You can build the world's finest race car, but it's all for not unless you can find someone capable of driving it.
And with ball movement being crucial in today's pace-space-pass NBA, here are five playmaking prospects in the 2018 NBA Draft with the right combination of skills to run a high-quality offense at the next level:
Before the draft order was determined, EuroLeague superstar Luka Doncic and his 6-foot-8 frame was considered a consensus top-two pick. Though stateside big men have since overtaken the Slovenian sensation in many mock drafts, it's entirely possible that apprehension over the 19-year-old is merely a bluff by teams at the top.
With the ball guaranteed to be in his hands on every possession, Doncic could have the biggest impact of any rookie next season. In 61 games across all levels of competition in 2017-18, he averaged 14.5 points and 4.6 assists - a stat that's traditionally more difficult to accumulate in Europe - in 25 minutes per game. He also became the youngest MVP in EuroLeague history while leading Real Madrid to the championship.
Simply put, few players at Doncic's age have ever enjoyed that level of success against professionals and the magisterial court vision he possesses. His command of the floor combined with teammates capable of executing around him should yield immediate dividends in the NBA.
The nation's leading scorer and assist man this past season at 27.4 and 8.7 per game, respectively, has all the tools to be an impact player at the next level.
However, whether Trae Young can deliver each and every night over a full 82-game season remains the biggest concern after he shot just 31.1 percent on 3-pointers across the last 16 contest of his lone collegiate season.
Still, defenses won't be able to abandon their posts to double- and triple-team him on every trip down the floor the way they did against Oklahoma. If Young cuts down on the frequency of his dramatic circus shots from beyond the arc and trusts his NBA teammates to shoulder the load on offense, his 3-point percentage should rise and open up assist opportunities as opponents attempt to contain him.
Collin Sexton has the speed to collapse a defense and the vision to link up with trailing bigs and cutting wings to exploit his opponents' miscues. While he only averaged 3.6 dimes per game at Alabama, part of that was a matter of roster construction; with no obvious running mate, someone had to do the bulk of the scoring, which Sexton accomplished to the tune of 19.2 points per game.
At 19, there's still plenty of maturing to experience on the court, and an assist-to-turnover rate of 1.3-to-1 is an obvious place for Sexton to start. He'd be fortunate to find himself drafted by a team with some veteran backcourt infrastructure already in place as he refines his game.
Projected pick: Mid-to-late lottery
Good fits: Cavaliers (No. 8), Knicks (No. 9), Clippers (Nos. 12, 13)
Jerome Robinson averaged 20.7 points and 3.3 assists per game last season, finishing second in ACC Player of the Year voting behind likely top-five selection Marvin Bagley III of Duke. As a 40.9 percent 3-point shooter on 5.7 attempts per game, it's possible the team that drafts Robinson envisions him navigating screens as a perimeter scorer for now, even though he's proven to be a capable playmaker with the ball in his hands.
The three-year Boston College product has the size to defend shooting guards and the skills to serve as a capable secondary playmaker. if pundits want to damn Robinson with the feint praise of labeling him as a "combo guard," then at least he's a relatively versatile one.
Aaron Holiday has obvious NBA pedigree, though his older brothers - 6-foot-6 Justin Holiday of the Chicago Bulls and 6-foot-4 Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans - have played off the ball more in recent years due to their larger frames. Measured at just under 6-foot-1 with shoes on, the newest Holiday projects as more of a true point guard.
In his junior season at UCLA, Holiday averaged 20.3 points and 5.8 assists. His 6-foot-7.5 wingspan helps make up for his lack of size, but it wouldn't be a shock if he struggles to score around the hoop at first. Still, with an explosive first step and solid passing vision, Holiday should be able to help run a bench unit in the near future.
Projected pick: Mid-to-late first round
Good fits: Hawks (No. 19), Timberwolves (No. 20), Bulls (No. 22)
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