Luka Doncic has made it clear that he does not yearn to land in Sacramento. “Ι’m not sure if these are my last two games [in EuroLeague]. We have yet to make this decision. Perhaps after the season,” Luka told EuroHoops.net.
Not only is Sacramento a less desirable city than Phoenix, but the Kings organization lacks necessary coaching and players for Doncic’s skillset.
Doncic desires to play for his Slovenian national coach, Igor Kokoskov and the Phoenix Suns. Kokoskov utilizes Doncic well as a secondary ball handler, running him off screens. But he also puts the ball in his hands because he realizes his considerable aptitude to make plays out of thin air.
Igor favors Doncic as the number one pick according the Phoenix Suns’ GM Ryan Mcdonough. “He’s (Kokoskov) 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.” Sounds like it could be a tossup between Doncic and Ayton for the Phoenix Suns.
In stark contrast, former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger is a mid-tier head coach, known for his trials and tribulations with Grizzlies GM Robert Pera and tenuous struggles with the Kings. Joerger has failed to escape the lottery two consecutive years, winning as much as the Raptors did this season in two combined seasons. Considering Doncic’s outspoken personality and Joerger’s emotional coaching style, they will clash often similar to how Joerger clashed with Demarcus Cousins.
Moreover, the Phoenix Suns have a bright young core that adheres most to Luka’s skillset.
The Suns have a lot of bright young talent, Devin Booker is the ideal shooting guard who can shoot off the dribble or off a pass. He can take away ball handling duties from Doncic when Doncic gets tired or he could play off-ball. The backcourt would be great offensively but would struggle mightily defensively. T.J. Warren is an improving 24 year-old small forward who can shoot the ball in from deep as well. Alex Len and Dragan Bender provide versatility at the center position. Dragan is a work in process but showed potential as a stretch 4 with a line of 38.6/36.6/ 76.5. What Steven Adams is to Westbrook, Len can be to Doncic, a bruiser who’s primary objective is to set hard-nosed screens and rebound the ball with veracity.
The Kings already have a long point guard in De’Aaron Fox, forcing Doncic to play out of position. He finished 2-pointers at a 59.9 percent rate, but three’s only at 31 percent, regressing from 34.7 the season prior. Clearly, he’s not a pure knockdown shooter. Doncic is a natural point guard, a position he has played the last three seasons for Real Madrid. He has the ability to play other positions but it would be best if he played if he was main distributor to start his NBA career. Discern Ben Simmons who is best at the point guard position but has the ability to play power forward, Brett Brown made the right decision and had him bring the ball up more often than not.
Look at Tyreke Evans for an example of how the Kings played someone out of position. His first year he played point guard 10% of the time, producing 20.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. The following year the Kings seemingly forgot he played point guard, playing him at the 2 84% of his minutes and his stats decreased across the board. Doncic is a similar player and is disinterested in Sacramento putting him in a box and hampering him as an all-around player.
If Luka is lucky the Suns will nab him with the first pick and reunite Kokoskov and him. After all, they are interviewing him. A report by USA Today says that Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough is traveling to Spain in the coming weeks to interview Luka Doncic.