Kings’ Vlade Divac Passed on Luka Doncic Due to Father, Says NBA Insider

Luka Doncic

Getty Luka Doncic at Dallas Mavericks Media Day

The topic of Luka Doncic’s mini slide in the NBA draft remains an interesting topic. And recently, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon was a guest on his colleague Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast. During the appearance, he shared that Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac might have passed on reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic in the 2018 draft because of his feelings towards Luka’s father, Sasha Doncic.

ESPN NBA draft analyst Jonathan Givony and former Mavericks player development coach Mike Procopio were also guests on the episode, and the conversation between the four panelists centered around three teams choosing to pass on Doncic. The Phoenix Suns drafted DeAndre Ayton first out of Arizona, the Kings selected Marvin Bagley second, and the Atlanta Hawks drafted Doncic but ended up trading him to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Trae Young.

“Vlade, as close as he was to Luka, my understanding is they were honed in on Bagley by at least March, if not earlier than that, and my understanding is that him being so close to Luka and knowing his dad so well factored into their decision,” MacMahon said. “Basically, he didn’t think a whole lot of Luka’s dad, and then the whole like father, like son — well, I don’t know, this is a different dude. You messed that one up, Vlade.”

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How Did the Trio Stack up in Their Rookie Year?

Luka Doncic finished the 2018-19 season by winning the NBA Rookie of Year Award and averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists. Bagley averaged 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assist while Ayton averaged 16.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.

All three individuals would be named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team – Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (195 points; 95 First Team votes), Memphis Grizzlies forward-center Jaren Jackson Jr. (159 points; 60 First Team votes) and Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III (156 points; 56 First Team votes). Trae Young and Doncic were the only two that were unanimous selections, per

How Have They Improved in Year 2?

After 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and assist in his rookie season, Bagley has missed all but one game with a thumb injury for the Kings. Suns center played the first game of the season and scored 18.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, but he’s been suspended 25 games according to for testing positive for a diuretic.

Trae Young is averaging 25.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game for the Atlanta Hawks. However, Luka Doncic has the Dallas Mavericks fourth in the Western Conference with an 11-4 record and averaging 30.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game. Though it is early in the season, Doncic is being mentioned in the MVP race.

Kevin Love & Paul George Have Doncic on Their Radar

Last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers were in Dallas to take on the Mavericks for the second and final time this season. After the Cavaliers’ morning shootaround, Kevin Love was asked what he has seen from Doncic in year two.

“He is cut from that cloth. He definitely has that capability being an MVP one day,” Love told Taylor Jones of Fanatics View. “I said that after the first time we played him and just watching him. I mean I think it was 10 games ago and I said he is one the guys or the guy that is the future of our league. ”

As for Paul George, following the Clippers’ recent game against the Pelicans, he was asked what has impressed him about Doncic prior to their matchup on Tuesday night in Dallas.

“I think what is impressive is his skillset at his age, he is a scorer, playmaker, ball handler, and I think he is close to averaging a triple-double,” said George.  So, he is doing it in all aspects of the game, and doing it at his age is remarkable.”

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