By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
The Suns won the Draft lottery, Tuesday (15/5), and thus earned the right to select first in the Draft. The team’s dilemma now lies on who to pick between Doncic and Arizona Wildcats center Deandre Ayton.
While Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov has a firsthand experience of who Doncic is and all the things he’s capable of doing on the floor, since he coached him during the Slovenian national team’s gold medal run in the EuroBasket 2017, McDonough wants to examine the Real Madrid player’s game up close and talk with him before opting to choose him first in the Draft night.
“We’ll certainly weigh (Kokoskov’s opinion) pretty heavily,” McDonough said, per USA Today. “He’s our head coach and has a good track record of evaluating players, developing players. Obviously he and Doncic have a great history together having won the European championships and Doncic is a phenomenal talent who’s certainly in the mix for the No. 1 pick for us. … And knowing Igor, he’ll have strong opinions on Luka, and I know how he feels about Luka and the special connection they have. At the same time, he’ll want us to draft the best player.”
In the meantime, Suns swingman Josh Jackson, the team’s lottery pick in last year’s Draft, looks fondly at the idea of Ayton becoming his teammate.
“I would like to see us get a big man, and I think the best big man in this draft is probably Deandre Ayton if you ask me,” Jackson said. “It’s the guy, I think he’s got so much potential. Like I said, I watched him in high school and every year I watched him add a little bit something more to his game. His ceiling is through the roof.”
While the “Doncic or Ayton” debate is underway, Doncic is solely focused on the upcoming EuroLeague Final (18-20 May) held in Belgrade where Real Madrid will look to add the tenth European championship (the illustrious “Decima”) title to the club’s trophy case. The 19-year-old point forward has already won EuroLeague All-First Team and Rising Star honors after finishing the season with 16.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists over 25:43 minutes per game for 21.8 PIR (Performance Index Rating), he’s also the top contender for season MVP.