Report: NBA 'Decision-Makers' Believe Kings, Hawks Wouldn't Draft Luka Doncic

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2018

BELGRADE, SERBIA - MAY 20: Luka Doncic of Real Madrid celebrates during the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four Belgrade 2018 Final match between Real Madrid and Fenerbahce Istanbul Dogus at Stark Arena on May 20, 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

While Luka Doncic is widely considered to be one of the best players in the 2018 NBA draft, he may slip out of the top three picks.

ESPN's Jonathan Givony reported Sunday there's a belief among some "NBA decision-makers" that the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks, who have the second and third overall picks, respectively, could pass on Doncic "in favor of American frontcourt players."

Of course, there's the chance the Kings and Hawks won't even have the opportunity to select Doncic.

The Phoenix Suns hired Igor Kokoskov as their new head coach, and Kokoskov coached Doncic with the Slovenia national team. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman had Phoenix taking Doncic over Arizona Wildcats center Deandre Ayton in his most recent mock draft.

Doncic could be the point guard the Suns need alongside Devin Booker in their backcourt.

Were Phoenix to opt for Ayton instead, the Kings or Hawks would be taking a big risk based on both Doncic's production overseas and his obvious potential.

Doncic would likely face an adjustment period when he arrives in the United States, but he's a 19-year-old who has already earned a Euroleague Most Valuable Player Award and helped his national team win a continental title.

He averaged 12.8 points and 5.0 assists in the Spanish league and 16.0 points and 4.3 assists in 33 Euroleague appearances. Between the two leagues, Doncic shot 30.9 percent from three-point range, which is something he'll need to work on in the NBA.

Still, the Kings and Hawks are both years away from being a playoff contender. They can afford to let Doncic develop for a few years without it significantly disrupting their long-term plans. Sacramento or Atlanta could count on plenty of backlash from its fanbase if either franchise turned down the opportunity to add the Slovenian guard.

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