Potential 2018 No. 1 draft pick Luka Doncic crossed a dude out of his shoe

Ball Don't Lie
in action during the 2017-18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 1 game between Anadolu Efes Istanbul and <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/soccer/teams/real-madrid/" data-ylk="slk:Real Madrid">Real Madrid</a> at Sinan Erdem Dome on Oct. 12. (Getty)
in action during the 2017-18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 1 game between Anadolu Efes Istanbul and Real Madrid at Sinan Erdem Dome on Oct. 12. (Getty)

Only one team wins the NBA championship every year, and 14 teams wind up watching the playoffs from home. The good news for fans: the pain of watching your favorite team be blunt-guts trash need only be temporary, so long as you control your own first-round draft pick and the pingpong-ball gods smile in your favor.

[Now’s the time to sign up for Fantasy Basketball! Join for free]
Scroll to continue with content

If you’re a supporter of one of the 28 NBA teams that Michael Jordan thinks will be garbage because of the super-team movement shepherded by the likes of LeBron and the Warriors, hope springs eternal, in the form of Michael Porter Jr., Marvin Bagley, DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba and the rest of the vaunted prep prospects likely to reside at the top of the draft class of 2018. Over the past couple of months, though, no potential 2018 draftee has built more buzz than Luka Doncic, a 6-foot-8 point forward who stars for Real Madrid in Spain’s ACB, who entered the summer viewed as perhaps the best international prospect ever and promptly burnished those bona fides by helping lead Slovenia to gold in the 2017 Eurobasket tournament.

After the 18-year-old Doncic averaged 14.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 29.1 minutes per game against NBA-caliber competition en route to becoming the youngest player ever named to Eurobasket’s All-Tournament team, Slovenian star and Miami Heat point guard Goran Dragic proclaimed that his young teammate is “going to be one of the best in the whole world.” That’s an awfully big mantle to assume, but if Doncic’s start to Real Madrid’s Euroleague competition is any indication, he fully intends to leave doubters — and defenders — in the dust:

Yep: that’s Doncic, tasked with making something out of nothing late in the shot clock, squaring up against Anadolu Efes defender (and former Mountain West Conference Player of the Year) Josh Adams above the arc and putting him on his heels before stopping on a dime at the free-throw line with a behind-the-back dribble into a stepback jumper that literally left Adams without his left shoe. Doncic missed the J, which is a crying shame, because a move that sweet with a result that hilarious deserved the proper punctuation of a splashed shot.

And lest the highlight truthers in our midst crank up the p’shaws over undue elevation of a play that produced zero points, let it be known that Doncic proved plenty capable of drilling just that sort of shot …

… and plenty of others, scoring a career-high 27 points on 9-for-14 shooting (3-for-6 from 3-point range, 6-for-7 at the free-throw line) with four rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes of floor time to lead Real past Efes, 88-74, on the road in Turkey to open the new Euroleague season in style.

[Follow Ball Don’t Lie on social media: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Tumblr]

Nearly as notable as Doncic’s ball-handing, shot creation and shot-making: that, with longtime Real and Spanish national team star Sergio Llull sidelined by a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, his rest of the players on one of the best teams in Europe deferred to the 18-year-old in their midst when the chips were down.

If Doncic can keep coming through like he did against Efes, he’ll only earn more trust from his teammates, and more pining glances from NBA general managers and coaches. And if he keeps doing dope stuff like crossing defenders out of their shoes, he’ll become a full-fledged object of affection for every fan of every team whose offseason begins in mid-April.

More NBA coverage:

– – – – – – –

Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

What to Read Next