“I Cannot Believe..”: Former Lakers GM Compares Major Luka Doncic Draft Mishap to That of Kobe Bryant

Published 10/08/2021, 7:00 PM EDT
May 25, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts after a slam dunk during game two in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs against the LA Clippers. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


When we talk of generational talents, Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic comes on top of most lists right now. At the age of 22, Luka has already become the marquee player for the Dallas Mavericks. He has completed three seasons with the franchise and is entering his fourth soon. In 2018, the youngster was the third pick in Round-1 of the NBA Draft. However, former player and coach Jerry West believes that Doncic deserved to be picked earlier.

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Way back in the 90s, retired Laker West worked as the general manager of the team. He was instrumental in bringing about LA’s super-team, which included the likes of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Kobe went on to average 25 points in the league and became one of the greatest players of all time. Yet, the 83-year-old doesn’t entirely credit himself for the acquisition of the Mamba. Instead, he uses him as an example when referring to players who deserve to be rated higher.

Kobe Bryant answers questions during a press conference held at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo, Calif.. Thursday, July 15, 2004. Bryant chose the Lakers over the Clippers, remaining with the team he joined in 1996 at age 18 and later helped win three NBA championships. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)

West believes Luka Doncic deserved to be picked higher, like Kobe Bryant

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In the 2020-21 edition of the league, Luka averaged close to 28 points. The powerhouse knows his way around the court and has impeccable physical abilities and accuracy. In the upcoming season, new coach Jason Kidd is set to bring out an evolved version of his European superstar. However, in a recent interview with fubo Sports, West compared the Doncic steal to that of Kobe, stating that they both ought to have been higher picks in the draft.

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“I cannot believe to this day that they would pass a talent like that [Kobe],” quoted a baffled West. He then compared, “Luka Doncic, what was he, fifth player in the draft? Oh my god, I can’t believe that someone let him go, I can’t. He was a unique kid; at 15 years of age, he was competing against men in Europe. But not competing, excelling!” With everything said and done, things probably worked out for the best, right?

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Basketball – Men – Group C – Spain v Slovenia – Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan – August 1, 2021. Luka Doncic of Slovenia celebrates after the match REUTERS/Sergio Perez

If he continues taking the right steps, Doncic is most certainly heading towards super-stardom, like the eternal Kobe Bryant. The first small step towards that goal – winning the championship. The 2021-22 season brings about a good opportunity, but Luka will have to grab it with both hands. The side begins its regular season on the 21st of October.

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

314 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a Tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football and table tennis. Sankalp idolises Roger Federer and Stephen Curry, and has an inherent love for statistics.

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