In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 34 picks.
For our final installment, we’ve broken down Luka Doncic’s game with a four-part deep dive. If you missed part one, catch up here.
Part two is here, focusing on his post game and more.
Moving onto one of my favorite things about Luka Doncic’s offensive game is his post game.
For all intents and purposes, Doncic is a point guard. Yes, at 6’8 he can play at the 2, the 3 and probably even the 4 in some cases, but he’s really a point guard with point guard feel and skill (we’ll get there). As such, Doncic obviously found himself guarded by point guards and your typical point guard is not 6’8 — giving Doncic an obvious advantage down low and one he likes to take advantage of.
Something Real Madrid liked to do was have Doncic inbound the ball, have Doncic immediately step in and try to establish position and Madrid would get the ball back to him and let him go to work (whether it was a face-up, drive or post situation), and that’s what happened here as Doncic backs down his opponent before spinning to his left and angling the layup home:
Against the much smaller Kevin Pangos, Doncic shows patience as he backs down Pangos before spinning to his left again and finishing the play:
Here, Doncic cuts across the lane and establishes great position on his defender, backs down, spins to his right, and hits the floater as the double arrives:
Against the much smaller Ray McCallum, Doncic spins, fades, hangs, and hits the jumper over him:
(You can see previous play I mentioned where Doncic will inbound the ball and immediately get it back...)
Here, Doncic displays beautiful footwork in the post as executes the spin from the post to score at the rim:
It’s not only Doncic’s size that gives him an advantage down-low but his body too — very mature for his age. You could not call Luka Doncic a tweener. Sure, he has strength to add — who doesn’t at age 19? — but he’s in a very good place with his body right now and, honestly, if he wasn’t he would’ve been found out by now in EuroLeague. Against elite competition, you can’t excel the way Doncic at 18/19 years old did if your body and conditioning aren’t right.
Heck, he’s not afraid to post on guys where he doesn’t have a size advantage:
During the EuroLeague season, Doncic was in the post often to begin the season but went away from it for a good chunk of the season and I never understood why, because he’s effective down low...
Being able to work in the post really adds to Doncic’s offensive game and gave Madrid and Doncic something different to go to if the shot wasn’t falling or the driving opportunities weren’t open.
Another area Doncic excels at on the offensive end is in transition/fastbreak — loves to push in the open court and either look to score himself or set up others (which we’ll get to later).
Given his size and his ability as a rebounder, Doncic finds himself on the glass often and he can just grab the rebound and go — which he does often.
Here, Doncic grabs the rebound and sets off down the court. He gets a full head of steam on and pulls up for a quick three:
On this possession, Doncic pushes in transition, gets to the paint, and unleashes a beautiful euro-step to beat the defender and score at the rim:
After an Edy Tavares block, Doncic grabs the loose ball and sets off down the court and again breaks out the euro-step to score at the rim in transition:
Again, Doncic whips out the euro-step and some lovely hang-time to score as he receives the pass in transition:
If Doncic isn’t the one to grab the rebound/loose ball, he usually wants it quickly, so as to put pressure on the defense in transition while they set up. Again, Doncic pushes and gets to the paint and pulls up for the jumper:
Here, Doncic manages to take the ball from inside his own half, all along the sideline and then all the way to the rim, finishing the play with a very difficult layup:
With Doncic’s ability to put pressure on the rim and his ability to shoot the three-pointer, it makes him a very tough cover in the open floor, especially when he gets a head of steam on (you can see he’s not exactly slow).
But, it has to be said, Doncic much prefers to set up teammates in transition than to score himself and he is certainly a threat in the open court.
Doncic also likes to get himself on the boards and he can sneak in for offensive rebounds and stick-backs — he certainly has the size.
Here, Doncic is forced to make a tough pass out of a double team and ends up on the ground. As the shot goes up, so does Doncic and he manages to sneak inside to grab the offensive rebound and scores just before the quarter ends:
On the shot from Anthony Randolph, Doncic makes the run to get himself in position to rebound, grabs it, and gives little fake as he adjusts himself to hit the runner:
Doncic crashing the offensive glass is not something you’ll see terribly often but he can mix it up in there and isn’t afraid to get stuck in — in fact, he’ll often dart from the three-point line to get inside to fight for the rebound.
Doncic is also able to boost his scoring tally by getting himself to the free throw line — nearly five times a game in all competitions and almost six times a game in the EuroLeague. There were some games Doncic played in this season that, when the efficiency wasn’t there from the field Doncic was able to contribute from the free throw line — sometimes 11 or 12 times a game.
We’ve explored how diverse his offensive game is, so you can imagine how he uses this to get to the free throw line.
We just looked at offensive rebounds...given Doncic’s ability to score — with his variety of spins, fakes etc. — he’s able to draw contact and free throws in second chance opportunities, if he doesn’t score at the first attempt.
Here, Doncic establishes good position underneath the basket and when the shot by Carroll is missed, Doncic suddenly becomes a threat and he’s pushed in the back underneath the basket, leading to free throws with Belgrade in the penalty:
Again, not something you’ll see terribly often but good to keep note of.
We’ve seen Doncic work in the post and it’s not surprise he’s able to draw contact/fouls down-low.
On this possession, Doncic looks to establish himself in the post early. He backs down his man and as he spins to his left he draws the reach and the foul, leading to free throws:
Here, Doncic looks to back down his man on the left-block. As he spins, he fakes, waits for the contact to come before taking the shot and draws the foul and free throws:
In transition, Doncic pushes and gets all the way to the rim before drawing the foul and free throws as he rises to score (and isn’t too happy afterwards):
Again in transition, Doncic whips out the spectacular as he goes behind his back to get away from both the defender and the sideline before drawing free throws as he goes up to lay the ball home:
Coming off of a pick-and-roll, Doncic gets downhill and draws the swipe from the defender as he rises, drawing the foul and free throws:
Here, Doncic drives by Will Clyburn from the three-point line and draws the foul and free throws as he goes up:
That clip there is a great example... Doncic is not speediest player in the world. He’s not slow but he’s not going to leave you saying ‘Holy hell, he’s quick’. You can see the lack of elite pace from Doncic but his body and frame really helps him shield himself from the defender, even though the defender is able to keep up with him.
Again, Doncic gets by his man on the drive absorbs the contact and draws the free throws:
On the switch, Doncic puts the opposing big on skates and he draws the free throws:
Sometimes Doncic is guilty of not punishing switches enough (opting to try shoot over them/settling rather than driving by) but he did so on this occasion.
Doncic also showed he was capable of escaping traps/splitting double teams and he drew free throws this way too.
Here, Alexey Shved and Tyler Honeycutt attempt to trap Doncic at mid-court but Doncic is able to squeeze himself through and he draws the foul and free throws:
Again at mid-court, the double/trap comes but Doncic nips by and draws the foul:
You can see that Doncic isn’t a one trick pony on the offensive end but is able to do a number of things on the offensive end and is able to do them at a high level.
**Stay tuned for Part Three to come on Tuesday**