PDA

View Full Version : ESPN Insider - Rise and Fall of the International Players


OutletPass
06-12-2003, 01:58 PM
Top 15 international NBA prospects
Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Send an Email to Chad Ford Thursday, June 12


Currently, Insider is projecting as many four international players in the lottery and 12 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 Podkolzine, Anderson Varejao, Maciej Lampe, Zarko Carbakapa, Alexsandar Pavlovic, Victor Khryapa, Zoran Planinic, Kresmir Loncar and Slavko Vranjes.

He's also spent extensive time watching Milicic, Podkolzine and Lampe work out in the U.S.

After sifting through information following the Chicago pre-draft camp, here's the latest rankings:

1. Darko Milicic, PF/C, Yugoslavia
The line: 7-1, 253, 17 years old
The skinny: His workout for the Pistons blew Joe Dumars and Co. away. His athleticism, strength, agility and work ethic are all off the charts. Darko's aggressiveness on the court is what really has the Pistons smiling. Unlike most Euros who hop the pond, Milicic won't be pushed around. In fact, come training camp time, he'll probably be pushing back.

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 (higher if the Grizzlies trade up). I doubt he slips past the Grizzlies at No. 13.

3. Pavel Podkolzine, C, Russia
The line: 7-5, 303, 18 years old
The skinny: His workout in Chicago last week blew away GMs who had him pegged as nothing more than a myth. Said one GM after the workout, "I don't believe what I just saw. That's the most potent combination of size, strength and agility I've seen since Shaq." 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. With the buyout issues out of the way, he could go as high as No. 4. His upside is behind only to LeBron, Darko and Carmelo.

4. Maciej Lampe, F, Poland
The line: 7-0, 255, 18 years old
The skinny: Lampe's been in the U.S. for over a week working out with Michael Jordan's trainer, Tim Grover. During a private workout for the Heat and Raptors on Saturday, Lampe showed great range, a nice handle and enough athleticism to make a convincing argument that he should be a lottery pick. 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 now that he's working with Grover, that shouldn't be a problem. He'll go anywhere from No. 7 to the Bulls to No. 13 to the Grizzlies.

5. Alexsandar Pavlovic, SG/SF, Yugoslavia
The line: 6-9, 225, 20 years old
The skinny: Pavlovic is the hottest riser in the draft right now. He's wowed teams at several workouts since he arrived in the U.S. last week. A Nets scout called him "the best shooter in the draft" after a workout on Monday and Boston GM Danny Ainge reportedly fell in love. Pavlovic is a big-time athlete with great hops and speed getting to the basket. The more people see him, the higher he seems to rise. He could go anywhere from No. 13 to Memphis down to No. 19 to the Jazz.

6. Leandrinho Barbosa, PG, Brazil
The line: 6-4, 185, 20 years old
The skinny: Barbosa's had several strong workouts over the past few weeks. Teams are amazed by his speed, explosiveness, lateral quickness and 6-foot-10 wingspan. A couple of issues are holding him back. How quickly can Barbosa learn English? That's the biggest question in most scouts' 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. A few teams are also worried about an unorthodox jump shot. It goes in, but his slow release makes it easier to block. He's considered a one-year project, but he'll probably go anywhere from No. 14 to Seattle down to No. 21 to Atlanta.

7. Boris Diaw, PG/SG/SF, France
The line: 6-9, 220, 21 years old
The skinny: Diaw is slipping just a little bit, based in part because of his inability to come over and work out. He was a big-time prospect who's been overshadowed by the emergence of Pietrus. 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. He'll go anywhere from No. 16 to the Celtics to No. 23 to the Blazers.

8. Anderson Varejao, PF, Brazil
The line: 6-10, 230, 20 years old
The skinny: He's slipping. The lastest word from Chicago was that he was seriously considering pulling his name out of the draft. 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? Now that the Euroleague season is over, Varejao isn't playing at all. 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. Right now he's looking at No. 18 through No. 28. I expect they'll try again next year.

