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Jerry West ‘can’t believe’ Suns, Kings, Hawks didn’t get Luka Doncic in draft

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Jerry West was running the Lakers’ front office when they got Kobe Bryant with the No. 13 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft (via trade with the Hornets).

Now a Clippers executive, West on fubo Sports:

The other people in the league, I cannot believe to this day they would pass a talent like that. I cannot. I cannot.

And we see it happen. Luka Doncic… 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. He’s 15 years – but not competing, excelling.

The Suns drafting Deandre Ayton No. 1 looked reasonable at the time. Ayton has been good. But not nearly as good as Doncic. Though taking Ayton over Doncic allowed Phoenix to eventually acquire a special point guard in Chris Paul years later, it’s hard to credit the Suns for such an unforeseen move. Nearly always, teams are better off drafting the better player. That was Doncic.

The Kings picking Marvin Bagley III No. 2 has been an ongoing disaster.

The Hawks took Doncic No. 3 with a deal in place to trade him to the Mavericks for No. 5 pick Trae Young and a future first-rounder. Young has made it surprisingly difficult to render a verdict on that trade, but it still looks like Dallas got the better end.

Of course, it’s always easier to draft in hindsight. Even for an evaluator as skilled as West.

Also: In an NBA where team executives sometimes get fined for tampering over benign public comments, West keeps talking about players on other teams without repercussion.

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