PDA

View Full Version : 5/14 ESPN Insider (Top 15 Internationals in Draft)


OutletPass
05-14-2003, 12:14 PM
Top 15 international NBA prospects
Chad Ford
NBA Insider

NBA scouts claim that this year's crop of international players may end up dominating the lottery and the early part of the first round of the 2003 draft. Currently, Insider is projecting as many as 13 international players could be selected in the first round this year.

NBA Insider Chad Ford has already traveled to Germany, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Spain, Italy and France along with NBA international scouting guru Tony Ronzone to get a first-hand look at 13 top international prospects: Darko Milicic, Mickael Pietrus, Florent Pietrus, Boris Diaw, Pavel Podkolzin, Anderson Varejao, Maciej Lampe, Zarko Carbakapa, Alexsandar Pavlovic, Victor Khryapa, Zoran Planinic, Kresmir Loncar and Slavko Vranjes.

After returing from the Euroleague Final Four, here's Ford's latest take on the guys teams are buzzing about:

1. Darko Milicic, PF/C, Yugoslavia
The line: 7-0, 245, 17 years old
The skinny: He struggled two weeks ago in front a packed house of NBA talent scouts in Greece. It won't matter. Darko has the luxury of being one of the best scouted international players ever. Most teams have a great feel for what he can do. Like Dirk Nowitzki, he has the full complement of skills. He can handle, shoot the 3 and play in the paint. Unlike Nowitzki, he's tough as nails. A strong defender who gets aggressive in the post. He's going to be a top-three pick in this year's draft.

2. Mickael Pietrus, SG, France
The line: 6-6, 210, 20 years old
The skinny: Pietrus has been working on his jumper since we saw him in December. Some teams felt that was his only weakness. Actually, his ability to shoot the 3 consistently is really one of his strengths. He's got a great stroke. Pietrus has a very American game. He loves to take it to the basket and use his athleticism and leaping ability to fly past his opponents. He's also a superb defender. He's aggressive on both ends of the court. He's very strong for his size. Think a mixture of Desmond Mason and Ray Allen. The Bulls have already been making numerous inquiries. He could go as high as No.7. I doubt he slips past the Grizzlies at No. 13.

3. Maciej Lampe, F, Poland
The line: 7-0, 255, 18 years old
The skinny: Lampe was getting mixed reviews before we finally tracked him down in Menorca, Spain last week. He was huge. With the team's center and MVP, Jaime Peterson, out of the game, Lampe went off for 27 points and nine boards in just over 23 minutes. Lampe's combination of size, shooting touch, ball-handling skills and an advanced inside-outside games have drawn comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki. His shooting stroke is one of the smoothest I've ever seen in a big kid. He's got a nice body, has a very fluid game, and despite reports to the contrary, looked very good with his back to the basket. He's needs to become a better rebounder, defender and get stronger, but he's probably secured a place in the lottery. Look for the Bucks and Sonics to give him a long look.

4. Pavel Podkolzin, C, Russia
The line: 7-4, 300, 18 years old
The skinny: He's going to be the toughest kid in the draft to get an accurate read on. I saw him practice in Verase, Italy last Monday. He'd be the biggest guy in the NBA (height and weight) since Shaquille O'Neal. He's just huge. His best attribute is his athleticism for someone that size. He's not a lumbering center by any means. He runs the floor well, has a pretty good handle and can really shoot the ball. The problem is he's very raw. He doesn't know how to take advantage of his size in the post, is just an adequate defender and lacks game smarts. That's understandable because of his age and lack of experience. It will probably take three years for him to be a contributor in the NBA. Major buyout issues with the team (right now they're asking for a boat load of cash) may also sink his chances at getting drafted in the lottery. But at the end of the day, don't be shocked if a team takes the chance on him in the late lottery. His upside is second only to LeBron, Darko and Carmelo.

5. Boris Diaw, SG, France
The line: 6-9, 220, 21 years old
The skinny: A big-time prospect who's been overshadowed by the emergence of Pietrus. I finally caught up with him in practice on Monday. He's very smooth and one of the best passers I've seen in the draft. He has a real point guard mentality and is very unselfish. He has a nice body and is a good athlete. Diaw is more skilled than Pietrus, but Pietrus is the better athlete and scorer. The only question with Diaw is aggressiveness. He can be too passive at times. Some scouts believe that will change when Diaw gets out of the system he's playing in and gets more familiar with the NBA. The comparisons to Scottie Pippen aren't too far off, but I doubt he'll ever average more than 12 to 15 ppg in the league. He's probably a mid-first-rounder. Phoenix (at No. 17) and Utah (at No. 19) both have interest.