9. Sofoklis Schortsanitis, PF/C, Greece
The line: 6-10, 313, 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. He's pretty athletic and has put up decent numbers for a 17-year-old playing in one of the top leagues in Europe. His stock has dropped lately as teams question his size. Now that he's in the U.S. and working out, a lot of that nonsense will stop. The Grizzlies measured him at 6-foot-10 with shoes (6-8 3/4 without). He has a 7-foot-2 wingspan, which helps him as well. Workouts will be big for him. If he projects to be like Elton Brand, could move as high as No. 14 to the Sonics . He probably won't slip past No. 24 to the Lakers.

10. 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. He's considered an good on the ball defender. 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's probably somewhere between No. 20 to the Celtics and No. 28 to the Spurs.

11. 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. Delfino's team keeps winning in Italy, which means he won't have the chance to come over and work out. Teams love his toughness, shooting ability and how he can get to the basket. Can he slip into the first round? A team late in the first round might take a chance. He could go anywhere from No. 25 to Detroit down to No. 27 to Memphis.

12. 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.

13. Zoran Planinic, PG, Croatia
The line: 6-8, 215, 20 years old
The skinny: Planinic wowed teams like the Nets, Spurs, Sonics and Bucks in individual workouts. His surprising athleticism, lethal outside shot and knack for finding the open man have teams scrambling to get him in for a closer look. When you're 6-foot-8 and considered a "pure" point guard, teams are going to notice. It's not inconceivable Planinic could work his way up to No. 14 to the Sonics, but it's more likely that, with more strong performances, he'll end up at No. 22 to the Nets or No. 28 to the Spurs. There's still a possibility that he slips into the second round.

14. Zarko Carbakapa, PF, Yugoslavia
The line: 6-11, 230, 22 years old
The skinny: The rumors that Phoenix is already in bed with Cabarkapa at pick No. 17 won't go away. Insider first reported the talk last week with a rather big caveat -- the rumor got started when Cabarkapa left the U.S. after only two workouts (the Suns and Lakers) and headed back to Yugoslavia. His representatives claimed a family medical emergency forced him to return and that he'd be back and working out again soon. While all that is checking out, two more independent sources are claiming Phoenix has told Cabarkapa he won't slip past 17, and the Lakers have told him he won't slip past 24. These type of things are impossible to nail down. Phoenix is denying it. Cabarkapa's agents are denying it. But there is an unusual amount of buzz coming from this one. Let's watch who Cabarkapa works out with when he returns. If it is only teams above 17, his draft stock is well on the rise. If it's bogus, there's a chance he slips out of the first round.

15. Malick Badiane, PF/C, Senegal
The line: 6-11, 225, 19 years old
The skinny: Badiane had a big workout in Chicago that certainly helped his stock. He's one of the strongest, most athletic big men in the draft. He is an above-average defender, strong rebounder and a great shot blocker. He runs the floor like a guard and is an explosive leaper. He has a soft shooting touch and his range extends out to 15 feet. Of all of the young, African prospects to come to the NBA in the last 20 years, two NBA scouts claim Badiane has the most offensive potential of any since Hakeem Olajuwon. He's a late-first-rounder.

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

Mandyahl
06-12-2003, 02:04 PM
very interesting...badiane sounds like a definite prospect for the mavs.

Lonely PSU Mavs Fan
06-12-2003, 02:09 PM
Yes he does sound like exactly what the mavs need, a big body who is defensively inclined. and it does not matter if he is raw offensively because the mavs dont really need more offense. this Zaur Pachulia guy sounds interesting as well, but he will probably go higher.

Lonely PSU Mavs Fan
06-12-2003, 02:17 PM
there has not been anything that i have read and thought "well maybe we should not draft badiane" he seems like he would be perfect.

Mandyahl
06-12-2003, 02:18 PM
i agree, psu, everything about him seems like what we need, and i don't know how much better we will be able to do at 29.

signoftimes
06-12-2003, 02:38 PM
Thanks for the info OP-

Just reading about the top 15 foriegn players, it makes me realize that this should be a pretty deep draft.

Fidel
06-12-2003, 02:40 PM
Whoever gets Sofoklis will be very happy.

