Monday, May 21, 2018

Luka Doncic Rumor: Seven Thoughts about the latest ESPN news

This will look a lot like the tweets I sent out yesterday when rumors of the Kings and Hawks passing on Luka Doncic started rolling from my old friend (from DraftCity days at RealGM) Jonathan Givony of ESPN. There is a lot to review as far as the emotions one might feel with such news about a prominent prospect in an upcoming draft. As Hawks fans, especially, there can be strong feelings of fear about the draft, after all. So here are some thoughts about this rumor, with a bit more commentary than the Twitter offering yesterday. 

1. They have already been told to pass by Doncic camp. It is possible that, already, the Luke Doncic representation has reached out to teams in the lottery that are a hard pass for Doncic, thereby using the leverage of Euroleague to help shape his destination. It's smart to do this, to pick a specific place that Doncic and his folks feel are better fits for him than, say, the Kings or the Hawks. Let's say he can steer himself to the Cavs at 8 (considering LBJ, of course) or the Sixers at 10. Is not that better, on paper, than taking on the Kings or the rebuilding Hawks or even Dallas? Makes sense. So if that conversation has already happened, then it behooves the Hawks or Kings to maybe get out in front of the rejection by saying, hey, we'd rather a big than Doncic.

2. Two words: Smoke Screen One tradition of the lead up to the NBA Draft is that teams are constantly putting out misinformation for many reasons, usually to disguise the actual intent of that team so that another won't steal their guy. Mayyyybe, the Kings and Hawks are engaging in such chicanery here, who knows.

3. There are legit concerns about how some of the interior playmaking will translate to NBA. Mentioned this in the latest look at each of the prospects (see recent articles), but watching Doncic he relies on a lot of savvy ball moves to create space and to get into the lane. Will those same avenues be available in a quicker, lengthier NBA? It is enough to question, even if you cannot question his Elite vision, CourtIQ or shooting.

4. MOAR BAMBA This could also be called MOAR JJJ or MOAR Bagley, but the Hawks might feel it is more difficult to find a defining five out there than a playmaking guard. And they might be right. The difference is that all three of those guys have lower floors than Doncic, who I said in that last summary article that he has the best chance of reaching his 80th percentile career outcome.

5. Priming the pump to take potential offers.
Nothing sends a signal to teams looking to trade up than saying you might not be interested in a premium prospect others might covet. Leaking information to press is a good way to get the word out.

6. Lord please, not another Chris Paul fiasco. This is the biggest gulp the Hawks fans will deal with if the Hawks do have a chance to draft Doncic and pass to take a big. Sooooo many draft pundits had Marvin Williams high on the board with elite measurements, etc. And while there those of us who were desperate for the type of elite leadership and PG skills Chris Paul showed at Wake Forest, there were definitely others who saw the ceiling potential of Marvin and wanted to go that route. It turns out as the biggest miss in Hawks draft history since 2000 (have to qualify because the overall draft miss list is staggering). Even the disaster of the Shelden Williams guarantee, which is the actual bigger mess of a draft than this one, doesn't match the agony of passing on CP3 to take Marvin. 7. And this is the most important: It is early and we will hear way more misdirection than truth.
There are 31 days until the draft -- too get too committed to NBA gossip and rumors so soon will eave you an emotional wreck, twisted in 1000 different ways by the time Adam Silver opens the 2018 NBA Draft. Have you other thoughts about the Doncic rumor? Feel free to talk about it in the Comments Area or single me out on Twitter @JasonWalkerNBA.

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