1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

Fran Fraschilla's take on the top European players

Discussion in 'NBA Draft' started by arif1127, May 5, 2011.

  1. arif1127

    arif1127 Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2002
    Messages:
    1,585
    Likes Received:
    89
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/blog?name=nba_draft&id=6478537

    -not much new info, but just another voice to listen to. Again, I'd love Kanter, Biyombo, or Vesely.

    Last year, at the 2010 NBA draft, I felt like the guy in the old Maytag repairman commercials. There wasn't much need for me to be around on ESPN's draft coverage because it was a quiet night for drafting international players, as only one went in the first round.

    Most of the best international prospects decided to eschew the opportunity to stay in the draft in the hopes that they would continue to gain experience playing in Europe and improve their stock. And with many top college freshmen deciding to return for their sophomore seasons next year, many of those international players did help themselves.

    If everything goes according to form, this draft could have the most international players selected in the first round since eight were selected in 2003. Here are some names you need to know:


    1. Enes Kanter, 6-foot-10, Turkey
    Although college basketball fans didn't get to see Kanter play at Kentucky, he has been a high-level prospect for the past three years in Europe, where he dominated the junior level. And while he hasn't played in an organized game since last year's Hoop Summit, he may be the most NBA-ready international prospect.

    In fact, last year in Portland, Kanter scored a Hoop Summit record 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against a USA front line that included Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, North Carolina's Harrison Barnes and Kentucky's Terrence Jones.

    Kanter, who turns 19 on May 20, is a power forward who invites contact around the basket, is a sneaky-quick jumper, has a nice shooting touch out to the college 3-point line and has an agility and footwork that belie his 262-pound frame. Had he played college basketball this year, he would have had the same impact on John Calipari's Wildcats team that Sullinger had for the Buckeyes.

    While it's tough to draft a player like Kanter with the first pick because he didn't build up a résumé this season, an NBA team that doesn't need a point guard like Kyrie Irving, will give the young Turkish player a long look. He's currently working out in Chicago with famed NBA skills guru Tim Grover.

    2. Jan Vesely, 6-11, Czech Republic
    I first saw Vesely at the Reebok Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy, as a 16-year-old in 2007 and he spent the four days there as a relatively nondescript young big man. But I do remember camp director and Minnesota Timberwolves director of international scouting Pete Philo told me at the time that Vesely might be the best international prospect born in 1990, a group that includes Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio. Philo might be right.

    Vesely is easily one of the best athletes in this draft and I'll predict he wins an NBA dunk contest someday. In fact, the youngster, who plays for Partizan Belgrade, is a clone of former NBA star Tom Chambers. (Check Chambers and Vesely out on YouTube.) He plays with good energy, runs the floor well and moves great without the basketball. In addition, his easiest adjustment should be at the defensive end because he can guard both NBA small forwards and most NBA power forwards.

    Offensively, Vesely is more comfortable at power forward because of his below-average ballhandling skills and an inconsistent jump shot. Ultimately, Vesely should find himself selected among the first eight picks, in part, because of his NBA-level athleticism.

    3. Jonas Valanciunas, 7-foot, Lithuania
    While Kanter and Vesely may be more ready to play in an NBA game right now, many feel that Valanciunas is the best long-term international prospect in this draft. The big Lithuanian has been, like Kanter, a star on the European junior circuit and was the European Under-16 MVP in the summer of 2008 when NBA teams first started tracking him.

    Valanciunas will turn 19 years old on Friday and his combination of size, agility and athleticism make him very enticing for a team willing to wait for him to physically mature. Conversely, with this perceived to be a weak draft compared to next year, he may find himself drafted higher this season while he stays in Europe to develop, especially with a lockout looming.

    Like most young big men his age and lack of strength is a concern, and he does not have a developed low-post game to rely on. Yet he shows signs of developing a nice jump hook and he is an active offensive rebounder. If he stays in this draft, he'll be selected in the mid-to-late lottery.

    4. Donatas Motiejunas, 7-foot, Lithuania
    Motiejunas is another promising big man who could be drafted by the end of the lottery. Although not as athletic as Valanciunas and Vesely, nor as physically strong as Kanter, he's becoming a polished post player who will turn 21 in September.

