"Doncic can't progress any further"

The Slovenian was third in the 2018 Draft. Some franchises did not bet on him considering that he had already reached his maximum talent level.


At 21, Luka Doncic has already made his mark in the NBA. Very marked. So much for his records, and records, and records; as for its simple way of playing. Apparently, in slow motion, underlining the steps and stomping abnormally strong, in every way. Ironically, his evolution in the best league in the world has been inversely proportional to his style: extremely fast, establishing himself as the king, at least, of the precocious. In the loss against the Chicago Bulls (101-117), he beat Michael Jordan in the all-time triple-doubles classification. He was reaching thirty, being the youngest to achieve it, of course. Once again, before the ungrateful mirror of the best of all time. Once again, the occasional general manager pulling his hair out.

Doncic came to the NBA in 2018 after wowing Europe, being the youngest player in history to achieve an MVP in the top continental competition and with a string of titles that many envy at the end of their careers: two Cups, three titles ACB, an Intercontinental Cup and a Euroleague. An almost inconceivable fact that was a trap for many NBA scouts. As ESPN's North American journalist Tim MacMahon recently revealed, at that time some managers thought that Luka could no longer progress, that he had reached his peak of talent. There would be the reason why the Slovenian player would finish third in the Draft, behind DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III, both very far from the benefits of a player who is already All-NBA and considered in the list by the MVP .

Blind faith in Dallas: Doncic yes or yes

In Texas they were going against the tide. While the general trend was to question the roof of the Slovenian player, Donnie Nelson, general manager of the Mavs, was clear: "I had this feeling and I thought I could play as an organizer, which was like a cross between Magic and Bird. That's what first thing I saw. That and it was a triple-double machine, "he now recalls in statements collected by MacMahon himself.

Dallas finished the 2017-18 season in thirteenth position, with only 24 victories. Harrison Barnes led a team that still had Dirk Nowitzki, who averaged 24.7 minutes and 12 points at 39, or JJ Barea, recently acquired by Movistar Estudiantes. A course to forget, deliberately made worse in order to get to Luka himself. Without going any further, Adam Silver would end up fining the franchise for some statements by Mark Cuban, owner of the organization, in which he admitted to having incited the team to lose. $ 600,000, but a goal achieved, not before closing the deal with the Atlanta Hawks, who saw Trae Young arrive with open arms. "I will not declare myself the winner or the complete loser, but I do know that both teams have someone who is going to make them grow," Tony Ressler, president of the Hawks, would later say, dropping that he would repeat the same operation. Man is the only animal that stumbles twice on the same stone.

"I was glad every time he lost a race or didn't look fit, to be honest. I was encouraging him to screw up at the European championships. I just wanted him to drop positions!" Nelson now confesses to MacMahon. The general manager, also director of operations and scout, would in his day be in charge of bringing in Dirk, and it would not take long for it to be clear that Doncic was called to be his successor. "Every time I went to see him, it was just another validation of how unique and special he is," explains Donnie, who began following Doncic from his third professional game with Real Madrid. The rest of the story is still being written. Slowly and quickly.

Photos from as.com
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