Suns Coach Igor Kokoskov Says NBA Draft Prospect Luka Doncic Would 'Fit Great'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2018

Slovenia's Luka Doncic celebrates during their Eurobasket European Basketball Championship final match against Serbia, in Istanbul, Sunday, Sept. 17. 2017. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

New Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov coached Luka Doncic on the Slovenian national team at EuroBasket last year and believes Doncic would be a good addition to the Suns, though that doesn't mean he'll be the selection at No. 1 overall.  

"With all respect to Luka, I love him as a player—he's a unique player and a great guy. I think he would fit great on our team, but the options are open," Kokoskov said on 98.7 FM Arizona Sports' Suns Postseason Special on Wednesday, per Kellan Olson of ArizonaSports.com.

Kokoskov also noted that Doncic wants to make an impact on the court like Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons.

"That's his game," he said. "Pass-first player, always the ability to score and make the big shots, but he's a playmaker. He's willing to make a pass, he's willing to play for his teammates and make other people better on the court."

The Suns have a need at point guard, and the possibility of pairing Doncic with Devin Booker and Josh Jackson on the perimeter is tantalizing. But the Suns also need a franchise center, and Arizona's Deandre Ayton is a superb offensive weapon and rebounder, putting him in major contention for the top pick as well.

Of course, Ayton isn't a perfect prospect. Questions about his defense at Arizona and the impact he'll have in that regard in the NBA are his biggest knock. Likewise, there are doubts about Doncic's athleticism and whether it'll hamper him in the NBA or limit his upside. 

Doncic has been incredibly impressive in Europe, however, competing against far superior competition at Real Madrid than Ayton faced in the college game.

"You look at his career in the last two years, he made unbelievable improvements as a player," Kokoskov said of Doncic. "In the professional world, playing with professional players and as a young boy he was playing with adults and dominating and playing on that level, it's really something that draws attention. All the lights were on him."

Doncic made waves earlier this week, saying he is uncertain whether his EuroLeague career would be over after this season.

"Ι'm not sure if these are the last two games," he said at a press conference with Real Madrid in the EuroLeague Final Four, per Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports. "We are yet to make this decision. Perhaps after the season."

Some have interpreted those comments as Doncic's attempt to leverage where he's drafted. Others have suggested Doncic is simply focusing on the present and abstaining from speaking about his future until his season ends. It's certainly hard to imagine a player widely believed to be a top-three pick deciding against entering the NBA draft.

Whether the Suns take him, however, remains a mystery.


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