    Although Motiejunas is in the midst of a very productive season at Benetton Treviso in the Italian Lega A, there are aspects of his game I am not in love with. He must learn to play through contact in the low post and develop better body balance around the basket. In addition, he must improve his passing ability and his basketball instincts are average.

    On the plus side, Motiejunas is a good midrange shooter who can play in a screen-and-roll system. He uses both hands around the basket, as well.

    Although Motiejunas could be an effective rotation player for an NBA team in time, I don't see his ceiling being as high as the other three Europeans who could go in the lottery. His game experience, however, in Europe will get him on an NBA floor as soon as any international player in this draft.

    5. Bismack Biyombo, 6-9, Congo
    Don't let anyone tell you that there are no longer any secrets when it comes to international NBA prospects. I guarantee you that no more than three NBA teams knew the name Biyombo before January of this year. Now, some scouts consider the young big man from the Congo a potential lottery selection.

    Biyombo arrived in Spain only 21 months ago and was playing in the farm system of ACB club Fuenlabrada when he was called up to the main team midway through the season. Because of his NBA-ready strength, athleticism and a 7-7 wingspan, he was an instant contributor as an 18-year-old. (Although there are some questions about his true age.) And after playing in last month's Nike Hoop Summit, Biyombo recorded a triple-double and displayed ridiculous athleticism, assuring himself a spot in the first round.

    Biyombo is a Ben Wallace-type player who, while a defensive presence, has a very, very limited offensive arsenal. He has no go-to moves at all, is a poor passer out of double-teams and has limited basketball acumen because of his lack of game experience. And, unlike fellow countryman and budding NBA star Serge Ibaka, he doesn't have any face-up game at all. Ibaka always had good shooting form but only recently has showcased it for the Thunder.

    It likely won't matter how raw Biyombo's offensive game currently is, as there are few in this particular draft who can affect the game on the defensive end with shot-blocking and rebounding like he can.

    6. Bojan Bogdanovic, 6-8, Croatia
    Bogdanovic is 22 years old, so it's understandable that he plays with the type of maturity of someone with a lot of high-level playing experience.

    I got to see Bogdanovic play again last summer at the FIBA World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, where he averaged 12 points a game and scored 17 against Team USA, knocking down five 3-point shots. Along with his shooting prowess, he is a deceptive athlete and takes the ball to the basket with toughness. In fact, his size and skill level reminds me of former NBA small forward Matt Harpring.

    Bogdanovic is already one of the best young players in Europe and an NBA team would have to gauge his interest in coming to the United States. If he is serious, he could be an excellent pick in the backside of the first round for a team looking for a solid rotation player, in time.

    7. Nikola Mirotic, 6-10, Montenegro
    Writing about Mirotic may be academic because, although he has declared as an early entry for the draft, he has just signed a long-term deal with Real Madrid, extending his contract with the Spanish team until 2016. In addition, he was recently selected as the Euroleague's 2011 Rising Star as the league's best young prospect.

    Mirotic is the classic European stretch power forward who is very comfortable playing both inside and out. The 20-year-old plays with toughness above what you see at the college basketball level and is a very skilled offensive player.

    It is not likely that an NBA team would waste a first-round selection on Mirotic without an assurance that he could buy his way out of his current contract, but he is certainly worth a second-round pick in order to secure his NBA rights in the future.

    8. Lucas Nogueira, 7-0, Brazil
    Nogueira is an intriguing prospect who burst onto the scene last summer at the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championships in San Antonio. In fact, when I walked into the arena at Bill Greehey Arena to see him for the first time, I was stunned to see such a young player with his size and length. He has the perfect shot-blocking basketball body.

    Although Brazil lost in the finals to Team USA, he had 22 points and 14 rebounds and finished the entire tournament with 27 blocked shots and made a name for himself in front of the numerous NBA scouts.

    Although armed with his crazy length and terrific athleticism, Nogueira is nowhere near physically ready to play in the NBA. And, like Biyombo, his defensive skills are far ahead of his offensive game. Two years from now, Nogueira may very well be a lottery pick but if he stays in this draft, he will be drafted on purely potential from the middle to the end of the first round.

