In a night where Michael Porter Jr. slid down the draft order, Mikal Bridges’ dream come true was shattered in minutes, and Joel Embiid has already started beef with the #1 overall pick, the biggest moment of the evening came when word broke that the Dallas Mavericks were trading the 5th overall pick along with an unprotected 2019 first rounder to the Atlanta Hawks for the 3rd overall pick. Essentially, the Mavericks just scooped up Luka Doncic for Trae Young and a Top-5 pick next year.
— The Ringer (@ringer) June 22, 2018
Aside from the Sacramento Kings passing on the Slovenian star, this is baffling to me. It seems like the Hawks are chasing the pipe dream of Trae Young developing into the next Steph Curry, and since the Hawks’ GM used to be the Warriors’ assistant GM, it’s not hard to connect the dots and assume Travis Schlenk sees a “Curry-like” ceiling in Young in order to make this move. If it works out, fantastic, but there’s simply too many question marks in Young’s game to project the Oklahoma star ever reaching All-Star status in the NBA let alone the resume of a league MVP and three-time champ, and statistically the greatest shooter the league has ever seen. I said it in my group chat with my fellow Sacramento fan, Kev, Atlanta just gave up a generational talent to chase a dream of getting Steph Curry 2.0.
As to Sacramento, who knows why they didn’t take Doncic, obviously they are high on Bagley turning out to be a star, but his ceiling is nowhere near Doncic and the Kings already have a plethora of bigs in their organization, but trying to figure out what the Kings are thinking here would require a whole other post so we’ll stay on track with the Mavericks.
If the Mavs don’t find a way to make any movement before next year’s draft, and the pick turns into R.J. Barrett or Zion Williamson in 2019, maybe Dallas regrets this move, but with Dennis Smith Jr. and Dirk Nowitzki as primary options for Doncic, with a supporting cast in Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews, Dallas should see some improvement with a guy who can do it all in Luka.
In my opinion, Luka Doncic is the James Harden of this draft. Harden went #3 overall back in 2009, and if you do over things today, he goes #1 without a doubt. In ten years, I believe Doncic would’ve gone #1 in this year’s draft after he develops into one of the best all-around offensive players in the NBA. Of course, DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley should carve out respectable careers in their own, but Doncic has the potential to be something truly special, and that’s what the Mavericks traded up for.
That being said, Doncic will need some time, and some development to turn into that player. At 6’8, he’s going to have to increase his athleticism to keep up with the smaller two guards around the league, and his defence might not be at the level of most NBA shooting guards, but his elite playmaking, vision and footwork at the perimeter will immediately help the Mavericks win games and bring the franchise back into the spotlight in Texas.
Without a doubt, the Dallas Mavericks come out as the gangbusters of this year’s NBA Draft.