European Prospects

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NBA Draft 2011–Early Entrants Analysis

April 29th, 2011 · 1 Comment

The NBA has published yesterday the list of Early Entrants for the NBA Draft 2011. It features 20 players based in Europe and two Europeans playing in the NCAA. We will go over the 20 Internationals, give a short scouting report with Video (where available) and make a prediction on their Draft Stock.

Jan Vesely (CZE) – 2m11 – Forward – Partizan Belgrade – 1990

The Czech forward is one of the hottest prospects in Europe in terms of athletic abilities, energy and potential. The 2m11 tall forward played his second full season on the Euroleague level and underlined his status as one of the biggest potentials in Europe. However, you could not really see a lot of progress this season in his shooting skills, he remains for example relatively poor from the FT line. But he is among the best athletes that exist right now in Europe and has terrific length and motor to play the game. He will probably never develop into a major scoring leader on NBA level.

Prediction: stays in (Lottery)

Andrew Albicy (FRA) – 1m78 – Point Guard – Paris-Levallois – 1990

The tiny PG from Paris was a big name at the U20 European Championship last summer. He had an up and down season this year but he helped his team to find the way back to victory in the end of the season when he played his best games. Mostly an energizer and ball stealer on defense, Albicy needs to improve his shooting regularity from outside on offense. On NBA level, he might struggle to attack rim as he has not an outstanding leaping ability.

Prediction: stays in (2nd round to undrafted)

Furkan Aldemir (TUR) – 2m05 – Forward – Karsiyaka – 1991

A player that flew a bit under the radar the last years as he was active in a smaller team in Turkey. Additionally, he had an  injury this season that kept him of the courts from mid-December to mid-February. Doing a lot of little things on the court, Aldemir will not surprise you with big stat lines but he is a regular contributor on the Senior level for the second year in a row. His main force are his outstanding rebound skills, Aldemir is averaging 7.9 rebounds per game in the Turkish league and rejected 0.9 shots per game as well.

Prediction: withdraws

Bismack Biyombo (CON) – 2m03 – Forward/Center – no team – 1992

The big riser on the Draft boards over the last weeks comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bismack Biyombo used the Nike Hoop summit at its best to impress the NBA Scouts but remains though a very raw player. He has certainly a great upside and seems to be a quick learner but he lacks also on-going high level experience. But with his amazing body structure, he will certainly be among the players that will be analyzed in full detail by all the teams in the lottery.

Prediction: stays in (Lottery to mid-1st round)

Abdoulaye Loum (FRA) – 2m08 – Forward – Le Havre (FRA) – 1991

Abdoulaye Loum is one of the names that comes a bit out of nowhere as the French forward has only played 3 professional games in his career. The long forward is not a major scorer on the Espoirs level as well but he has a lot of tools to work with and develop into a good potential. The fact that Le Havre is known for good development of young players but a relatively late integration of these kids into the professional team might be an indication why he has not played more in the ProA so far.

Prediction: withdraws

Negueba Samake (FRA/MLI) – 2m11 – Center – 1990

A very long and athletic player but without any major experience on the professional level. Samake has switched teams over the last two years since he finished his Espoirs status with Le Mans but he never really could find his niche with Rouen or Limoges where he played as a sparring partner after having left the ProB team of Rouen.

Prediction: withdraws

Donatas Motiejunas (LIT) – 2m13 – Forward – Benetton Treviso (ITA) – 1990

The Lithuanian forward is one of the prospects that has been covered since his youngest age and he has now reached the moment where he is ready to be drafted. He played a nice season in Italy and reached the EuroCup Final 4 with his team Benetton Treviso. In the Italian League, he is one of the best Power Forwards and he seems to have become a regular double-digit contributor. He had his best game of his career a few days ago against Vanoli Cremona with 31pts, 14rebs, 5stls and 2blks.

Prediction: stays in (Lottery)

Davis Bertans (LAT) – 2m08 – Forward – Olimpija Ljubljana (SLO) – 1992

The Latvian shooter, who grew a few centimeters over the last year, is one of the players in this draft with the best combination of size and shooting skills. He was the leader for the U18 team last summer that won the Bronze Medal at the European Championship. Bertans is a correct athlete but not a really physical player. He moved to a Euroleague team during the season and he should be able to play serious minutes for Union Olimpija Ljubljana next season.

Prediction: stays in (1st round)

Lucas Riva Nogueira “Bebe” (BRA) – 2m11 – Center – Estudiantes Madrid – 1992

The Brazilian player from Estudiantes Madrid is one of the biggest projects of this Draft. The 1992 born; the same age than Biyombo; is far from being on the same level than the Congolese at the moment but Bebe has more pure talent to build upon. But on the other hand, despite a great wingspan, Nogueira is not a very physical player at the moment and he is years away from being able to contribute on the NBA level. The team that drafts him will invest into a project than can be rewarded nicely, or not at all.

Prediction: stays in (end 1st-2nd round)

Jonas Valanciunas (LIT) – 2m10 – Center – Lietuvos Rytas (LIT) – 1992

The Lithuanian big guy is another potential Lottery candidate from Europe for this year’s Draft. Valanciunas plays on the highest European level and is an important factor. He has a great body and concentrates on what he is doing best, scoring close to the basket, rebounding and shot blocking. You will not see him develop into a face-forward one day, he will play in the low post and set screens for the Pick and Roll. He might be able to contribute right from the start on NBA level.

