NBA Draft – Top 5 International Prospects
The names that David Stern needs to practice pronouncing for this June’s draft.
We are all going to be deprived of a great joy on draft night — watching David Stern struggle to pronounce the names of the international players picked in the first round. With normally around five players from abroad picked in the first round each year, we are treated to a few tongue twisters from Mr. Commish. This year there are only two international guys projected to go within the first 30 names called out, but at least one of them has a name fun to say. Here’s the top five international prospects for this year’s draft.
1) Jan Vesely | SF/PF | Partizan Belgrade | 1990
One player whose stock has been steadily climbing all season is Czech youngster Jan Vesely — he’s now being projected as a possible top 10 pick. A 6-11 combo forward, Vesely has NBA size, length and athleticism. He’s also a hard working, hustling player who might not project to be a NBA star, but he will be a very good, solid player. He is signed until 2013, however, so if a NBA team wants him sooner than that they’ve have to arrange a buy out of his contract.
2) Donatas Motiejunas | PF/C | Benetton Treviso | 1990
Running neck-and-neck with Vesely for “top international prospect” is Donatas Motiejunas. Also a potential lottery pick, we’ve already covered him quite a bit in the past, so rather than waste more electronic ink on him, read here, here and here.
3) Kevin Seraphin | PF | Cholet | 1989
Thoughts on France’s Kevin Seraphin seem to be mixed — some have him projected as a second rounder this year, others as a lottery pick next year. What is irrefutable is he has nice size (6-10, 258 pounds), great hands and athleticism and is able to finish down low. But as his numbers in France’s pro league this season show (6 points and 4 boards a game), he is still a work in progress.
4) Miroslav Raduljica | C | FMP Zeleznik | 1988
NBA teams are always in need of mobile, athletic 7-footers, so Miroslav Raduljica should hear his name called in the second round in June. As well as enjoying his best season as a pro (14 ppg, 6 rpg), he also has extensive experience playing internationally for Serbia. But whether or not he is willing to leave Europe to play in the NBA is being questioned.
5) Alexey Shved | PG | Dynamo Moscow | 1988
Alexey Shved has been on NBA scouts’ radar for years now, despite getting little playing time in Russia. That is due to his size (6-6), athleticism and passing ability. He’s finally getting some burn this season after being lended to Dynamo Moscow but probably needs more time in Europe before he is ready for the NBA.
Next in line: Nemanja Bjelica, Serbia; Robin Benzing, Germany; Vladimir Dasic, Spain; Paulao Prestes, Spain; Pablo Aguilar; Spain.
Read more of Jeff Fox at The Hoops Manifesto.