Coming into the NBA as a 19-year old European guard without the most extraordinary athletic ability, Luka Dončić shocked the United States with his basketball ability. This was a surprise for most fans and completely expected for people who watched Euroleague and the Mavericks scouting staff.
Luka is something we have never seen before. Dončić started dominating in the 2nd best league in the world as a teenager, leading the illustrious club of Real Madrid to the Euroleague title while winning the Final Four MVP. Many great European players didn’t manage to achieve that during their whole careers, and Luka did it at the very beginning. Anyone who knows anything about international basketball knew how special that was.
Still, NBA scouts and experts had their doubts, trying to emphasize his weaknesses. That didn’t discourage Mark Cuban and the Mavericks, who were sure of his abilities and went all-in on him, as he shared the reason for it on The Ringer with Bill Simmons:
“It was watching the players that he played with [in Real Madrid] defer to him. Grown men who had been in the NBA for years, wanting the ball in his hands. That’s all I needed to see.”Mark Cuba, The BS Podcast
That Real Madrid team had some great players alongside Luka. Players with NBA experience like Rudy Fernandez, Anthony Randolph, Gustavo Ayon, Trey Thompkins, and many other great European players like Sergio Lull and Felipe Reyes. The fact that a bunch of experienced and established players stood behind Luka and let him take the reins of the team spoke volumes on what kind of talent and teammate he is and will be in the NBA.
That’s why his success today is no coincidence, as the Mavericks hit the Draft Jackpot with Luka Dončić. You have to look at prospects without the predicted judgment because of stereotypes. If you do that, you can always find a diamond in the rough.