The Dončić Dossier Vol: 8 — vs. Unicaja Malaga

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After picking up a third straight loss last time out (losing by 30 points to Baskonia), Real Madrid responded with a big win at home against Malaga on November 16th, 89-57.

For top NBA prospect Luka Dončić, the boxscore won’t ‘wow’ you (13 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, 0-of-2 from three, 1-of-1 from the line, 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal, three turnovers, two blocks and a PIR of 28 in 25 minutes) but his performance was great and was comfortably superior than everyone else on the floor and that isn’t representative in the numbers. The 28 PIR helps slightly in that regard.

Prior to the game, Dončić was presented with the EuroLeague MVP award for the month October:


Dončić also returned to the starting lineup having come off the bench in the previous game against Baskonia, (more than likely due the fact Madrid’s schedule was pretty loaded) and Dončić relished the opportunity to play again quickly.

“…I am young – I like to play games,” said Dončić. “Three games per week is a pleasure for me.”

Also worth noting that, given the absolute blowout nature of this game, that Dončić did not feature at all in the fourth quarter with the game well and truly wrapped up.


13 points on 6-of-11 shooting, 1-of-1 from the free throw line and 0-of-2 from three for Dončić.

Let’s start, as we always do, with three-point shooting.

Just two three-point attempts for Dončić in this game, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing — reeling in some of those attempts. I don’t really care that Dončić missed the two threes he took, I just like him reeling in the attempts — 4-of-14 from three in his last two games before this (going 2-of-7 twice).

Anyways, let’s look at them (may as well, since there were only two of them).

Here, Dončić goes behind the Edy Tavares screen (who does a good job to create the separation) and steps back into a three which is a little long:

A good quality shot that was a little off on this occasion.

The other three he took was in a late-clock situation, which forced Dončić to take a deep attempt as the clock wound down:

We’ve seen Dončić knock down threes from this range but with the defense in close proximity, it was going to be a tougher ask…

Sticking with the jumpshot, Dončić didn’t really take a lot of them in this game. I counted only two (not including three-pointers. Here was the one he hit, going to his left and stepping-back for the contested two near the end of the shotclock:

Looking at this play, this was harder than it should’ve been. You can see Jonas Paciulis (number 8) point to the spot Edy Tavares is supposed to be setting a screen (I believe in some form of a double-drag screen?) but Tavares sets the screen on the right side of his man, as if Dončić was going to use it going to his right. Instead, he goes to the left and Tavares’ efforts are wasted as the player guarding Dončić just goes with him and he’s able to hoist a decent contest.

Moving away from jumpshots, Dončić had a lot of success getting to/near the rim in this game.

Off of a pick-and-roll, Rudy Fernandez collapses the defense and Dončić’s defender, Mo Saluade, goes to help. One of the defenders in the pick-and-roll, Adam Wacyznksi, does a decent job running out to Dončić to prevent an open shot. Dončić, however, uses this to his advantage and quickly goes to his left after the catch — wrong-footing the defender — and he drives all the way to the rim:

Pretty poor defense after Dončić began his drive, it must be said…

After an offensive rebound, the ball finds its way to Dončić on the perimeter. Dončić initially goes to his left before going through his legs and changing directions and he glides to the rim for the score:

Liked the little adjustment going to the right to avoid the defender in the lane…

Near the end of the shotclock, Dončić easily gets by Dragan Milosavljević with the dribble and displays some great hang-time and hits the tough runner for the score:

This wasn’t the only runner that Dončić got to fall. Here, Dončić splits the defenders (more so walks through them, not a lot of resistance) and banks the runner home:

Again, not a lot of defensive resistance here…

And, lastly, for getting to the rim, Dončić drives strongly off of the catch and gets to the rim for the hoop and the harm — and-1:

Two aspects of Dončić’s offense (in terms of scoring) that we didn’t really see in this game were the transition game and post.

And we did see them, we saw the two blend in one possession.

