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Season Preview: 1987 generation (Part 1)

September 16th, 2008 · No Comments

The 1987 generation is this season’s automatically eligible class for the NBA Draft 2009. The will be the first group of players that I take a look at in order to talk about their upcoming season. The list will of course not be complete and without any order, I took out the players that I think are worth of talking about for any reason. And of course, not all of them can be considered as legit NBA prospects.

Adriatic region

Milenko Tepic, the guard for Partizan Belgrade who was rumored to move to Real this summer must take over a bigger role this season in the Euroleague. The transfers of Milt Palacio and Nikola Pekovic will free a lot of shots which the polyvalent guard can take. With his multi-skill play, Tepic could be one of the candidates for the Euroleague Youngster of the season award.

Milos Teodosic is another Serbian guard that could win the title this season. He comes from surprising season with Olympiacos in Greece where he played lots of minutes on the highest level. His minutes he gets with the Serbian NT at the moment are also positive to him and he can learn a lot from Papaloukas next season with Olympiacos. On the other hand, in terms of NBA potential, he may be a little limited when it comes to his athleticism but we should see as a possible top European PG for the next decade.

Vladimir Stimac comes from a great season in Latvia and tries now to continue with Crvena Zvezda in Serbia. The very large Center with unlimited will should develop in a team that plays on a better level and especially with a well-known coach in Svetislav Pesic. For him, the NBA is of course not a goal as he lacks the necessary explosiveness and athleticism to defend against the US big guys. However, he is one of the players that I personally really like because he does the best out of his skills.

Jaka Klobucar is another player that is a personal favorite and I am pretty excited to see how the left-handed guard can play in the Euroleague. His versatile skills allow him to play everything from 1-3 and his nice shooting touch is a great addition on the Euroleague level. However, it will still be his first season on this level and we should not await too much from him.

Emir Preldzic is one of the Slovenians currently under contract with Fenerbahce in Turkey. The long forward who can also help on the guard positions is one of the most interesting combinations of size and skill in the Euroleague. His extended minutes this season should be a good basis but he needs to become more precise in his shooting this year.

Gasper Vidmar is the second Slovenian 1987 born player with Boscia Tanjevic’s team. The injury of Omer Asik could give the 2m10 tall PF/C lots of minutes in the beginning of the season. Despite his limited minutes in the Euroleague last season, Vidmar averaged 5.2ppg and 3.0rpg and these numbers should be his benchmark for the next weeks.

Baltic-Russia region

Ernests Kalve needs finally a come-out season after his multiple knee injuries. And this one could be the good one. He is currently with the Latvian Senior NT to grab some garbage minutes and this should give him the necessary speed to start into the new season with ASK Riga.

Maxim Sheleketo has moved back to Russia after an interesting season in the Baltic League with however a poor team (VEF Riga). The athletic wing will now try to gain some minutes in a stronger team (Rostov) but he should have the possibility to see extended minutes especially because of the specific Russian rules.

Slava Kravtsov is a very interesting player to follow as he sees already some interesting minutes in one of the strongest rosters of the continent at BC Kyiv. He is currently seeing some backup minutes with the Ukrainian NT. The team in the Ukraine has however not changed that much on the Center spot where he will remain the backup of Ryan Stack.

Povilas Butkevicius is most likely to play with BC Kaunas next season and should see lots of minutes with the LKL team. After a season where put up some big numbers in the Challenge round of the Baltic League, he has to develop his game now to become a serious starter for a good Lithuanian team in the next years.

Andrei Vorontsevich is on the jump to become a interesting rotation player for CSKA Moscow this season. After he participated with the Senior team at the Olympics, he is now in full preparation with CSKA and should see some minutes during the season. But still, the heavily loaded Russian roster will not open big gaps on his position though.

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