatly. In short, Atlanta would add Slovenian perimeter player Luka Doncic with the No. 2 overall pick and Woo praises him considerably.
Perhaps the most complete and accomplished European draft prospect we’ve ever seen, Doncic’s body of work is hard to argue with. He’s a savvy lead ball-handler and playmaker and easy to peg as the most NBA-ready player in this class, already putting up massive numbers in the Euroleague at age 18. He’s not a high-end athlete, but Doncic is advanced enough in essentially every other area that it may not matter. He has a strong case for the top spot and won’t fall far.
There are plenty of top-tier prospects in this draft, especially in the frontcourt, but none are as safe as Doncic and the notion of “the most complete and accomplished European draft prospect we’ve ever seen” is quite appealing. It is certainly fair to point out that Doncic’s ultimate ceiling may not be quite as high as that of Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton or Duke big man Marvin Bagley III but, in the same breath, there is a premium placed on ball-handling and offensive creation in today’s game, leaving Doncic as an attractive pick.
Obviously, there is a long way to go between now and the draft lottery, much less the actual selection process. Still, it is not too early to daydream a bit about Doncic and John Collins teaming up in the pick-and-roll and that is a lot of fun to consider.