    9. Davis Bertans, 6-10, Latvia
    Nike Hoop Summit director Rich Sheubrooks was prescient enough to select the unsung Bertans for the game in Portland and the 18-year-old Latvian will earn a spot in the first round if he stays in this draft.

    In both the workouts and in the Hoop Summit game, Bertans showed an outstanding shooting touch out to the NBA 3-point line because he has terrific lower body strength. And, in addition to his shooting, he can put the ball on the floor well for his size. Gaining upper-body strength will be his biggest obstacle, but he has plenty of time to make that happen.

    Bertans was impressive enough last summer in the European Under-18 Championships to sign a professional contract with Union Olimpijca, the same team that developed current NBA guard Goran Dragic. And NBA European scouts took notice, as well. While he is not ready to play key minutes for a quality NBA team, enough decision-makers saw him do some things in Portland to make him a very promising prospect for a team willing to wait a while.

    10. Leon Radosevic, 6-10, Croatia
    Who? Radosevic is a teammate of Bojan Bogdanovic at Cibona who has averaged impressive numbers in the Euroleague this past season without an effective low-post game.

    He averaged almost 13 points and six rebounds, based on his ability to run the floor, score in the pick-and-roll game and knock down a midrange jump shot. In addition, although his young team struggled in Euroleague, he plays with the intensity of a winner.

    Radosevic's lack of physicality in the paint would render him ineffective, at the moment, in the NBA. But if he stays in this draft, he's your classic early second-round steal in terms of simply owning his rights. With maturity, the 21-year-old will develop into a high-energy power forward who may, one day, be able to stretch a defense with his jump shot.
     
    #1 arif1127, May 5, 2011
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
    1 person likes this.
  2. OkayAyeReloaded

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3,676
    Likes Received:
    4,898
    Great article, thanks for posting this.

    I never thought about the Tom Chambers comparison with Jan Vesely, there are a lot of similarities between them athletically and dunk wise.


    (is there a link as well?)
     
  3. arif1127

    arif1127 Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2002
    Messages:
    1,585
    Likes Received:
    89
    sorry, added to the 1st post.
     
  4. RudyTBag

    RudyTBag Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    28,083
    Likes Received:
    21,289
    In before OHHMMMS...
     
  5. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Canceled
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    19,692
    Likes Received:
    10,159
    As am I
     
  6. roslolian

    roslolian Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Messages:
    24,424
    Likes Received:
    14,696
    Ditto. I'm already expecting his "These guys are all crap! Team X in Zugoslavia has ball boys better than these dudes" rant.
     
  7. HMMMHMM

    HMMMHMM Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    Messages:
    4,031
    Likes Received:
    597
    OHHMMMS, what do you about Nikola Mirotic?

    I haven't watched him a ton.
    I like his game, from what I've seen, but question how it's going to translate to the NBA.

    If Fraschilla is right, Mirotic might be there at #38.
     
  8. OHMSS

    OHMSS Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    33
    Mirotic is good. he would be an absolute steal at #38. But he has said numerous times he want nothing to do with the NBA. That is pretty much the norm now for most European players. Most of them want nothing to do with the NBA anymore after so many European players were forced to sit on the bench in the NBA.

    He would be a great pick, but he won't come to the NBA.
     
  9. OHMSS

    OHMSS Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    33
    I have actually seen these players play. The rest of the forum bases everything on draftexpress.com (the same site that claimed Fernandez was the next Manu and Rubio the next Maravich).........they seriously lack credibility especially since they are Americans and barely even see any European games at all.

    Anyway, there are plenty of other European prospects that Fraschilla did not even mention. Besides that, there is no hype at all for Bogdanovich and he is a way better player than Biyombo, Valanciunas, and Motiejunas right now.

    But NBA fans will just take these rankings as gospel.

    And all you get in response is "but NBA scouts base it on how the games translate to the NBA". No they don't. They base it on a severe lack of knowledge about the players, which is why there are so many draft picks that are busts.