IMO heīs the most underrated of the bunch. He put up great numbers last year in a very tough greek league. He scored 11.5 points on 60% shooting, grabbed 6.4 rbs (3.3 offensive) in just 20 mins.
His weak spots is that heīs foul prone and a bad FT shooter (52%). But you gotta remember he was 17 ! years old putting up those numbers in what is probably the 3rd best league in Europe. Since all of these young kids are more or less gambles on potential I think Shorty is a pretty good one to gamble on.

http://www.nbadraft.net/profiles/headshots/sophocles-shortsianitis-hd2.jpg http://espn.go.com/media/insider/2003/0430/photo/shortsianitis01_vi.jpg


Here is a short video clip. (http://www.sport.gr/basket/euro2003/021123/gre.mpg)
Heīs trying hard to shatter the glass on that dunk.

OutletPass
06-12-2003, 02:45 PM
No problem, SIGN. I just hope we either move up or find badiane available at #29....

There WILL be some more "internationals" (and college players) dropping out if they don't figure to go as high as they want....that's my fear. And that the draft won't be as "deep" as we're all thinking.

signoftimes
06-12-2003, 02:50 PM
yeah, Moore already went back to college and a lot of these foriegn players can make more money in Europe if they don't get picked in the first round here. There's still two weeks left before the draft, theere will be alot of twists and turns before this is all over.

OutletPass
06-12-2003, 03:07 PM
Fidel....just my curiousity...but have you seen "Baby Shaq" play in person or on TV ?

slowmo
06-12-2003, 03:11 PM
Who is #7 the is trying to guard him? Looks like the russian bear!

Fidel
06-12-2003, 06:14 PM
Originally posted by: OutletPass
Fidel....just my curiousity...but have you seen "Baby Shaq" play in person or on TV ?
No I havenīt OP. Iīm only able to catch some of the euroleague action and Iraklis didnīt play in the euroleague.

Chicago JK
06-12-2003, 06:47 PM
.
Thanks OP. Very interesting. Donnie Nelson is in ITALY running camps and Delfino is one of the only prospects who can't get over here because his team has continued winning in ITALY. Very interesting. coincidence"




11. 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. Delfino's team keeps winning in Italy, which means he won't have the chance to come over and work out. Teams love his toughness, shooting ability and how he can get to the basket. Can he slip into the first round? A team late in the first round might take a chance. He could go anywhere from No. 25 to Detroit down to No. 27 to Memphis.

OutletPass
06-12-2003, 07:09 PM
Maybe Donn will go have a glass of wine with Diaw, I just noticed that he's not over for workouts either.

7. Boris Diaw, PG/SG/SF, France
The line: 6-9, 220, 21 years old
The skinny: Diaw is slipping just a little bit, based in part because of his inability to come over and work out. He was a big-time prospect who's been overshadowed by the emergence of Pietrus. 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. He'll go anywhere from No. 16 to the Celtics to No. 23 to the Blazers.

digit
06-13-2003, 01:08 AM
I wouldn`t get too excited about Badiane...he played 2nd league basketball in Germany, his club TV Langen finished 10th out of 17...if I have to choose between Szymon Szewczyk, PF, Poland or Badiane I would pick Szewczyk, no doubt about that...I`d try to get a big guy with the first pick and use my 2nd pick on a PG/SG...Misan Nikagbatse from Germany, currently playing for Udine in the Italian league (Ciao, Donnie...) has mad skillz...to get him as the 58th "best" player in this year`s draft would be a steal!! If we use our 2nd pick this year to select a player and Misan is still availabale at #58 we will pick him...this draft will be rockin`...

Mandyahl
06-13-2003, 01:34 AM
thanks for the info on badiane, digit

Fidel
06-13-2003, 04:00 AM
Originally posted by: digit
I wouldn`t get too excited about Badiane...he played 2nd league basketball in Germany, his club TV Langen finished 10th out of 17...if I have to choose between Szymon Szewczyk, PF, Poland or Badiane I would pick Szewczyk, no doubt about that...I`d try to get a big guy with the first pick and use my 2nd pick on a PG/SG...Misan Nigakbatse from Germany, currently playing for Udine in the Italian league (Ciao, Donnie...) has mad skillz...to get him as the 58th "best" player in this year`s draft would be a steal!! If we use our 2nd pick this year to select a player and Misan is still availabale at #58 we will pick him...this draft will be rockin`...
Hey Digit, have you seen Badiane play? My team here in Mainz doesnīt play in the second league any more, so I havenīt been to any second league games for quite some times. In general the second german league really isnīt that strong. I know a couple of guys whoīve been playing for Mainz a few years ago and those guys wouldnīt kill me in a game of HORSE.