Prediction: stays in (Lottery)

Nikola Mirotic (MNG-ESP) – 2m08 – Forward – Real Madrid (ESP) – 1991

One of the few players who is still active this season in international competitions is Nikola Mirotic as the Spanish forward will play the Euroleague Final Four in one week. Mirotic has made a huge step forward this season and has become even one of the more clutch players of his team Real Madrid. He is a real face-forward who can shoot the ball and understands the game well. However, the NBA does not seem to be a priority for him as he extended his contract until 2016 which might hurt his stock and put him in the 2nd round in a Nikola Pekovic way.

Prediction: stays in (mid-1st round)

Femi Oladipo (GER) – 1m99 – Forward – Crailsheim Merlins (GER) – 1990

A more unknown player coming from Germany is the athletic forward Femi Oladipo. He played with the German U18 National Team in 2008 at the Albert-Schweitzer Tournament where he had his best international outing so far. He moved to the 2nd division team Crailsheim where he improved over the last two seasons to be an important player on that level. His main forces are on the defensive end as he can guard players over several positions. Offensively, he remains a pretty raw prospect concerning his shot but he has undeniable qualities as a passer and slasher.

Prediction: withdraws

Nihad Dedovic (BIH) – 1m96 – Guard – Lottomatica Roma (ITA) – 1990

The Bosnian guard looks to be there for years but he still is not in his automatically eligible draft year. He is a regular scorer on a Euroleague team and has improved physically over the last season. Dedovic needs to become more accurate from behind the arc though as his slashing qualities are only average at best on NBA level. However, he has no problems attacking the basket on European level because of a good first step.

Prediction: stays in (2nd round)

Emanouil Koukoulas (GRE) – 2m11 – Center – Ilysiakos (GRE) – 1991

Emanouil “Manolis” Koukoulas is an unknown player to me. He played 9.1 minutes in the Greek League.

Prediction: withdraws

Joffrey Lauvergne (FRA) – 2m09 – Forward – Elan Chalon (FRA) – 1991

The French Power Forward is constantly progressing since he has left INSEP during the 2008/2009 season. He is playing nearly twenty minutes per game on the highest French level for a Playoff-team. Lauvergne is not your typical French prospect with outstanding athletic abilities and he has not played for any Youth National Team since 2007 which put him a bit out of the international focus and hype. But right now, he is among the best prospects in the ProA and he is learning quickly on the professional level.

Prediction: stays in (2nd round)

Leon Radosevic (CRO) – 2m08 – Power Forward – Cibona Zagreb (CRO) – 1990

Radosevic is maybe not the most talented guy but he looks to be a very hard worker with a great motor to run the floor. The Croatian big guy has good size and correct athletic abilities and mainly scores on the 5m jump shot or close to the basket. He does not put the ball on the floor that much but he can do it if necessary. Radosevic should excel as a back-up on NBA level when playing together with a good Pick-and-Roll guard as he can either finish on the Roll or the Pop-out.

Prediction: stays in (2nd round)

Tornike Shengelia (GEO) – 2m05 – Forward – Verviers-Pepinster (BEL) – 1991

The Georgian forward is a prospect that is there for several years already and playing for different teams but still has two years of eligibility left. This season, he was active in the Belgian League in order to get regular playing time but he remained relatively low key with just 16 minutes on the floor. Shengelia has no real quality in which he excels particularly but he is an interesting forward that can both shoot the ball and put it on the floor to attack the basket combined with good size for the Small Forward position.

Prediction: withdraws

Abdel Kader Sylla (SEY) – 2m05 – Center – SLUC Nancy (FRA) – 1990

The Seychelles born player dominates the French Espoirs League with great numbers and showed his potential in the few times he got minutes with the professional team. However, he remains undersized for the Center and he needs to find a team where he can play big minutes on the Senior level next season.

Prediction: withdraws

Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann (GER) – 2m10 – Forward/Center – Rhöndorf/Telekom Baskets Bonn (GER) – 1990

The 2nd German player in this Early-Entry class comes as well from the 2nd League. However, Wohlfarth-Bottermann is a member of Telekom Baskets Bonn that loaned him to their co-operation partner Rhöndorf in order to get playing time. WoBo is an athletic player with great size and runs the floor very well while he has shooting range up to the three point line. He is an excellent shot blocker and has learned quite some back-to-the-basket moves over the last two years. He only started with Basketball at the age of 15.

Prediction: withdraws

Tomislav Zubcic (CRO) – 2m14 – Forward – Cibona Zagreb (CRO) – 1990

Zubcic was considered a major talent for several years but he needed some time before becoming a player who could contribute on the highest European level. This season was his first where he saw regular minutes with the Senior team of Cibona and his numbers have grown dramatically. Zubcic has excellent size, can handle the ball, is a good athlete and can play on the Small Forward position. He might be one of the players that will do really well in workouts because of his large skill set.

Prediction: stays in (2nd round)

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Emili Paz // May 11, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Indeed, a lot of European players excel in this upcoming draft as prospects. Jan Vesely and Donatas Montejunas are two names that have come up most upon talking about the coming draft, along with Jonas Valanciunas and Nikola Mirotic, although the latter has recently signed a contract extension with Real Madrid, which could put off his entry to the NBA for some time.

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