6. Leandrinho Barbosa, PG, Brazil
The line: 6-4, 185, 21 years old
The skinny: How quickly can Barbosa learn English? That's the biggest question in most scout's minds. One Western Conference coach told me he loves Barbosa, but he's afraid to draft him early because of the language barrier. Your point guard must be able to communicate with the coach and his teammates. His agent has him in English lessons for two hours a day; he better make it four. Barbosa is considered the best player in Brazil. He's very long and an explosive athlete. The thing that has scouts buzzing is the speed at which Barbosa plays for someone his size. He's constantly attacking the basket on offense, and aggressively harassing his man on defense. With his long arms (6-foot-10 wingspan) he gets an unusual amount of steals and blocks for a point guard. Only a few teams have actually been to Brazil to see Barbosa play. He averaged 29.6 ppg, 7.8 apg, 4.2 rpg, 2.6 spg and 0.8 bpg while shooting 57 percent from the field, 47 percent from beyond the arc and 85 percent from the free-throw line. Several NBA scouts who have seen him feel that he could move his way into the late lottery with strong workouts.

7. Alexsandar Pavlovic, SG/SF, Yugoslavia
The line: 6-7, 210, 20 years old
The skinny: Pavlovic is a 6-foot-7 athletic swingman who some scouts are comparing to Peja Stojakovic. While scouts say that he struggles as a defender and doesn't have a great long-range game, other teams feel he could be a kid who could come in and make an impact in year one. The rumor is that he already has a promise between 14 and 19.

8. Anderson Varejao, PF, Brazil
The line: 6-10, 230, 20 years old
The skinny: He's slipping. Few teams have a good handle on him and his play at the Euroleague Final 4 didn't help him. If you're an optimist, you say that the fact that he got playing time in two key games is evidence that he's a legit player. If you're a pessimist, you look at the stat line and ask, what's the big deal? Teams get excited about his rebounding, shot blocking and aggressive play. Others claim he's a tweener. He's not physical enough to thrive in the post in the NBA, and his game isn't developed enough on the offensive end to play small forward. If he could work out with teams, he'd probably move back into the lottery. But because of Barcelona's playoff schedule, he won't be able to go through private workouts. That's likely to push him out of the lottery and into the mid-to-late first round.

9. Zaur Pachulia, PF/C, Georgia
The line: 6-11, 250, 19 years old
The skinny: A former teammate of Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Pachulia is more of a classic low-post banger. He's strong, likes to mix it up down low and is an excellent rebounder. Pachulia actually threw his name into the draft last season and wowed several teams, including the Pacers. He was considered a late-first-round pick last year. Pachulia's agent felt that he'd be better off waiting a year to get Pachulia more exposure. After a slow season in Turkey playing behind the Euroleague MVP, Joe Blair, Pachulia finally got his chance a month ago when Blair went down with an injury. He responded with 26 points on 10 of 13 shooting and added eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in a huge win over defending Euroleague champ Panathinaikos. The game wasn't a fluke. He followed it up with a 13-point, 17-rebound performance against Skipper Bologna. He's probably a late-first-rounder.

10. Sofaklis Schortsianides, C, Greece
The line: 6-10, 287, 17 years old
The skinny: Nicknamed Baby Shaq by his teammates in Greece, he's very strong and capable of playing with his back to the basket. His stock has dropped lately as teams question his size. His agent, Marc Fleisher, claims that he was recently measured at 6-10, 287 with shoes. Will that stop the slippage? It's tough to call. The international field is getting more crowded by the day and Sofaklis' skills aren't that unique. He's a big bruiser in the paint. But after watching some tape on him, I'm not sure what he does that Michael Sweetney and Mario Austin don't do better. There's only so much demand for physical, undersized power forwards in the league. Workouts will be big for him. If he projects to be like Elton Brand, he'll move way up this chart. If he's closer to Danny Fortson, then the mid-to-late first round is just about right.