    He generally has most of the good prospects listed, but there are others he did not mention.


    Andrew Albicy
    Antoine Diot
    Nikos Pappas
    Kostas Sloukas
    Kostas Papanikolaou
    Pablo Aguilar
    Vangelis Mantzaris
    Georgi Shermadini
    Milan Macvan
    Robin Benzing
    Nihad Djedovic
    Tomislav Zubicic
    Vladimir Jankovic
    Tomas Satoransky
    Linos Chrysikopoulos
    Rafa Friere


    Albicy is basically the level of Avery Johnson. Shermadini is better than Valanciunas and Motiejunas for example. Freire is one of the best point guard prospects in all of Europe. Pappas has been the best player in Europe at under 18, under 19, and under 20 stages. Macvan, Papanikolaou, Sloukas, Manztaris have played in good leagues already.

    Benzing has already been good with the German national team.

    Macvan, Dejdovic, Satoransky, etc. All very good players. Djedovic is an excellent shooting guard for instance.

    Chrysikopoulos can is a 6-9, 6-10 point guard, etc.

    Not all of these guys have declared so I understand that. But there are many guys out there. All of them can play in the NBA.

    Shermadini whould be in the draft automatically and he is better than Valanciunas and Motiejunas are. So again, don't take this Fraschilla and draftcexpress.com stuff as gospel when you have seen none of these guys play in your entire life.

    NBA teams regularly get the draft wrong - that is the norm, because frankly, they barely scout any of these players and it really shows.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. gah

    gah Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,474
    Likes Received:
    142
    It seems like a good year to solve the ¨too-many-picks¨ problem.
     
  11. Ricksmith

    Ricksmith Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,299
    Likes Received:
    613
    Thank you for not ranting on about Jan Vesely with this post. Good stuff. I looked up Giorgi Shermadini, and I see he went undrafted in 2008 (wikipedia). Maybe the Rockets should invite this guy to workout for them, or join their summer league team, if there is a summer league this year. He is listed at 7'1'' and 265 lbs.

    Excerpt from wikipedia:
    And I don't know anything about the Georgian League, but this guy beasted on both the youth team, and regular league team.

    Whether that Georgian league is a crap league or not, the man put up nba2k numbers. What can you tell us about the Georgian League, or the team he plays for OHMSS?
     
  12. coachbadlee

    coachbadlee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    28,037
    Likes Received:
    8,550
    Not saying i don't like international players, i just don't like having to wait years for them to play in the US. Too many American players ready now for that.
     
  13. Croatian Sensation

    Croatian Sensation I'd rather be a forest than a street

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    831
    Likes Received:
    495
    Shermadini plays for Union Olimpija of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

    Well, again, I watched these players probably ten times more than you have and I have to say that you are dead wrong. Again.

    BTW, Shermadini is maybe better than Motiejunas. And that's just because I don't like Donatas at all.
     
  14. arif1127

    arif1127 Contributing Member
    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2002
    Messages:
    1,585
    Likes Received:
    89
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. OHMSS

    OHMSS Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    33
    10 times? really? I've watched them way more than that. Bogdanovic is already a very very good player. Biyombo and Valanciunas are nothing more than projects.

    Biyombo is athletic and can defend and rebound but he has zero skills and zero offense.

    Valanciunas is big and he has nice rebounding ability and he could be a really god player. But as of now he is a horrible defensive player and he cannot handle playing against the big men in the Euroleague. They just push him around like he is a little kid. He is a project.

    Bogdanovic could step right in and play for the Rockets right now. He isn't a 4-5 year project.
     
  16. OHMSS

    OHMSS Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    33
    The Georgian League is considered an amateur league in Europe, it is not a professional, nor even a semi-pro league. In Europe with the domestic leagues, you have amateur leagues like the one in Georgia, then some are like semi-pro level (Portugal, UK, Switzerland, Austria) leagues like that.....

    then you have pro ones like Israel (they count under European system), Germany, France - such leagues like that, which are pro level but not considered good in Europe. They are better than the D-League but low level for Europe.