I agree that Nikagbatse would be a nice pick at 58. Do you know his contract situation though? Wasnīt he under contract with Panathinaikos through the 2005 season? Did they release him or just lend him to Udine? Anyways we should pick him and have him play in europe for two more years or so. Heīs only 21 right now. Heīs probably my second favorite german player. Like you said Digit: mad skillz.

http://nbadraft.net/profiles/largepics/nikagbatse-misan-ger1.jpg

digit
06-13-2003, 04:43 AM
Badiane (http://www.nba.com/draft2003/profiles/BadianeMalick.html)
Misan Nikagbatse (http://www.nba.com/draft2003/profiles/NikagbatseMisan.html)
Szymon Szewczyk (http://www.nba.com/draft2003/profiles/SzewczykSzymon.html)

Didn`t see Badiane play, but I know the competition level of the German 2nd league (born and raised and played ball in the basketball crazy Wolfenbüttel/Braunschweig area)...there are one or two "top" teams in each division and the rest is just baaad...Badiane had absolutely no competition thus far...Iīd prefer Szewczyk, similar height, damn athletic, good rebounder and shot blocker, good mid-range jumper and nice three-point shot, mad dunks and tough competition in the first league with Braunschweig...the German Bundesliga is gaining respect in Europe...
Don`t know Nikagbatse`s contract situation in Italy...I was pretty surprised to see him as an early entry for this year`s draft...I think he is ready for the NBA, he defended Baron so well last year...it was pure joy to watch...as I said, if Misan is still available late in the 2nd round, the Mavs will pick him...he is definitely on the Mavs`radar screen...strong, athletic perimeter defender...one of the Mavs`biggest weaknesses...

digit
06-13-2003, 10:40 AM
Donnie is currently scouting 42 young European prospects at the Reebok Eurocamps 2003. That camp is scheduled for this weekend (12th-14th) and takes place in Treviso, Italy. The heat is on....

link (http://www.opel-skyliners.de/?News/Skylinernews/Archiv/Archiv__2003__06/meldung_20reebok_20camp.html)

Unter den NBA Trainern, die ihre Teilnahme zugesichert haben, sind bislang:
Donnie Nelson; Paul Mokeski (Dallas Mavericks), Jeff Bzdelik; Jarrin Akana (Denver Nuggets), Mike D'Antoni (Phoenix Suns), Keith Smart (Cleveland Cavaliers), Jay Triano (Toronto Raptors), Mike Brown (San Antonio Spurs) und Mike Procopio (Boston Celtics). Als "Special Guest" des Camps wird außerdem US-Star Baron Davis erwartet, der Point Guard der New Orleans Hornets.

signoftimes
06-13-2003, 11:53 AM
How many of those 42 are eligble and have declared for the draft?

Donnie does have a great eye for judging overseas talent, he's been doing it since college.

I am surprised that there are people from only 5 NBA teams checking out this camp. After all the over seas players who have come into the NBA and have started to make an impact, I would think more NBA teams would betaking opportunities like this to evaluate potential draft picks and players abroad.

Lonely PSU Mavs Fan
06-13-2003, 12:08 PM
Originally posted by: digit
Donnie is currently scouting 42 young European prospects at the Reebok Eurocamps 2003. That camp is scheduled for this weekend (12th-14th) and takes place in Treviso, Italy. The heat is on....


Are any of those 15 players from the insider article participating in this camp?

digit
06-13-2003, 12:21 PM
According to this news article Malik Badiane is there (his favourite team is Dallas...i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif)..,two others are German players Peter Fehse (already picked by the Sonics in last year`s draft) and Alex King...the rest are non-Germans...only thing I know is, that most of the guys are 18-20-years-old...

OutletPass
06-13-2003, 12:24 PM
Don't know who's in that camp, BUT Delfino and Diaw did NOT come to the US for workouts. I'll try to find out.