11. Victor Khryapa, SF, Russia
The line: 6-9, 200, 20 years old
The skinny: Helped himself tremendously at the Euroleague Final 4. His defense on Dejan Bodiroga (the Euroleague Final 4 MVP) was impressive. He's very long and an excellent rebounder and shot blocker. Khryapa gets a lot of comparisons to Andrei Kirilenko. Both players are long and mutli-dimensional. Khryapa's a good shooter with NBA 3 range. However, he's not quite the athlete that Kirilenko is nor is he quite as polished as his European counterparts. He also has to get stronger to compete at the next level and won't be able to come to the NBA this year because of contract issues. That's a minus for some teams and a big plus for others. With all that said, most teams still consider him a great prospect. He'll likely be a late-first-rounder.

12. Carlos Delfino, SG/SF, Argentina
The line: 6-7, 215, 21 years old
The skinny: Several teams like Delfino, but a serious ankle injury a month ago really hurt his stock. I had planned to go to Bologna to see Delfino play, but his ankle still was still hurting. His agent, David Bauman, claims that there was no ligament damage and plans to bring him to the U.S. for private workouts. He'll have to prove that there isn't any reoccurring problems with the ankle. Teams love his toughness, shooting ability and how he can get to the basket. Can he slip into the first round? He has the talent, but his workouts will be key.

13. Zarko Carbakapa, PF, Yugoslavia
The line: 6-11, 230, 22 years old
The skinny: NBA scouts were out in force last week to get a better look at Carbakapa. He's another versatile athlete who plays three positions in Europe. He's an excellent outside shooter. He just needs to get stronger. Teams are also concerned that he's a little one dimensional. He's not nearly as comfortable putting the ball on the floor and taking it to the hole. He's represented by super agent Bill Duffy, which won't hurt his stock come draft day. Given a string of recent strong performances, it's not out of the question that Carbakapa could be the 13th international player selected in the first round this year.

14. Zoran Planinic, PG/SG, Croatia
The line: 6-6, 215, 20 years old
The skinny: Gets a lot of comparisons to Jiri Welsch. He plays both guard positions, but his NBA future is at the point. Unlike Welsch, he's more of a one than two. An early season injury really wrecked his season. He never really rebounded and his stock has really dropped. But, remember, teams will always take a risk on a 6-6 point guard. Should be an early second rounder.

15. Malick Badiane, PF/C, Senegal
The line: 6-11, 225, 19 years old
The skinny: Badiane, a native of Senegal, has long arms (7-foot-4 wing span) and a solid NBA body. He already has the shot blocking and rebounding down, but scouts say he's very raw (think Olumide Oyedeji) on the offensive end. But unlike Oyedeji, he's bigger, stronger, more athletic and has decent pro instincts. NBA scouts think he's probably a second-rounder, but don't be surprised if Dallas takes a look at him with the last pick of the first round.

Others to watch: Slavko Vranes, C, Yugoslavia; Kristaps Voltars, PG, Latvia; Paccelis Morlende, PG, France; Alexsandar Vujacic, PG/SG, Slovenia; Boyko Mladenov, PF, Bulgaria; Szymon Szewczyk, PF, Poland; Blagota Sekulic, SF, Yugoslavia; Florent Pietrus, SF/PF, France; Mican Nikabase, PG, Germany

LRB
05-14-2003, 12:45 PM
Thanks for the article OP. Good stuff.

ariosto
05-14-2003, 01:07 PM
Great article, thanks. A lot of these guys deserve a close look from the Mavs.

I was surprised by that Sofoklis stock is dropping:



<< 10. Sofaklis Schortsianides, C, Greece
The line: 6-10, 287, 17 years old
The skinny: Nicknamed Baby Shaq by his teammates in Greece, he's very strong and capable of playing with his back to the basket. His stock has dropped lately as teams question his size. His agent, Marc Fleisher, claims that he was recently measured at 6-10, 287 with shoes. Will that stop the slippage? It's tough to call. The international field is getting more crowded by the day and Sofaklis' skills aren't that unique. He's a big bruiser in the paint. But after watching some tape on him, I'm not sure what he does that Michael Sweetney and Mario Austin don't do better. There's only so much demand for physical, undersized power forwards in the league. Workouts will be big for him. If he projects to be like Elton Brand, he'll move way up this chart. If he's closer to Danny Fortson, then the mid-to-late first round is just about right. >>



It's surprising that people are down on him because of comparisons to Sweetney and Austin, who are college juniors. Sofoklis might not have their game yet, but he's only 17 years old. Seems unfair to compare a high-school age guy to guys with 3 years of NCAA experience. If he drops our way, I think we should take him.

