DALLAS - In recent weeks, it became more and more apparent that the Dallas Mavericks were focusing their first-round draft attention on European star Luka Doncic. Thursday night, the Mavs got their man.
Dallas made a draft-night trade with Atlanta, acquiring Doncic, the Euro League MVP from Slovenia. At age 13, Doncic left home to play with the Real Madrid club in Spain . As his game continued to develop, many felt he would be the top pick in this year’s draft.
Instead, he went number three to Atlanta. The Hawks then sent Doncic to Dallas in exchange for Dallas’s pick, OU guard Trey Young and the Maverick’s first round draft pick in 2019.
Doncic is a 6-8 shooting guard, known as an excellent ball-handler who can create his own shot. Considered an outstanding passer, in Europe Doncic has gained a reputation as a player who loves to take the big shot.
Thursday night, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle called Doncic a “franchise cornerstone.” The Mavericks hope that Doncic’s impact will resemble that of another European acquired in the draft 20 years ago. Dirk Nowitzki is now the all-time European scoring leader in the NBA. He will now serve as a mentor for the latest European sensation.
Dallas went guard again with the 33rd overall pick, selecting Villanova's Jalen Brunson, the son of former McDonald's All-American and NBA player Rick Brunson. Last year at Villanova, Jalen helped guide the Wildcats to a national championship, leading the team in scoring with 18.9 points per game.
Later in the second round, the Mavs drafted SMU star Shake Milton, but then shipped his rights to the 76ers for the 56th and 60th overall picks. Dallas then took Louisville power forward Ray Spalding and Dayton power forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, who is the brother of the Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo.