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A first look at the upcoming 2009 NBA Draft

April 14th, 2009 · No Comments

Today, I took a first look at the upcoming NBA Draft from a European perspective. I will check who are the players that have already declared to enter the draft and who is supposed to do so in the next days. Who are the players that are automatically eligible?

I will start my roundup with the players that will or may enter the 2009 NBA Draft as early entrants. They can declare until April 26th if they want to put their name on the Early-Entrants list in order to test their value for the upcoming Draft. Then, the can withdraw their name until the 15th of June if they are not happy. As an international player, you can withdraw twice from the Early Entrants list, when entering your name for a third year, you are automatically in the NBA Draft.

Player having declared officially for the 2009 NBA Draft

The only International player that has officially declared so far is the French-German-Portuguese forward Fernando Raposo as reports from France. The 2m06 tall and 1989 born PF, who plays his first full professional season with Elan Béarnais in France this year had some interesting games in a tough sportive situation. Having signed with agent Kenny Grant this season, Raposo is probably just testing the waters to see his value and put his name on the list of the different scouts that did not know him so far. Without going for some huge workouts or a mind-blowing Reebok EuroCamp, Raposo will most likely withdraw before the dead-line.

Brandon Jennings is a specific case as he is the first US born player to join a European professional team right out of High School. This makes him automatically a NBA Draft candidate according to a rule of the NBA Players collective bargaining agreement. His year in Italy has put him under different spotlights than the typical NCAA Freshman and gave the NBA scouts a possibility to evaluate him under professional circumstances.

Omri Casspi has declared to be officially eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft in different reports in the Israeli press. I consider the chances for him to stay in the Draft are pretty high, but he may not want to get drafted in the first round except if he becomes a Lottery pick which is highly unlikely. Casspi certainly can sign a more lucrative contract in Europe so a low first round pick is not that interesting for him. We will see how his situation evolves.

Players declaring highly likely during the next days

Rodrigue Beaubois will declare officially that he is in the Draft during the next days. His agent announced it already to Draftexpress, so it is pretty obvious that he will enter the early-entrants list for the third and will be in for good. Beaubois got quite some buzz over the last days and weeks due to his great play during March. If he can continue on that level, he will have good chances to see a very interesting Draft spot coming up.

More and more rumors say that Ricky Rubio will declare for this year’s Draft. The Spanish PG comes however from a season where his progress was a bit handicapped by a hand injury in the beginning of the 2008/2009 exercise. Still, he is considered as a top lottery pick and could even go as high as the Top3 according to the different Mocks.

Several sources indicate that Vladimir Dasic will enter his name to the NBA Draft 2009 during the next days. The SF from Montenegro has played a great U20 European Championship last summer but struggled a bit to put up regular performances throughout the season in the Adriatic League. He finished the season strong though with several big scoring performances but still not being accurate from behind the arc.

Testing the waters

Draftexpress also reports that Roger Zaki may enter his name this year in order to test the waters. Zaki comes of a season where he saw some minutes on the Euroleague level, but he showed that he is currently far away from being a factor on that level, especially defensively where he gets pushed around at will. He needs to find a team first where he can earn some minutes, and being born in 1988, he needs to do that quickly if his goal is to being drafted. Still, the potential is there, but is that enough?

Giorgi Shermadini is probably exactly the opposite case. The Georgian big man destroyed everything in his home league and moved to Panathinaikos in November 2008 and played only 4 league games since then.

Possible entrants

A player that may enter the NBA Draft after his recent performances at the Nike Hoop Summit (I will talk about that in a later post) is the Lithuanian Forward/Center Donatas Motiejunas. The seven footer with the great touch played a correct for a small team in Lithuania and managed to qualify the to the Challenge Final Four of the Baltic League.

Players that could have been ready this year for an early entrance but got kicked back by injuries or poor play are Victor Claver (broken leg) or Tim Ohlbrecht (limited playing time and multiple injuries). They may try to put their name back on the board of the NBA scouts by entering early and withdrawing before the deadline.

Ludo Vaty from Pau-Orthez is also a possible entrant according to several sources. The French PF played a good season and improved every season since he is with the former French powerhouse. He may have a future as a hard working rebounder and hustle guy in the big league.

Automatically eligible

On the list of players that are automatically eligible, being born in 1987, you will find also some interesting names.  Inside players like Henk Norel or Slava Kravtsov may get a shot somewhere in the second round. These type of players can boost their stock with a good performance during the Reebok Eurocamp in June.

A multi-task player like Emir Preldzic may be interesting for some franchises, something that counts also for Milenko Tepic. For both of these guys, the future will however be probably in Europe as they lack some NBA typical characteristics. Jonas Jerebko is another player that may have some NBA potential due to his interesting combination of size and shooting skills.

Finally, you have two guards that may get a pick this year as they played both some interesting seasons in the past. Sergio Llull had his breakout party this year and boosted the Real Madrid play during stretches with his athletic and speedy drives or three point bombs. While Nando de Colo had a great last season, he slowed down a bit this year but he may be picked down the road somewhere late in the second round.

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