International talent Doncic tops list of wings in NBA draft
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 18, 2018 07:19 AM
FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2017, file photo, Slovenia's Luka Doncic, right, shoots a basket as Serbia's Vasilje Micic tries to stop him during their Eurobasket European Basketball Championship final match in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
By Aaron Beard, Associated Press
An international prospect with tantalizing potential and several college freshmen headline the list of wings in the NBA draft.
Luka Doncic, the 19-year-old Slovenian playing in Spain, is mentioned as a possible No. 1 overall pick. After Doncic is a group featuring Miami’s Lonnie Walker IV as a possible late lottery pick, as well as first-round prospects in Oregon’s Troy Brown and Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo — the Final Four’s most outstanding player in April.
Here’s a look at the top wing prospects in Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) draft:
Doncic has the ability to stretch the floor with his shot and has the versatility to play at point guard or off the ball.
STRENGTHS: He’s a skilled prospect with polished ability to score or run the offense as an adept passer. He has shown the ability to knock down outside shots with deep range and a stepback move. He can shoot over smaller guards, whether off the dribble or in the post, with a 6'7", 220-pound frame. He helped Real Madrid win a EuroLeague championship while averaging about 15 points, five rebounds and five assists.
CONCERNS: As with any overseas prospect, there’s the question of how well his game will translate to the NBA. There’s also uncertainty as to how he’ll match up with more explosive athletes.
LONNIE WALKER IV
The Miami freshman is athletic with the ability to score.
STRENGTHS: While he averaged just 11.5 points, he got better as the season wore on. He was in double figures in 14 of the last 17 games after a slow start. He also has a sturdy frame, checking in at 6'4" and 196 pounds with a 6'10" wingspan at the combine.
CONCERNS: He made just 34.6 percent of his three-point tries and was inconsistent as a college rookie.
The 6'7" wing is Oregon’s first one-and-done freshman.
STRENGTHS: Brown has the versatility to play at guard or small forward. He made his biggest impact on defense (team-best 55 steals) and on the glass (team-best 6.2 rebounds per game) with a roughly 6'10" wingspan.
CONCERNS: The outside shot needs to improve. Brown made just 32-of-110 attempts from three-point range (29 percent), including 14-of-60 (23 percent) after the start of 2018.
One star-making turn in the NCAA championship game changed everything for the 6'5" redshirt sophomore out of Villanova.
STRENGTHS: Look no further than that title-game win against Michigan that doubled as his personal highlight reel. He had 31 points off the bench in an impressive display of outside shooting (five three-pointers) and athleticism (including a two-handed block of a dunk attempt). He also checked in with a combine-best 42-inch vertical leap.
CONCERNS: DiVincenzo has a reputation as a bit of a streaky shooter and had a team-high 79 turnovers. And his rapid rise meant no one got to see him handle the challenge of being in a full-time leading role.
OTHERS TO WATCH:
— GRAYSON ALLEN: Allen was hero (freshman spark in Duke’s 2015 title-game win) and villain (multiple tripping incidents) during a four-year career. But he’s an experienced scorer who attacked the rim, hit three's and played both guard spots. The potential first-rounder also had the best time in the combine’s lane agility test, a sign he’s a bit more athletic than many think.
— KEVIN HUERTER: Maryland’s 6'7" sophomore offers perimeter size and outside shooting (nearly 42 percent on three-pointers), which could land him in the first round.
— CHANDLER HUTCHISON: The 6'7" senior and first-round prospect averaged 20 points and 7.7 rebounds last year at Boise State .
— DE’ANTHONY MELTON: The 6'3" guard is a possible first-round pick with the potential to play either guard spot and defend. But he sat out last year due to eligibility concerns tied to the federal corruption investigation into college basketball.
— JOSH OKOGIE: The Georgia Tech sophomore (16.9 points in two seasons) with the seven-foot wingspan is likely to be a second-rounder.
— JEROME ROBINSON: The Atlantic Coast Conference’s No. 2 scorer (20.7) out of Boston College offers some combo-guard potential and could be a late first-rounder.
— ZHAIRE SMITH: Texas Tech’s freshman figures to go in the mid to late first round as an explosive athlete with defensive potential.
— GARY TRENT JR.: Another freshman guard (6'6", 209) and son of a former NBA first-round pick, Trent shot 40 percent from behind the arc at Duke. He’s a likely second-round pick.