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Top 5 International Draft Prospects
Posted By Joel Brigham On September 4, 2012 @ 12:00 pm In All,NBA Draft | No Comments
It’s easy for us to watch college basketball here in the U.S. and decide which players are headed for the NBA. That’s why we all had a pretty good sense that Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson and Jared Sullinger were headed for the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft.
But what about those talented young players who do their work overseas? It’s just as easy for us to ignore the next Dirk Nowitzki or Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili as it is for us to give props to American busts like Ed O’Bannon or Kerry Kittles; the only difference is exposure, which is the exact reason for this week’s Top 5 list.
The following players are the international prospects most likely headed for a first or second-round picks in the 2013 Draft, ranked in order of where they’re most likely to fall:
#5 – Augusto Cesar Lima, PF, Brazil
While he hasn’t really been given a full-blown opportunity to show what he’s made of as a professional in Spain, Lima is a great physical specimen. He gets stronger every year and is a fun, athletic big man to watch run the floor. He rebounds well, is a promising defender, and enjoys dunking on a head or two when provided the opportunity. Because of his lack of experience (and consistency when he has been given playing time) he’s not really pegged as a first-round player, but if he continues to develop well over the next several months there’s a strong possibility he gets drafted.
#4 – Nemanja Nedovic, PG, Serbia
There’s a YouTube clip out there that calls Nedovic “The European Derrick Rose,” and while I’m not sure exactly what that is, there’s no question that this spunky little point guard has the athleticism and court vision to succeed on the NBA level. As something of a combo guard, however, Nedovic doesn’t necessarily excel at either position. He’s exciting, but he’s got some work to do. As for an NBA comparison, think more Shannon Brown than D-Rose.
#3 – Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Saric is exactly the kind of swingman teams love to draft because he’s 6’10” but plays like a prototypical small forward. The all-around game here is apparently very decent, meaning he’s good at a little bit of everything, and that’s got some scouts pegging him as a potential first-round talent. He’s got two Nike Hoops Summits under his belt, and he’s done well at both, which makes it easier believe he’s ready for the level of competition he’ll experience in the NBA.
#2 – Alex Abrines, SG, Spain
This smooth Spanish sharp-shooter led his FIBA U18 team to a gold medal this year, and his scoring skills and grace on the court have already earned him comparisons to Rudy Fernandez. He’s another kid slated for the NBA draft’s first round (possibly even the lottery) in 2013, but he’s apparently a really good guy, too. Hard work plus talent usually means success, and it looks like he’ll be given an opportunity to achieve that in the world’s best basketball league in about a year.
#1 – Rudy Gobert, PF/C, France
While it’s still very early in the process, draft experts are already pretty well in agreement that Gobert is a likely lottery pick in 2013. At 6’11” he’s already got NBA height, but it’s his 7’9” wingspan that has scouts drooling. So he’s obviously long, but he’s still got a long ways to go as an NBA big man prospect. He shoots a high percentage, but that’s because most of his scores are on dunks. He could use some offensive polish and apparently is a little foul-prone. But like they say, you can’t teach size, and Gobert has that, length, and athleticism galore, which is why he’s one of the most exciting prospects in Europe right now.
With only one international player getting selected in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, there were some experts claiming that the era of drafting international was over, however there is still plenty of overseas talent available and NBA teams are paying notice. It’s why Minnesota signed Alexey Shved and Chicago drafted Nikola Mirotic.
Some of these players are bound to succeed, and the five listed above are the most likely to do it next June. It will be hard to keep our eyes on them since their games aren’t televised here, but at least we know their names. Maybe in another year or three, everybody will.
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