With the NBA Draft 2012 being over, we wanted to see how the different European Draft picks have been received by the respective press outlets of their new destinations. But I also checked some of the comments written in their home country.
The most discussed player was of course the only first round pick, Evan Fournier from France who goes to the Denver Nuggets. Mark Kiszla from the Denver Post was very harsh on the selection of the 19 year old French swingman.
The legacy of the Dream Team is dead. Evan Fournier, drafted Thursday night by the Nuggets, is proof.
Would the last real basketball player from Europe please turn out the gym lights?
The Nuggets must think their roster is so well-stocked there’s no room for immediate improvement. It was a slap in the face to made-in-America basketball when Denver added Fournier with the 20th pick in the opening round.
Kiszla has really a problem with the addition of Fournier so that his report sounds more like a hate letter than a serious report about the Draft Pick. At least Fournier will know what will wait for him in the “Mile High City”.
Here’s the only scouting report you need on Fournier: He’s a shooting guard who can’t shoot.
The thing is that even GM Masai Ujiri does not sound too confident about Fournier’s immediate future in the NBA.
We’re going to talk about that. We wanted that option. We have the option of both. We’ll see about our roster — we’re pretty full. Another thing attractive there was we wanted that flexibility there and to get a young player at age 19.
This is a bit of a problem for Fournier who declared that he wants to go to the NBA immediately without another year in Europe. But if his team does not really see where to put him, it will be difficult. Especially as Fournier already made interpretations into what this draft meant for the future of the Nuggets franchise.
As I have been drafted by Denver, this means that Rudy Fernandez will leave, I think.
The French press is not only raving about the selection of Fournier at the 20th pick. Jean-Luc Thomas of the daily sports newspaper l’Equipe commented this morning:
The question is, next to his talent, if Fournier has the mental strength that is on a similar level than players he is compared to (Ginobili), contrary to a Tony Parker who has this as an inborn gift and who never doubted one second in his capacities.
Fournier has been raised in an environment close to a cocoon which is quite different from a thermonuclear war. He was the adulated kid in Poitiers, more or less the symbol of the rising of this club which gave him a little pressure but also a lot of protection.
Ginobili however was built in the Italian second division before playing the Euroleague Finals with Bologna at a moment where the Italian powerhouse was an armada on the highest level in Europe.
The second player who drew a lot of interesting press reviews was the Greek Kostas Papanikolaou who landed in the Media hub New York. The future Knick is seen by the local press as a Draft and Stash or even never-ever future Knick. Nate Taylor from the New York Times reports:
Although the Knicks had 42 players work out for them leading up to the draft, Papanikolaou was not one of them.
The Knicks hope that if Papanikolaou will mature, with his potential and solid athleticism, he can become a player similar to Marc Gasol, Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola, all who were taken at the 48th spot or higher.
For the rest of the article, currently running contract negotiations with players dominated the discussions and Papanikolaou was not seen as an important asset to the future of the franchise.
Marc Berman of the New York Post was even more skeptical on the Knicks choice as he predicted that the Knicks fans will never see Papanikolaou playing in Madison Square Garden.
It’s all Greek to Knicks fans who thought the club would take a step forward last night in the NBA Draft in trying to win now and build up their bench.
It wasn’t worth the wait. With the witching hour approaching, the Knicks selected late last night unheralded Greek 6-foot-8 small forward Kostas Papanikolaou with the 48th pick.
The 21-year-old won’t play for the Knicks this season and Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald gave no assurance he will play the following year either. Did somebody say Frederic Weis?
The worst part of the New York Post article though is that it is featuring a picture of Giorgios Printezis but mentioning him as Kostas Papanikolaou. The Greek will, if he ever comes to New York, have a difficult task to make a name for himself.
For the rest of the European prospects, the articles in the Press were quite information only, mentioning that the players will stay in Europe for at least one more season. But I do not want to finish this article without mentioning a tweet by the ironic-sarcastic French Journalist Fabien Friconnet.
Play kiddie ball in the NCAA > do some left-handed layups during a workout > Kill everything in the Final of the Euroleague
I let yourself judge and put names on the three descriptions of this mathematical formula. French NT player Ali Traore answered him by saying
This is stupid
to which Friconnet replied in his true style
To the first one who tells me “Papanikolaou can not play yet in the NBA”, I will answer “ And who of the 47 previous picks can play in the Euroleague”