It seems all but certain that the Phoenix Suns will use the No. 1 overall pick on University of Arizona big man, Deandre Ayton. But should that be the case? The Santa Barbara-based sports science company, P3, has worked extensively with Luka Doncic. Scientists at P3 have marveled at his skills.
“Since the day he arrived in Santa Barbara, Doncic had the anthropometric measurements (reach and weight) that fit the new-age NBA wing player. At 6-feet-8 and 228 pounds, he ranked in the 86th percentile of guards in the league, according to the data recorded and evaluated by P3,” Atreya Verma of the Arizona Republic reported. “However, the real case for Doncic comes from the drastic improvements he’s shown during his time away from California. Between the 2015 and 2016 summer evaluations, Doncic registered two significant upticks.”
The skills in question are his standing vertical leap and his lateral change of direction speed, which improved by 1.5 inches and 0.25 seconds, respectively.
That’s certainly appealing.
Given that Doncic hasn’t worked out for any of them and even in today’s world, it’s hard for NBA teams to truly evaluate European players. They just see so little of them. That, combined with the skills of a player like Ayton, always made Doncic going No. 1 a longshot. We certainly don’t expect that to happen in 2018, no matter what science says.
That said, the measurable skills all work in Doncic’s favor. If he really has shown vast improvements, teams should certainly be leaping at the chance to grab him on Thursday.