Evilmav2
05-14-2003, 03:39 PM
Thanks Outlet, this stuff is gold/

Julius
05-15-2003, 03:45 AM
Oh yeah, a Misan Nikagbatse sighting!!!
Hope he gets drafted by a team that can develop a young and promising PG/SG!
Sadly it wont be the mavsi/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif.
Atleast i maybe get an other team to follow.

seelenjaeger
05-15-2003, 06:40 AM
Symon Szewcik looks great in german league.

MavKikiNYC
05-15-2003, 07:44 AM
<< Unlike Nowitzki, he's tough as nails. A strong defender who gets aggressive in the post. >>




HEEEYYY!......

Drbio
05-15-2003, 10:14 AM
I like the Delfino guy. He's a player.

Chicago JK
05-15-2003, 04:12 PM
thanks I really appreciate the updates. I think Ford jumps to conclusions after seeing a player once, but it is interesting to hear these names before the draft. You know 4-5 of these guys stock will rise very high before the draft.

Did you see this guys' profile. A 6'4 point guard with a 6'10 wingspan.....excuse me!!! that is pretty impressive.

Leandrinho Barbosa, PG, Brazil
The line: 6-4, 185, 21 years old
The skinny: How quickly can Barbosa learn English? That's the biggest question in most scout's minds. One Western Conference coach told me he loves Barbosa, but he's afraid to draft him early because of the language barrier. Your point guard must be able to communicate with the coach and his teammates. His agent has him in English lessons for two hours a day; he better make it four. Barbosa is considered the best player in Brazil. He's very long and an explosive athlete. The thing that has scouts buzzing is the speed at which Barbosa plays for someone his size. He's constantly attacking the basket on offense, and aggressively harassing his man on defense. With his long arms (6-foot-10 wingspan) he gets an unusual amount of steals and blocks for a point guard. Only a few teams have actually been to Brazil to see Barbosa play. He averaged 29.6 ppg, 7.8 apg, 4.2 rpg, 2.6 spg and 0.8 bpg while shooting 57 percent from the field, 47 percent from beyond the arc and 85 percent from the free-throw line. Several NBA scouts who have seen him feel that he could move his way into the late lottery with strong workouts.

signoftimes
05-15-2003, 04:21 PM
6'4 with 6'10 wingspan, Sounds like a smaller Leon Smith. Didn't he hav the 7'6 wingspan at 6'10?

LRB
05-15-2003, 04:29 PM
Hopefully that's the only thing like Leon Smith.

OutletPass
05-16-2003, 01:55 PM
I, for one, want to trade up this year. Anywhere in the top 12 will do...and we give up ________....(you fill in the blanks...our #1 and who ? (can you say Raef)

Of course, Nellie won't play the pick...

unless he reads this board.

or gets &quot;moved up&quot; to GM.

LRB
05-16-2003, 02:15 PM
OP would we really be giving up anything with Raef? i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

OutletPass
05-19-2003, 11:51 AM
LRB...Getting Rid of Raef's silly contract would help....but we may only have to move up just a bit...

This guy is intriguing and the move wouldn't cost us TOO much.

9. Zaur Pachulia, PF/C, Georgia
The line: 6-11, 250, 19 years old
The skinny: A former teammate of Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Pachulia is more of a classic low-post banger. He's strong, likes to mix it up down low and is an excellent rebounder. Pachulia actually threw his name into the draft last season and wowed several teams, including the Pacers. He was considered a late-first-round pick last year. Pachulia's agent felt that he'd be better off waiting a year to get Pachulia more exposure. After a slow season in Turkey playing behind the Euroleague MVP, Joe Blair, Pachulia finally got his chance a month ago when Blair went down with an injury. He responded with 26 points on 10 of 13 shooting and added eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in a huge win over defending Euroleague champ Panathinaikos. The game wasn't a fluke. He followed it up with a 13-point, 17-rebound performance against Skipper Bologna. He's probably a late-first-rounder.

Maybe NP or some of our internationals could give us some more info on him....

LRB
05-19-2003, 12:04 PM
You've got me convinced OP. Raef can play great at times, but has yet to show anything near consistentcy. I'm more than willing to take an educated gamble.