June 14, 2019, 7:34 pm
Happy Friday Hoop Ballers! What an epic, amazing, heartbreaking and totally weird finale to the NBA season last night with the Raptors beating the Warriors and winning their first trophy ever. I really enjoyed this year’s playoffs, as they proved how the NBA is really an international game with Nigerian born Masai Ujiri assembling a Toronto team where four of their main guys were born outside of the US.
The Finals might be over but the NBA Draft is less than a week away. On Tuesday, the NBA officially announced the list of international players who have kept or withdrawn their names from consideration for the NBA Draft next week. 47 international players who had declared as early-entry candidates have withdrawn their names from consideration and there are currently 86 collegiate and 12 international prospects that remain early-entry candidates.
Let’s take a look at how these prospects are performing in their workouts with NBA teams with less than a week remaining for a day all NBA junkies are waiting for!
Sekou Doumbouya (Limoges, LBN Pro A – France and the EuroCup), 18 years old, SF/PF, 6’9” 230lbs, France/Guinea
An extremely raw talent, Doumbouya won’t turn 19 until December 23rd, as he is expected to be the youngest player to make his rookie debut since Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2013 (turned 19 on December 6th). The French forward has had fabulous measurements in recent workouts with NBA teams elevating his stock as a top-10 pick. Teams seem to really like him and are hoping he can resemble a more athletic version of Pascal Siakam. Doumbouya averaged 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.1 turnovers on 48.2/34.3/79.3 shooting splits during 19 minutes per game but his shot has looked far more fluid and the kid has looked more ready than anticipated.
Goga Bitadze (Mega Bemax and Buducnost, Adriatic League and Euroleague), 20 years old, C, 6’11”, 250 lbs, Republic of Georgia
The Georgian center with a reported 7’3” wingspan and 9’2” standing reach has NBA scouts and executives torn on whether his game can translate at the NBA level. Bitazde is extremely fluid and mobile for his size and he proved that he can stretch the floor and protect the rim but teams will likely be able to pick him apart in the pick-and-roll and he lacks the strength to go against bigger bodies. For what it’s worth, he has been invited to the NBA Draft Green Room, making him a likely selection in the mid first round.
Luka Samanic (Union Olimpija – Adriatic League and the EuroCup), 19 years old, PF/C, 6’11” 215 lbs, Croatia
No other international prospect has helped himself more in the last month or so other than the Croatian forward who has been labeled as the next big thing. It’s hard to not be enamored by the idea of a 6’11” forward with a 7-foot wingspan who can shoot, pass, put the ball on the floor, contest shots and switch on the perimeter and the kid has shown exactly that, pushing his name into consideration in the first round of the upcoming draft. Samanic has talked about how he intends to come immediately to the NBA even though he averaged just 8.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game while playing in Slovenia this year, but his game might be a better fit for the NBA.
Luka Samanic (Croatia) showed quite a few flashes on both sides of the ball in 19 minutes in his first NBA Combine scrimmage
– Moved his feet on defense
– Contested shots
– Attacked off the catch
– Post game
– Made a nice 3 off movement pic.twitter.com/OJDJmRFfMG
— Zach Milner (@ZachMilner13) May 17, 2019
Deividas Sirvydis (Lietuvas Rytas, LKL of Lithuania and Eurocup), 18 years old, SG/SF, 6’9” 195lbs, Lithuania
One of the youngest players of the class, Sirvydis looks like the ideal draft-and-stash candidate in a class that is deep but doesn’t look to have any game-changers after the first few picks. Sirvydis is a knock-down lefty shooter with high basketball IQ and the ability to make quick decisions with the ball. He is far from a complete offensive player but he possesses very good speed and size that enable him to create separation from his opponents. Playing on one of the top teams in Lithuania, he has been able to earn a spot in the rotation, something unusual for kids his age in Europe.
Adam Mokoka (Mega Bemax – Adriatic League) 20 years old, PG/SG, 6’5” 213 lbs, France
The LNB’s Pro A Best Young Player in 2018, he tested the waters last summer and after his impressive performance in Treviso’s Eurocamp he was expected to go in the second round but eventually withdrew his name in hopes of benefiting from another year playing in Europe. Mokoka is one of the best athletes of this class and so far he has impressed NBA teams with his defensive ability, reminding evaluators of a bigger, far more athletic Patrick Beverley.
Joshua Obiesie (s.Oliver Würzburg, German BBL and Europe Cup), G, 6’6” 190 lbs, Germany
The German native decided to stay in the draft after joining Wurzburg in December and playing in just 20 games this season where he made a good impression, especially at the EuroCup. He is a lefty combo guard who has split time at point guard, shooting guard and even small forward but struggled badly at the Nike Hoops Summit and is far from a finished product. Teams seem to like his versatility and he looks like another strong draft-and-stash candidate.
