5(ish) targets for the Grizzlies in the 2018 draft

PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 7: Mike Conley /
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Luka Doncic (#7) of Real Madrid (Photo by Juan Carlos García Mate/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Luka Doncic (#7) of Real Madrid (Photo by Juan Carlos García Mate/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

Luka Doncic has been the presumed number one overall pick for the last year. That is, until recently.

Whether teams are concerned about him staying in Europe, are afraid that he’ll become another cautionary tale of a foreign player not translating, or they’ve just fallen in love with other players during individual workouts, Doncic has fallen in several mock drafts recently for whatever reason.

Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley have both been presumed top-three picks most of the college basketball season but they’ve mostly been projected to come off the board at No. 2 and No. 3, followed by Michael Porter Jr. Not only have Ayton and Bagley jumped Doncic, but Jaron Jackson Jr., the draft’s youngest player, and Mo Bamba, who wowed scouts at the combine, have been creeping into the top four conversation.

If Doncic falls to No. 4, the Grizzlies will not only have a chance to draft the best player in the draft at great value but they’ll also be addressing the team’s biggest need — a versatile wing who can shoot from the perimeter and create offense.

Luka Doncic just finished playing in the European Cup. He took home the tournament’s MVP trophy which means that at only 19, he’s already the best player in second best basketball league in the wold. The Slovenian teenager is the most polished, well-rounded, and talented offensive player in the 2018 draft, bar none.

His Real Madrid team has five former NBA player on its roster; players from age 25 to 35. But regardless of who they are and where they come from, they all defer to the 19-year-old Doncic. He plays point guard primarily and has the ball in his hands in most situations but he’s also shown the ability to be extremely effective as an off-ball scorer and spot-up shooter. With the ball in his hands, Doncic is a spectacle. He’s an incredible ball handler, a savant with the pick and roll, and he torches defenders with a lightning quick first step and a repertoire of hesitation and step back moves.

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As a scorer, he uses his size and athleticism to get to the rim as well as to create space for mid-range and perimeter jump shots. He’s also deadly pulling up and taking mid-range jump shots. Even though he has a very mechanically sound shot, he’s been a bit inconsistent as an outside shooter as of late. Generally he shoots at a relatively high percentage though and he has the range to knock down shots from anywhere in the gym.

On top of his versatility as a scorer, Doncic has other-worldly court vision, and not just for a 19-year-old, for anyone. He sees the floor, sees plays developing and finds passing angles in a way that has drawn comparisons to Steve Nash and Manu Ginobli. To complete the package, he’s a very good rebounder and defender. Doncic does not have great lateral quickness which could get him into trouble against smaller, quicker guards in the NBA. Either way, everything else he does vastly outweighs any defensive shortcomings.