With the Atlanta Hawks set to make the No. 3 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, information surrounding the top prospects in this class is flying around and will be until June 21 arrives. One such tidbit arrived in the form of a report indicating Slovenian standout Luka Doncic could slip beyond the Hawks in favor of an American-born big man and, while that may be true by the end of the process, the buzz inspired all kinds of reaction.
With that as the backdrop, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk was prompted about Doncic on Tuesday as part of an interview with 92.9 The Game in Atlanta and he started by indicating that Atlanta is looking to “get a read” on Doncic’s status. (via KL Chouinard of Hawks.com)
“I had a chance to sit down with his agent last week in Chicago and try to get a read on the situation, and his agent obviously was flying over to the (EuroLeague) Final Four in Belgrade. He’ll get back to the States this weekend and we’re going to circle back with him.”
Doncic has not fully indicated that he will be staying in the 2018 NBA Draft and many have speculated that his camp could exercise leverage in an effort to steer him to a desired destination. While it seems unlikely that Doncic would pull out of the draft entirely, his complicated status certainly lends itself to a number of interesting dynamics and, with that in mind, it makes sense that Schlenk will be exploring the background.
From an on-court perspective, though, Schlenk appears quite impressed with Doncic and he shed light on his viewpoint.
”What he has been able to accomplish in Europe, we’ve never seen before -- A 19-year-old kid who has been MVP of the Final Four, MVP of EuroLeague, won a European Championship -- what he has been able to accomplish at his age has never been duplicated over there.
He has got really good size at 6’8. He has got really good court vision with his ability to pass the ball. He is a good shooter, not a great shooter, but that’s one thing guys get better at with a lot of repetition, and obviously in the NBA, you get nothing but repetition. His body, his frame, he has got a good frame and he has got the ability to add good weight.
He is certainly an intriguing prospect and, with his basketball IQ and his ability to make his teammates better for his age and just his maturity on the court, it’s really impressive.”
Doncic’s accomplishments at his age are, as Schlenk notes, unprecedented and he is a remarkably “safe” prospect as a result. Questions about his athletic upside continue to exist but, given his pedigree and performance level, NBA teams could also be drawn to his high floor, especially at a position of great need across the league.
This likely won’t be the only time Schlenk discusses Doncic in a public forum between now and June 21 but it is certainly intriguing to hear him share at least part of his evaluation.