Yovel Zoosman (Maccabi Tel Aviv – Ligat HaAl of Israel and Euroleague), 20 years old, SG/SF, 6’6” 198 lbs, Israel
Zoosman put himself firmly on the NBA radar last summer by leading the Israeli National Team to the gold medal at the U-20 European Championship while finishing as the MVP of the tournament. He is a long and hard-working kid with a 7-foot-wingspan and an all-around game, able to defend four positions on the floor. Unlike most European teams who fail to give playing time to their youngsters, Zoosman has been given the opportunity to play major minutes in his domestic league while gaining meaningful experience in the EuroLeague. He nailed a couple clutch free throws yesterday to help Maccabi Tel Aviv win the Israeli league and he should be on his way to US in order to work out with a few teams in the next few days.
Marcos “Didi” Louzada Silva, (Sesi Franca – Brazil), 20 years old, SG/SF, 6’6” 198 lbs, Brazil
Didi has been a nice surprise recently due to his strong frame and mature feel to his game. He had a very efficient season in Brazil where he averaged 10.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 0.7 steals on 50 percent from the field, 42.5 percent from behind the arc and 73 percent from the line in just 20 minutes and 43 games. Didi is already in the US after his team lost in the finals of the Brazilian league and will begin private workouts with NBA teams in hopes of manufacturing more attention.
Arturs Zagars (Joventut Badalona – Liga ACB), 19 years old, PG, 6’3” 172 lbs, Latvia
Not surprisingly, Zagars withdrew his name from the draft and he most likely won’t be playing at the FIBA U-19 World Cup in Crete this summer as he is still recovering from ankle surgery due to a torn ligament that forced him to sit from November to early March. A very skilled, fearless and creative playmaker, he is probably the best point guard of his generation in Europe and we shall be hearing his name again next year.
Paul Eboua (Roseto Sharks, Serie A2 Basket of Italy), 19 years old, SG, 6’8” 214 lbs, Cameroon
Eboua looked like one of, if not the most, intriguing prospects of his class due to a gifted combination of length and athleticism but he took his name out of this draft as he will be looking to return potentially as a lottery pick next year. Playing in a lower division, he had his ups and downs and remains too raw and mechanic at times but his upside is high, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
Gytis Masiulis (Neptunas Klaipeda – LKL Lithuania and Basketball Champions League), 20 years old, PF, 6’9” 198 lbs, Lithuania
Masiulis was named as the best young player of the Lithuanian league this year as he evolved into more of a modern big, while his motor and basketball IQ make him an appealing prospect. He is a lanky kid that lacks athleticism and explosion but he has been playing solid rotation minutes in one of the main leagues in Europe, holding his ground against more experienced players and constantly improving as a shooter with an unorthodox stroke. Auto-eligible next year.
Abdoulaye N’doye (Cholet, LBN Pro A), 21 years old, PG, 6’7” 183 lbs, France
N’doye’s recent workouts (reportedly with the Cavs) didn’t go that well and the French swingman will return to France where he averaged 6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 34 games and 27 starts. His defensive versatility is what makes him special while he has also worked on his 3-point shot and he will likely remain on the radar as a 3-and-D prospect.
Borisa Simanic (KK Crvena Zvezda – Adriatic League and EuroCup), 21 years old, SG/SF, 6’10” 220 lbs, Serbia
Simanic showed flashes of the player that everyone thinks he could be and had his moments in the ABA League Finals, where he impressed with his athleticism, versatility and shooting range. Small sample obviously, but in 27 Adriatic League games this season he shot 45.1 percent from three on 2.63 attempts per game and 92.3 percent from the free throw line at just under one attempt per game. Potential lottery pick next year.
Thank you for reading this article and please make sure you check us back again next week as I will be conducting the final mock draft for international projects before Thursday’s NBA Draft night. Stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.
May 31, 2020, 8:10 pmKz OkpalaF, Miami Heat
Kz Okpala's offensive game has come a long way since January according to Heat Vice President and Assistant GM, Adam Simon.
Okpala is already viewed as an NBA-ready defender, and once his offensive game is up to speed the Heat will have a hard time not getting him into the rotation. He spent 20 games in the G League and five with the Heat before the suspension slowed down his progression in 2020. Okpala got off to a slow start due to injuries, and a trade on draft day took away his chance to play in summer league. While this season is unlikely to amount to anything, Okpala is someone to watch in deeper leagues next year.
Source: Miami Herald
May 31, 2020, 8:03 pmGabe VincentPG, Miami Heat
Heat Vice President and Assistant GM, Adam Simon, stated that Gabe Vincent's knee is "good to go".
