Top draft prospect Luka Doncic shines for Real Madrid in Euroleague Final Four


BELGRADE, Serbia — While the NBA combine was continuing in Chicago on Friday, representatives from around the league gathered in Belgrade, Serbia, to get a look at potential top draft pick Luka Doncic in the Euroleague Final Four.

Doncic, 19, plays for Real Madrid and is the No. 2 overall prospect available in ESPN’s latest mock draft. A point guard, Doncic is considered one of the top players in Europe. He is a two-time EuroLeague rising star winner (2017 and 2018) and helped lead Slovenia to its first EuroBasket gold medal in 2017.

Doncic continued to impress in Friday’s Euroleague Final Four matchup against CSKA Moscow. Doncic played a team-high 30 minutes and finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in a 92-83 win, showing impressive maturity and poise controlling the tempo of the game and navigating traffic. CSKA attempted to rattle Doncic with a full-court press and double-teams late in the game, to no avail.

Doncic was mostly matched up with long-armed, athletic American wing Will Clyburn, who challenged him throughout the game and repeatedly came up empty. Clyburn shot 5-of-17 from the field, with Doncic playing some of his best defense of the season.

Sacramento Kings general manager and Serbian native Vlade Divac was at the game, one of the decision-makers from lottery teams hoping to get another look at Doncic. The Kings have the No. 2 pick, behind only the the Phoenix Suns, who had owner Robert Sarver and VP of Basketball Operations James Jones courtside. The Dallas Mavericks, who have the fifth overall pick, sent general manager Donnie Nelson and longtime international scouting Tony Ronzone.

Doncic said at a news conference this week that he has yet to decide on his draft status. He is widely expected to be in consideration for one of the top picks if he enters this year’s draft. With Real Madrid advancing to the final, Euroleague officials expect a slew of NBA executives to arrive in Belgrade for Sunday’s final.

NBA executives in Belgrade told ESPN that Doncic still has a wide range in this draft, as he’s expected to get consideration from Phoenix with the No. 1 overall pick but also could slide as far as No. 4 to Memphis or No. 5 to Dallas should the Suns decide to pass on him. It is believed that Doncic and his advisers will have some say in where he ends up because of the leverage they hold, as he is still under contract with Real Madrid.

Also in Friday’s semifinal, Houston Rockets draft pick Sergio Llull contributed 16 points and five assists to Real Madrid’s victory, with former Clippers draft pick Trey Thompkins adding 12 points and six rebounds. Veteran NBA big man Gustavo Ayon had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds for Real Madrid.

In the first semifinal, defending Euroleague champions Fenerbahce took down Zalgiris Kaunas, 76-67. Fenerbahce led from start to finish and benefited from another clutch performance by American Bobby Dixon (who now goes by Ali Muhammad). He scored 19 points in just under 12 minutes, hitting one dagger pull-up 3-pointer after another with the shot clock running down.

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