While the sports world was worrying about fantasy teams, arguing about Carmelo Anthony’s ranking on some arbitrary list, and lamenting how bad the NFL was in its first week, it has missed the actual basketball that has been happening. In Europe, there’s a rivalry you’re going to want to start watching now, because we may see it soon in the NBA. Tuesday’s highly-touted EuroBasket quarterfinal between Slovenia and Latvia featured Kristaps Porzingis against Goran Dragic and possible no. 1 pick in 2018 Luka Doncic (as well as Anthony Randolph). It was a tantalizing matchup of Euro powers.Dragic sliced and diced his way to 26 points, including the dagger floater in the final minutes of a back-and-forth affair in which Slovenia edged Latvia 103-97, but the two stars of the game were Doncic and Porzingis, who turned the competitive game into a highlight reel.
Porzingis methodically worked his way to a 34-point night, but the 18-year-old Doncic stole the show. Feast your eyes on this, Bulls fans, and begin rooting for a season of tanking. This is Doncic’s world now.
Potential No. 1 pick Luka Doncic (he's 6-7) protects the rim on one end then backs down Porzinigis on the other. (Porzinigis has 3 fouls) pic.twitter.com/zVD14CtTr2— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) September 12, 2017
Doncic, who might be the best international prospect the NBA has ever seen, finished with 27 points, nine rebounds, one assist, and shot 50 percent from the field, as well as 4-of-11 from deep, including this Steph Curry impersonation from deep late in the game.
Luka Doncic from 35 feet. He's taking over as Slovenia - Latvia comes down to the wire. pic.twitter.com/zGtWxPItKd— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) September 12, 2017
Doncic’s maturity as a basketball player, given his youth, is a huge part of his appeal to prospective teams. His decision-making and control of the flow of the game is evident with every move he makes. Then there’s the athleticism. It’s not off the charts like other prospects that will rival him come draft time, but even at 6-foot-7, he has the potential to be a rim protector, as the video above shows. Next up is Spain and another opportunity for Doncic to continue his ascent. Basketball can’t get enough of Doncic, and this Euro matchup only continued to boost the hype surrounding him. The NBA awaits.