Here’s where we want Doncic to end up.

Luka Doncic is the favorite to go No. 1 in the 2018 NBA Draft in June, and every team in Tuesday night’s lottery is eyeing him. The 19-year-old, 6’8 wing is a star overseas for Real Madrid, which is considered one of the best teams outside of the NBA.

Doncic is a do-it-all type of talent who’s been the future of European basketball for half a decade already. He’s a scorer, a floor general, a shooter, and a slasher. He’s a modern basketball dream, slightly oversized for his position with a high ceiling he’s pushed to a new level each year.

He’s a teenage talent already accustomed to playing at a star level against full-grown adults.

Doncic’s resume suggests he’s ready to contribute right away as a rookie. Few have ever entered the league with a mix of accomplishments like Doncic’s Eurobasket gold, two Liga ACB championships wins, two EuroLeague Rising Star distinctions, and an ACB Best Young Player award. That’s why we want to see him play in a good situation right away.

Here’s our ranking of the places we most want to see Doncic go, though if we’re honest, we’re just happy to have him anywhere in the NBA.

14. Memphis Grizzlies

Everything about the Grizzlies’ situation is sad.

  • They are built around two aging, expensive stars on long-term contracts.
  • They have no other young building blocks to grow with Doncic on the roster.
  • They’ll miss a chance to add a future one once they send a pick to Boston thanks to the infamous Jeff Green trade of 2014.
  • Their ownership situation is … interesting, let’s say, even after Robert Pera bought out his two minority stakeholders.
  • Their general manager is Chris Wallace, who has somehow survived the entire Grit ‘N Grind era despite being demoted and re-promoted multiple times.
  • Their then-interim head coach guided them to a 15-48 record and presided over a blatant tank effort. Then, he got a promotion.
  • They play in Memphis. Look, we’re happy that we get to see Luka in any NBA city next year, but there are more visible places for him to shine.

Sorry, Grizzlies fans.

13. Orlando Magic
12. Phoenix Suns

Two organizations that have spent the last half-decade squandering talent do not deserve our guy. The Suns get a leg up because they at least have Devin Booker, and a Doncic-Booker duo in theory would be cool.

But then you look at the Suns’ graveyard of blown high lottery picks, and … yeesh.

11. Sacramento Kings

I (Mike) had the Kings much higher on my list as a pity vote for 12 straight lottery appearances, but Matt convinced me to drop them down because they’re still a franchise run by Vlade Divac.

Plus, Doncic and De’Aaron Fox isn’t the cleanest on-court fit.

10. Charlotte Hornets

Please do not make our Slovenian son have to bail out a small-market franchise that put itself in cap hell. Don’t put that on him.

9. Atlanta Hawks

Good news: Point Doncic is much more interesting than Trade Me To The Pacers Or Bucks Dennis Schroder.

Bad news: So there’s Doncic, and … Taurean Prince? John Collins seems nice as a lob partner, I guess. Otherwise, what are we looking at here?

8. New York Knicks

A Doncic-Frank Ntilikina-Kristaps Porzingis trio is the Euro dream Knicks fans not only want, but deserve. Things have been hellish in New York for two decades. Please give them a field of oversized international prodigies to take the league over. It’s only fair.

(Note: Matt had the Knicks way higher than Mike. Matt has been dreaming of a Doncic-Porzingis pairing since birth.)

7. Chicago Bulls

Somebody help this franchise. They have something with Lauri Markkanen. Now, let’s keep momentum for a big-market city that can’t recover in the post-Derrick Rose era.

6. Los Angeles Clippers

There’s no better rookie replacement for what Chris Paul used to do than Doncic. A scorer, playmaker, and above-average rebounder, Doncic can fill the holes left at the point guard spot, and maybe elevate LA back into playoff contention.

Could his arrival mean a Lob City revival, too?

5. Dallas Mavericks

Dennis Smith Jr. and Doncic may be an awkward fit at first, but they have the potential to be a dynamic one-two scoring punch. Two youths pushing Dirk Nowitzki to success in what may be his final year is what we need.

(Note: Mike had Dallas much higher than Matt. Doncic and Rick Carlisle!).

4. Denver Nuggets

Doncic paired with Nikola Jokic as oversized European sight demons is petrifying. Both guys have eyes on the back of their heads, able to find anyone anywhere with precise passes through defenders. Surround those two with shooters like Gary Harris and Jamal Murray, and Denver rises from should-watch to can’t-miss.

3. Boston Celtics

We should probably stop giving the Celtics good prospects, but if there’s anyone who can get the most out of young talent, it’s coach Brad Stevens. Jayson Tatum wasn’t supposed to be a Rookie of the Year talent, and Jaylen Brown was supposed to be a project. Now here they are leading a depleted roster in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Doncic splitting minutes with a healthy Kyrie Irving and running the floor with Al Horford, Brown, Tatum, and Gordon Hayward makes a title threat for the Golden State Warriors.

2. Philadelphia 76ers

If the end of this season was any proof, the Sixers aren’t as far off from a championship team as we might have thought. Sure, Doncic may be a bit redundant with Ben Simmons, but is an issue of too many ball distributors and slashers really a problem at all? Doncic is a fine enough three-point shooter at 33 percent as a pro to space the floor too.

A team of Doncic, Simmons, Joel Embiid, healthy Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and maybe J.J. Redick (a free agent this summer) is terrifying.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Doncic would be a dream point guard for LeBron James, and maybe enough reason for him to stay in Cleveland. Doncic can do all the things that Kyrie Irving couldn’t as a true distributor on the floor. Doncic won’t have many zero- or one-assist games. Instead, he’ll take some of the offensive load off James’ shoulders, and maybe he can reinvent the way Kevin Love flows into the scoring picture.

Would James want to play with a rookie? Would he want Doncic traded for veteran help? Would he leave anyway and let Doncic run his own team? The palace intrigue is off the chart.





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