Off of a miss, Dončić grabs the rebound and sets off in transition. He is cut off near the baseline by Wacyznksi. Dončić then sets up and tries to back Wacyznksi in the post but to no avail, and is eventually forced to pass out:

Good defense from Wacyznksi, Dončić probably spent a little too long attempting to make something happen…


Six assists from Dončić in this game but that number could’ve been so much higher — he had that much of an imprint on this game from a facilitation point of view.

Dončić didn’t create much for himself in transition but he created opportunities for others in transition often. So let’s start there by looking at a few.

Off of a miss, Dončić grabs the rebound and sets off. He gets to the three-point line and feeds a pass down the pipe to Felipe Reyes, but Reyes has the ball stripped off of him and it sails out-of-bounds:

A good defensive play by Malaga here on what was sure to be a certain basket.

Off of another miss, Madrid grab the rebound and the ball finds its way to Dončić. As he gets to the three-point line, he looks in the direction of the streaking Maciulis but fires the no-look pass to the corner where Fabien Causeur is there to hit the catch-and-shoot three:

Beautiful play, great lead and misdirection with the no-look pass.

Off of another Malaga miss, Dončić grabs the rebound and sets off. Along with him is Edy Tavares and Dončić links up with him with a behind-the-back pass for the assist:

We’ll look at facilitation out of the pick-and-roll next.

Off of the show on the pick-and-roll, Dončić threads a nice bounce-pass to Trey Thompkins, who makes the secondary pass to Felipe Reyes for the easy basket:

Solid pass and good team ball movement leading to a basket.

Next, Dončić and Reyes link up for a pick-and-roll but it turns out to be a flare screen to open up a shot for Rudy Fernandez, and Dončić finds him with an overhead pass for the assist for three:

Dončić had a lot of success driving the ball not only to score himself but to create opportunities for others.

Here, a nice fake, drive inside and perfectly timed pass to Thompkins inside for the assist:

At the end of the first quarter, the catch, drive and kick-out to Thompkins again for a three-point attempt but it’s just off:

One of the things I really enjoy about Dončić is that he’s not a selfish player.

Here, he gives up a three-pointer that he could’ve easily jacked up himself to find Jeffrey Taylor in the corner for a three-point attempt:

It’s a miss but love the unselfishness.

Some other miscellaneous plays, here’s a nice bounce-pass from Dončić to a cutting Taylor for a big dunk:

Later in the third quarter, Dončić fires a nice baseball pass inside to Reyes, who finds Jaycee Carroll in the corner for three:

Great pass inside by Dončić and general ball movement.

It wasn’t all perfect though.

Dončić had three turnovers in this game — he got a little too fancy at times in this game and sometimes this resulted in passes that either turned-over or were difficult for teammates to handle.

Here’s an example… In transition, Dončić gets a little too fancy with a behind-the-back pass to Jeffrey Taylor, who has to work to control the pass and has to pass it off:


Not a lot to talk about here: Dončić really wasn’t tested much in this game at all.

As is the norm it seems, there are good and bad moments from Dončić defensively. Let’s start with the good.

Thought he moved pretty well on this defensive sequence:

Dončić also came up with two blocks in this game, here was one to end the first half:

Moving onto the ‘not-so-good’ stuff…

You’d like to see a little more effort here in transition off of a turnover:

That play was not lost at the rim but Dončić kind of just gave up. Incredible miss…

Again, you’d like to see a little more resistance, coming off of another team turnover in this possession:

Just like to see a little more effort and a little more resistance…

Of course, we had the seemingly gamely staple where Dončić just doesn’t contest a shot:

Wouldn’t be a Dončić game without that…

In closing vs. Malaga…

The boxscore won’t wow you (he didn’t need to score 24 in this game, the game was just that comfortable) but it was a dominating display by Dončić offensively. He picked his spots well and got others involved, waiting until the third quarter to do the majority of his own scoring. Great success off of the penetration, easily getting to the rim time after time.

Constantly moved the ball and got others involved. It’d be easy for someone as good as Dončić is to try to takeover and freeze out his teammates but he just doesn’t: selfless player.

Defensively, nothing massive that would’ve cost his team the game but obviously a few things to work on.

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