Last season, the Euroleague had a lot of great players, and two of the best were Luka Doncic and Brad Wanamaker. These two met even in the final of the competition, where Real Madrid managed to get off with a victory against Fenerbahce Istanbul, while Doncic was named the MVP of the Final 4. The Slovenian superstar finished with 15 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists but Wanamaker responded with 14 points, 5 rebound, and 5 assists.
In the summer after the Final 4, the main story was about Luka Doncic leaving Europe for the NBA. He was seen as one of the greatest prospects that ever came from another continent, therefore he was selected third by the Atlanta Hawks. In the same time, Brad Wanamaker signed a contract with the Boston Celtics, thinking that he will be able to live his American dream too.
More than half a year later, Luka Doncic is one of the most beloved players in the NBA, while Brad Wanamaker has played only 25 games for the Celtics. But, why is there such a difference between the two best players of the Euroleague final?
First of all, Luka Doncic is still only 19 years old, so doing the things he has done in Europe created a wave of admiration for him that resulted in him being one of the most hyped players ever. He won everything that was possible in Europe so he was going to the NBA with a lot of expectation. Meanwhile, Brad Wanamaker was already 29 years old when he signed with Boston Celtics so the organization didn’t have any hopes of him getting a lot better than he is right now.
The second thing is that Luka Doncic went to a bad team that needed a superstar to replace the old Dirk Nowitzki that has been the face of the franchise for the last 20 years. After seeing what Dirk has done for this organization, Mark Cuban began to trust European players more so he was open to playing Luka a lot of time. So, the Slovenian came to a team that lacked talent and to a place that was open to Europeans.
It is not the case with Brad Wanamaker. Boston Celtics made it into the Eastern Conference Finals last season and are one of the most packed teams in the NBA. Danny Ainge managed to get a lot of talents to the team so Brad Wanamaker’s spot on the roster wasn’t secure at all. He wasn’t seen as the savior of the franchise, therefore he didn’t have as much time to show his strengths as Luka Doncic.
And these things are visible in their numbers. Wanamaker played in 25 games averaging 3.7 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1 assist per game, while spending less than 10 minutes on the court. Instead, Luka Doncic spends on the court 32 minutes per game and has the following numbers: 20.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 5.5 APG. Also, the Slovenian was very close to being chosen as a starter in the All-Star Game and had three triple-doubles until now.
This is tough for Wanamaker because he risked his career in Europe for his dream and he didn’t manage to be appreciated in the NBA. The same story happened with James Nunnally, who was forced to come back to Europe after failing to play for an American team. It is interesting to see what happens next with Brad Wanamaker and Luka Doncic and what will be the career paths for those two players.
David Istrate, email@example.com