By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
It doesn’t come as a surprise anymore that Luka Doncic draws comparisons with even some of the most legendary players in European basketball history.
Names like “Drazen Petrovic”, “Dejan Bodiroga”, or “Toni Kukoc” are often dropped in the same sentence with the potential No. 1 pick in the 201NBA Draft when his style and potential are discussed.
There are probably few who can truly assess the accuracy of these parallelisms, with the expertise of a firsthand knowledge. Dusan Ivkovic, a World Cup and EuroBasket champion, multi-medalist with national teams, plus a two-time EuroLeague winner as coach, is among them.
One of the most important personalities in the history of European basketball, the now retired, 74-year-old Ivkovic had coached most (if not all) prominent players incubated in the heart of the Balkan peninsula, while at the helm of the national teams of Yugoslavia and Serbia. Including Kukoc and the late Drazen.
“He’s (Doncic) a phenomenon. Drazen Petrovic played “1” and Toni Kukoc from “1” to “4”. I believe that neither of them played so maturely when they were 18, as Doncic plays now,” Ivkovic said with a tone of certainty, while interviewed by Greek Cosmote TV.
Surely there has never been an 18-year-old with such an impact on the highest level of basketball outside the NBA, at this age. Doncic averages 18.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.1 steals and a competition-high 25.1 in PIR (evaluation) in EuroLeague, being the indisputable leader of Real Madrid. His team stands at a 10 – 6 record despite facing numerous injury woes, the absence of last season’s MVP Sergio Llull being one of them.
But Duda pretty much considering him one step ahead of the aforementioned figures at this age, adds something extra to talk about regarding how skyscraping his ceiling is and the enormity of his upside.