It sounds like Vincent would have no problem being NBA ready if the Heat decided to call up the two-way guard when play hopefully resumes July 31. Vincent is a strong 3-point shooter with the ability to attack a closeout, but it is still unlikely the Heat will need to put him on the floor for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Source: Miami Herald
May 31, 2020, 7:51 pmShake MiltonSG, Philadelphia Sixers
According to projections by Mike O'Connor and Derek Bodner of The Athletic, Shake Milton will be a starter for the Sixers whenever play relaunches.
Milton was thriving for the Sixers when the season was suspended due to COVID-19, and some risk remains that Ben Simmons will bump him from the rotation when the stoppage in play is lifted. In 16 starts with the Sixers, Milton averaged 14.1 points, 2.2 3-pointers, 3.6 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.1 steals. As a 3-pointer specialist along, Milton has earned a slot in 12-team formats, but things are going to be more difficult when he is forced to play off-ball in a fully healthy lineup in Philadelphia
Source: The Athletic
May 31, 2020, 7:42 pmKevin DurantSF, Brooklyn Nets
On a recent ESPN podcast featuring Adrian Wojnarowski and his colleague Zach Lowe, Wojnarowski stated that Kevin Durant (torn Achilles) would not play for the Nets this year.
Wojnarowski went onto say that he had no source that had relayed that information to him. The Nets have largely been deferring to Durant and the medical staff when it comes to his prospects for playing this year. While the organization may get hopeful that KD will lace it up for a playoff run, all signs are still pointing to him waiting until 2020-21.
Source: Anthony Puccio on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 7:43 pmEric GordonSG, Houston Rockets
Rockets guard Eric Gordon has improved his diet, focused on sprints, and has apparently shed 12 pounds in the process, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
Gordon has battled knee ailments for essentially his whole career and has dealt with his fair share of nagging injuries this season as well. Losing weight to create a lighter frame would seem sensible, especially with the knee issues. The Rockets, remember, fully adopted the "small ball" lineup and move fast so Gordon is smart to keep his endurance and fitness at high levels. He's going to have to play well and make shots for the Rockets when the NBA returns to action, otherwise coach Mike D'Antoni won't be able to justify giving Gordon minutes. We don't anticipate much fantasy value out of him if and when the league starts back up.
Source: The Athletic
May 29, 2020, 6:03 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the NBA is planning for a Board of Governors vote on Thursday, during which they are expected to approve Adam Silver's proposal for re-starting the season in Orlando.
The trend lines are all moving in this direction, and this adds another bullet point on the schedule as the league prepares for launching games on July 31. Adam Silver has been able to bridge any divides between ownership and the players, and has been taking into account all his key constituent's views as we approach approval of a plan for moving forward. We still have plenty of items to resolve before we see game action, but the NBA is gaining momentum as these details come into place.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 4:44 pmBradley BealSG, Washington Wizards
On Friday, the Wizards resumed holding voluntary workouts at their practice facilities.
The Wizards have joined a chorus of teams that are returning in limited capacities to their facilities at this point. The NBA as a whole is continuing its march towards the resumption of play with a target date of July 31 now established. The District of Columbia also entered phase one of reopening today, and it makes sense for the team to proceed on a similar trajectory.
Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 4:03 pmJulius RandlePF, New York Knicks
Part of the Knicks' off-season thinking is to shape the roster around RJ Barrett, and it unclear where Julius Randle will fit in those plans.
Barrett and Randle have similar offensive styles, as they typically have an advantage relying upon their strength to attack the basket, but neither has a component deep ball at this stage in their careers. As Barrett is the younger option it makes sense that the Knicks want to sign shooters to give him more space to operate with. Randle's lousy percentages and turnovers has made for a disappointing season with the Knicks thus far, and Barrett will also need to make some strides in the shooting department to become a 12-team asset. Randle is under contract for next season is owed at least $4,000,000 in 2021-22.
May 29, 2020, 3:46 pmJayson TatumSF, Boston Celtics
On Friday, the Celtics' announced that their practice facilities would reopen on June 1.
That leaves us with four NBA teams without access to their facilities. Things are beginning to accelerate throughout the league as teams ramp up activities in hopes of resuming competition in Orlando on July 31. So far so good, but the NBA still has many hurdles to overcome on the path to resuming the season.
Source: Celtics PR on Twitter
May 29, 2020, 3:40 pmRJ BarrettSF, New York Knicks
The Knicks reopened their practice facility for voluntary workouts on Friday.
Another step in the right direction for the NBA's return to action at the end of July. It's still unclear if the Knicks will even be involved in whatever plan is agreed upon, but it is good to learn that the players can now access their facilities in New York. Only five team facilities have not opened up in some capacity at this point.
Source: Knicks PR on Twitter