Luka Doncic Called 'Clear No. 1' Player Under 25 to Build Around by NBA Scout

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2020

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic reacts during the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)
Kim Klement/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has a Rookie of the Year and All-NBA first-team selection on his resume at 21 years old.

There is no doubting he is a current and future star in the NBA, and talent evaluators clearly agree. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype shared results from the website's poll of 15 talent evaluators—four general managers, six executives and five scouts—and Doncic was a unanimous choice when asked who they would build around among all players under 25 years old.

"To me, Luka is the clear No. 1," one scout said. "He's a guy who can be a lead ball-handler. He's good enough to score and create at a high level, has the right mental makeup and is incredibly smart. He's been a winner everywhere and will probably be a winner in the league."

Jayson Tatum was No. 2 on the list, while Devin Booker, Ja Morant, Donovan Mitchell and Bam Adebayo rounding out the top six in that order, with the latter two tying. They all finished ahead of the No. 1 pick in the last draft, Zion Williamson, who tied Jamal Murray for seventh place.

Multiple evaluators pointed to Williamson's injury concerns, even though the Duke product still has one of the highest ceilings in the NBA.

As for Doncic, Scotto noted he became the first player to make the All-NBA first team in a first or second season since Tim Duncan did so in 1999. Not even LeBron James can say he did that, which is a testament to how quickly the Mavericks guard has adapted to the NBA game.

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The Slovenia native averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from three-point range during the 2019-20 campaign while leading Dallas to a 43-32 record.

That was a marked improvement from its 33-49 record during the 2018-19 season.

Although the Mavericks lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Los Angeles Clippers, Doncic further cemented his status as one of the league's best players with a buzzer-beater three in Game 4 to cap off a 43-point triple-double.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft averaged 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists a night in the series while dealing with defenders such as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

That sounds like someone to build around.