When evaluating NBA prospects, it’s important to realize that there’s no even playing field and no common denominator.
International players typically have some kind of professional experience in Europe or Asia. Division I players who played in any of the “power five” conferences most likely played against some of the NCAA’s top talent.
However, those who went to mid-major schools didn’t. Neither did the prospects who sat out a year of college (or were ruled ineligible by NCAA rules) and elected to enter the draft a year later without any recent body of work.
Therefore, stats can be deceiving. For instance, a player of the same exact skill set could average 30 points per game for an obscure college, 15 points per contest for the University of Kentucky or 10 points per game overseas. Individual numbers depend on opportunity, playing time, coaching scheme and playing style.
That’s why NBA scouting departments are continuously analyzing data and their own reporting in an attempt to be as accurate as possible when it matters most (on the day of the draft).
As with most NBA topics (and topics in general), Charles Barkley has a strong opinion about Luka Doncic, who was taken third overall by the Atlanta Hawks before surprisingly getting traded to the Dallas Mavericks during the draft.
Sir Charles weighs in
“I don’t trust the foreign competition. I have nothing against foreign players; I just don’t know what type of competition,” Charles Barkley said on the Planet Pollard Podcast. “At 18 years old [Luka Doncic] was the MVP. Well that tells me he’s playing against s—-y competition. Nobody at 18 should be dominating grown men.”
The 19-year-old sensation just won an MVP award with Real Madrid and led his team to a championship. In the process, he dominated his opposition, showed off his clutch gene and filled box scores on a nightly basis, thus vaulting him up draft boards everywhere.
But, Barkley wants everyone to temper their immediate expectations for the Serbian star at the NBA level.
“You go back and look at the NBA, there’s only one 18-year-old you can go back and say, ‘Oh, he’s the real deal.’ That’s LeBron James. People forget as great as Kobe Bryant was, he struggled for his first few years. Kevin Garnett struggled his first few years,” Barkley noted.
Since Doncic will seemingly get major minutes in his rookie campaign, he will have every opportunity to prove Barkley wrong.