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Report: Kings, Hawks 'likely to pass' on Luka Doncic in NBA draft

The Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks may not draft 19-year-old Euroleague star Luka Doncic, who many consider the best player in the draft. (REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis)

19-year-old Luka Doncic is one of the best players in the 2018 NBA draft, and is considered by many as the favorite to be selected by the Phoenix Suns with the No. 1 overall pick.

According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, though, Doncic may fall out of the top three.

The Suns may pass on Doncic for Arizona center Deandre Ayton — who averaged more than 20 points and 11 rebounds per game last season with the Wildcats. Should they do that, Givony reported that the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks, who hold the second and third picks, respectively, may pass on the Slovenian guard “in favor of American frontcourt players.”

Doncic, who was the Euroleague MVP, averaged 16 points and 4.3 assists in the league last year. He also dropped 15 points in Real Madrid’s 85-80 win in the Euroleague championship game on Sunday, a performance earning him the league’s Final Four MVP award, too.

And while he will likely face an adjustment period when joining the NBA — as most European players do — and still has facets of his game that need improving, many teams here are willing to take a bet on Doncic and let him develop.

A lot can still happen before the NBA draft in June. Perhaps the Kings or Hawks will change their minds and take Doncic. Maybe he’ll fall to the Grizzlies at No. 4 or the Mavericks at No. 5. Another team can still trade up for him, too.

Or there’s still the likely possibility that the Suns take him first in the draft. Their new coach, Igor Kokoskov, coached Doncic with the Slovenian national team. The pair have a very solid relationship, making it seem like a perfect match on paper.

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