Luka Doncic will have more playing time in the Euroleague after star Real Madrid teammate Sergio Llull suffered an ACL injury on Wednesday.
Last season, Llull and Doncic led their team to the Euroleague Final Four. Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso has praised the teammates after playing well together in the past (via Talk Basket):
“I believe that both Sergio and Luka gave us a lot this season and have been praised a lot because of the way they played. What makes me more proud, however, is the fact that they have been able to make their team-mates better.”
While 18-year-old Slovenian-born Doncic is considered to be the best European prospect in recent memory, his opportunity to shine will likely increase in the upcoming season due to the recent injury to Llull.
Llull, whose draft rights were purchased by the Houston Rockets in 2009, is one of the most popular players in Spain. Rockets GM Daryl Morey believes the Spanish point guard will eventually play in the United States.
Of course, this injury is a major setback for the Euroleague MVP. He is also considered the best two-way guard outside the NBA.
However, this will provide more attention to Doncic. ESPN’s Mike Schmitz expects more from the top prospect without Llull available for Real Madrid.
This sentiment was echoed by Jeremy Woo, who published a feature on Doncic earlier today (via Sports Illustrated):
Doncic will have every chance to make his case, and additional responsibility for his club given the recent news that Real Madrid backcourt-mate and reigning EuroLeague MVP (and longtime Houston Rockets stash) Sergio Llull tore his ACL playing for Spain.
Doncic was originally “brought around slowly”, according to the report. But with him almost certainly one season away from playing in the NBA, expect the team to use him as a primary playmaker. Last season, he played around 20 minutes per game but may have been their best player.
He’s also also likely to become their lead ballhandler with Llull, a point guard, injured. The 6-foot-7 is also an impressive rebounder and hustler on the court and plays positionless basketball.
Expect scouts and fans alike to follow his performance at the Eurobasket closely. Doncic will play for Slovenia alongside Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic and Anthony Randolph.
We’ve listed Doncic as one of the top upcoming prospects for the NBA and he will have a chance to prove why over the next 12 months.