    Then you have the ones like Russia, Turkey, Italy (used to be top level but not now), about mid level. Then the good ones like Spain and Greece, which are the best, along with the regional leagues VTB United and ABA of old Yugoslav states.

    Those leagues are probably better even that the Eurocup, which is the second best European-wide league. Shermadini has played in Greek League, ABA (Adriatic) and also in Euroleague, which is the best league in Europe (better than the Spanish League).

    Shermadini has been in a big club in Euroleague in PAO and also in Olimpija. So I would base his ability on that and not so much the play in Georgia. Although he was a terror at the youth level there. I think he was scoring 60-90 points a game at one point.

    It is the same youth level where Pachulia played and I can assure you that he never came close to being the player Shermadini was. Shermadini is the biggest talent that has come through Georgia by far. It is just that NBA teams don't like Georgian players now because they were stupid when they drafted Skita.

    Anyway, Shermadini needs to add weight. He gets pushed around in the post and he struggles against that in Euroleague because the centers there are so big and strong. He is out muscled by those guys, as almost all young players are at that level.

    But he can gain more strength and he has all the tools. The guy is big (7-1) and he can shoot and he has a post game and he is also athletic. He is definitely more talented than Motiejunas and Valanciunas are. And he is an actual center (what the Rockets need) and not a PF, which is what the other two are.

    He is better than Motiejunas to me and he is only a couple years away from being really a good player, whereas Valanciunas is probably 4-5 years away. Shermadini is a really talented player, for at 7-1 he can run the floor, he is mobile, he is athletic, he can shoot really well and he has a post game already. And when he goes at the basket he attacks it hard with big dunks. He does not go up soft, he looks to ran it down in people's faces.

    The guy is a big time prospect and so Fraschilla does not even mention him, which like I say, is typical. A lot of the American scouts and coaches know nothing about any European players other than the guys that came to their camps.
     
  17. coachbadlee

    coachbadlee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    28,037
    Likes Received:
    8,550
    If Shermadini gets pushed around in the Euroleague, he would get beat up in the NBA. Too lanky. Good shooter though. I say he needs 2-3 more years of play before he becomes a serious contributor.
     
  18. Croatian Sensation

    Croatian Sensation I'd rather be a forest than a street

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    831
    Likes Received:
    495
    I said I watched him 10 times MORE than you have. I'm Croatian and I watched almost every Cibona's game in the last decade (although I despise them, they're a bitter rival of my hometown club, Zadar).

    Bogdanović is slow and doesn't play defense. He can get on fire on offense but he's still inconsistent (if his first couple of shots don't fall, he'll struggle all game long). Bojan was hugely affected by Cibona's head coaches (after Perasović left, every coach was utterly bad) and by the financial crisis (he didn't receive a paycheck for 5 months).
    In my opinion, he needs to improve mentally and be a high energy player if he wants to make an impact in the NBA.
     
  19. OHMSS

    OHMSS Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    33
    The Euroleague is a lot more physical than the NBA is. Yes, he needs to improve in that area, get stronger, and gain weight. But the NBA is a lot less physical than the Euroleague, so it would actually be less of an issue in the NBA for him.
     
  20. OHMSS

    OHMSS Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    33
    I would not argue with any of that and his defense sure isn't Tomas or anything. I'm not saying that. But he has good size for a guy that could be used as a SG, he can shoot the 3 well, he is athletic, and he can finish around the rim.

    If he was an NCAA player there would be huge hype around him, because he would have torn the NCAA literally to shreds. Sorry, but Biyombo can hang it on high school kids from the USA at the Nike Hoops Summit. Bojan can put it on the senior Team USA. I'm not saying one or the other is going to be better or is a better pick, but certainly without any question at all, Bojan is better right now. Do you really think that clubs like Panathinaikos, Olympiacos and Fener would have so much interest if he just another player? I don't think so. Greece and Turkey are loaded with talented young wing players. But they all wanted Bojan instead.

    I mean he has got to be a bigger talent than Giricek was and Giricek was a starter/6th man for NBA playoff teams for years. Bojan is already better than most of the NBA players that have come to the Euroleague to play. Or do you deny that?
     

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now