In the hours since the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery, most of the focus surrounding the Atlanta Hawks included a decision-making process that assumed Arizona’s Deandre Ayton and Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic would be off the board when the No. 3 overall selection arrived. However, a prominent report now indicates that Doncic could, in fact, slide out of the top two and into Atlanta’s lap... before continuing to free fall.
Jonathan Givony of ESPN brings word from Belgrade in the aftermath of the 19-year-old Euroleague MVP helping to lead his team to a title.
Doncic’s next destination was a focal point on many a conversation over the course of the weekend. It still remains to be seen which NBA team will draft him. The growing consensus among NBA decision-makers in attendance at Stark Arena in Belgrade is that the teams drafting behind the Phoenix Suns at No. 1, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks are likely to pass on European prodigy in favor of American frontcourt players.
Of course, this is simply one report and, at this point, it is still (very) early when attempting to evaluate these decisions. However, Givony has previously reported that Bagley III could be at or near the top of Travis Schlenk’s draft board, leaving some uncertainty as to whether the Hawks would select Doncic at No. 3 if the freshman big man from the ACC was available.
Personally, Doncic sits as the No. 1 overall player on my board and, if he were to slip to No. 3, it would appear to be a godsend for the Hawks. Still, this kind of reporting casts some shadow over that possibility, though it must be noted that, even if the Phoenix Suns were to draft Ayton (and they are favored to do so), the Kings could select Bagley III if they do not favor Doncic at No. 2 overall.
Obviously, plenty of time exists for discussions and rumors between now and June 21 but a well-placed, prominent NBA Draft source believes that it isn’t a lock that the Hawks would tab Doncic, even if they are able to do so without trading up.