Luka Doncic bests Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, Trae Young as NBA execs’ most desired core piece
Luka Doncic was the overwhelming pick by league executives as the young star they’d choose to build around. A whopping 17 out of 20 key members of various organizations (coaches, scouts, and executives) picked the Dallas Mavericks star over others like Zion Williamson, Trae Young, and NBA Rookie of the Year front-runner Ja Morant, according to an ESPN survey.
Doncic tailed 17 first-place votes and three second-place votes by those polled, while Morant earned two first-place votes and Williamson earned one.
Doncic (77 cumulative points) walked away as a clear winner, while Williamson came in second only by means of second-place choice (52).
The surprise here was that Trae Young, a second-year NBA All-Star, was not picked first or second by any of the 20 polled suits, earning only four third-place votes and fourth-place votes from 16 of the 20.
The NBA has grown enamored with Doncic’s complete package of shooting, rebounding, and playmaking — skills most see as the prototypical do-it-all franchise of the future.
“Luka is a known quantity as a total stud,” one Eastern Conference scout said, “so you have to take the sure thing.”
Doncic finished fourth in ESPN’s most recent NBA MVP straw poll after earning his first All-Star nod this year, also as a starter.
“Luka has size and elite playmaking and shooting right this second,” a Western Conference executive said. “He impacts winning. I believe his game is not only sustainable, but has the ability to continue to get better.”
Morant edged Williamson by a mere first-place vote but ranked third overall with 47 points.
“I see his upside,” one scout said. “He’s going to get stronger. [The Grizzlies] think he’s a killer.
“His upside is his athleticism. Doncic may be as good as he ever is because he’s limited athletically. For today, I’d say Luka, but moving forward, I say Ja because his athleticism is off the charts, his makeup is great and his shooting will get better.”
The upside is there for Morant, who was drafted second overall by the Memphis Grizzlies and has managed to accelerate a rebuild to put his franchise in NBA playoff contention.
Williamson and Young could still muster more sample size to change some of these suits’ opinions, but they must first make the jump as more well-versed stars to do so.