The picks are made so the time for the analysis and the judgments has come. I have put together a quick paragraph an every European player picked last night so here we go.
20th spot – Evan Fournier – Denver Nuggets
So Evan Fournier made it to the first round to the Denver Nuggets. A good pick for the French slasher who now has to show that he is worth to be picked that high. He will try to play right from the start as he declared after the Draft, I do not go to the NBA to be on the bench. He needs to get stronger physically to have an impact and his driving skills will not be so dominant than they were in Europe. Additionally, his three point shot has to improve but he is only born in 1992 so probably one of the youngest players in the Nuggets roster.
31st spot – Jeff Taylor – Charlotte Bobcats
We got a European on my Euro Pick but not the one I expected. In fact, the Swedish Jeffery Taylor comes from Vanderbilt and is therefore not really the Draft and Stash pick that you could expect here. This puts Taylor before the choice of joining a European team first in order to play minutes or try the hard way through the summer leagues and pre-season camps in order to get a contract. The Bobcats got at least a very good and strong defender who has improved his game regularly over the last seasons.
32nd spot – Tomas Satoransky – Washington Wizards
Interesting pick here by the Washington Wizards who add their second Czech player next to Jan Vesely. Satoransky gives them great size in the back-court and could form an interesting duo with John Wall down the road as both are different kind of players. Satoransky will probably be one of these players that can excel more in a NBA environment than in Europe. It has to be seen if he wants to come over immediately or stay one or more seasons in Europe. With this 32nd pick, he has all freedom to chose his future options as no guaranteed contract with a maximum salary is waiting for him.
48th spot – Kostas Papanikolaou – New York Knicks
The Knicks selected a true team player, a guy who knows exactly what’s going on on the court in the Greek forward Kostas Papanikolaou. I have some problems to imagine him in the current Knick roster but they got a real winner. Papanikolaou played his absolute best at the Euroleague Final Four and was one of the main factors of the Olympiacos victory. But how much better can he become than what he showed in Istanbul in May? I do not see that much of a progress margin anymore but that might be enough to become a good rotation player around the spots 8-10 for the Knicks in a couple of years. We will see.
50th spot – Izzet Turkyilmaz – Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets selected probably the guy for whom the Adidas Eurocamp was the best opportunity to show what he is able to do. Pretty unknown before Treviso because of limited playing time with his club, Turkyilmaz amazed some people during the Eurocamp with his versatility, size, ball handling and athletic abilities. He looked a bit like a better and stronger version of Tomislav Zubcic. He is listed as a Center by the NBA but he will be a PF, if not a SF in the next years as he just has the shot blocking qualities of an inside player but the offensive game of a wing man. Great draft and stash pick for the Nuggets.
52nd spot – Ognjen Kuzmic – Golden State Warriors
So the rumors were true. Ognen Kuzmic was said to be “hidden” by Golden State Warriors scout Kosta Jankov by having him opting out of the Adidas Eurocamp. Now, he is also the only player in the whole draft I had no time to scout. So I can not say much about him. But the Warriors should know what they did if their main European scout is so sure about him that they take him at 52. Kuzmic started his career in Finland and has just signed a contract extension of 4 years with Unicaja Malaga so that we will see him in the Euroleague next season. This will give us a better opportunity to judge what kind of talent he is.
53rd spot – Furkan Aldemir – Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers will get a tremendous rebounder with the Turkish big man Furkan Aldemir. He is the perfect role player who will do the dirty work and is therefore probably one of the best picks in this area. You know that he will never develop into a star but you will have a Joakim Noah-like intensity guy here that you can either bring over immediately or just let develop his offensive game in Europe. For me, this is one of the best picks of the whole draft and might end up as a big steal in a few years. But still, this is the Clippers, so I would not be surprised if a trade is still coming in for this Pick.
54th spot – Tornike Shengelia – Brooklyn Nets
The Georgian had a big Adidas Eurocamp but it only secured him a spot in the late second round. The problems with his true position in the NBA might be an issue or his lack of regularity from behind the arc. The very experienced swing man will now most likely continue in Europe and might never come to the NBA as his progress margin seems a bit limited if he can not work on becoming a big-time threat from behind the arc. But you never know, I am not sure what his exact plans are for the next years so he might also go the way through the summer leagues in order to secure a roster spot on the new Nets team for next season.
56th spot – Tomislav Zubcic – Toronto Raptors
Probably one of the most talented players in the whole Draft got selected by the Raptors. Tall, great ball handling, good ideas, can shoot it but he never achieved much so far. Tomislav Zubcic was being hyped up very early as one of the biggest talents in Europe but with the time, he could never really progress and make the transition from a talent to a player. The Toronto Raptors will try to help him in this process now and nothing is less sure that it will work. If Zubcic makes the next step, he can become a tremendous steal at 56 but if not, he will remain a great talent that has not reached its full potential and nothing happened for the Raptors.
57th spot – Ilkan Karaman – Brooklyn Nets
Finally, the last European pick went to Ilkan Karaman. The Turkish forward is a real physical beast who is not afraid of anything and could have an impact in the NBA as defender in the future. Karaman can really play above the rim, if it is not his only strength next to having a sweet shot from behind the arc. He can compete physically and athletically with American players of his age group, now he has to show that he has the skills to make it to the League. I would not be surprised if he tries to go to Brooklyn and work with them in the summer and try his chances to get a roster for next season already. We will see.
Several interesting Europeans went undrafted like Andrew Albicy, Paul Lacombe, Josep Franch or Nihad Dedovic. With the exception of Lacombe, I do not really see anyone else trying the way through additional workouts and the Summer Leagues. So from now on, the Scouts will have to concentrate on the 2012 Draft and will start their coverage already today with the U17 World Championship in Lithuania that will tip off in the next hours. So do we as we will travel to Kaunas next weekend to scout during the last three days of the championship.