• Welcome back and happy Friday Hoop-Ballers! We will be taking a look into all the international players that were selected or went undrafted last Thursday in New York, but please allow me to make some early observations first.

    Even though international players dominated the NBA awards this year with Giannis winning the MVP trophy, Rudy Gobert taking home the Defensive Player of the Year award, Pascal Siakam becoming the league’s Most Improved Player and Luka Doncic almost unanimously getting selected as the Rookie of the Year, it seems that, surprisingly, the NBA has fallen out of love with European players. Not even one European was selected in the lottery while the NBA is trending away from traditional centers and there were only a couple guys drafted in the first round – one of them by the Spurs, who traditionally like taking a flier on players from overseas.

    International players on college teams, meanwhile, seem to be gaining momentum as teams appreciate their familiarity with the American culture and are more open to giving them a chance instead of waiting for them to get acclimated after a couple years.

    Here are all the international guys on this year’s draft class:

    Rui Hachimura, Japan (21 years old, PF, 6’9” 235 lbs) – No. 9 by the Wizards 

    Hachimura officially became the first Japanese-born player to get selected in the NBA draft and he steps in a somewhat odd situation where a depleted Wizards squad might have to lean on him more than it is expected for a rookie.

    Rui is a high-character kid and a talented offensive player who was able to increase his percentages in each of his three seasons at Gonzaga. Although he isn’t a high-volume perimeter shooter yet, his stroke looks good and it should translate nicely to the next level.

    The Wizards seem to like his motor and energy and all signs point to him becoming a contributor immediately even though the kid lacks the defensive fundamentals and might have a hard time playing against bigger opponents at the NBA level.

    Fantasy impact: Conservatively high; potential for standard-league value from the start

    Sekou Doumbouya, France (18 years old, SF/PF, 6’9” 220lbs) – No. 15 by the Pistons

    It took a while for the French forward to hear his name on draft night but I really like how he ended up with a team that has a need for his skills. The Pistons can absolutely use the extra shooting and the defensive versatility he offers and his development will be the main focus of a franchise that will be looking to move on from Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson and maybe Andre Drummond in the upcoming years.

    Sekou possesses as much upside as anyone outside of the top three picks in this draft and he has the potential to average a steal, a block and a three right off the bat but a lot will depend on his ability to stay on the floor and not drive Dwane Casey crazy with his rookie mistakes.

    Fantasy impact: High upside; unlikely to hold standard-league value right away

    Goga Bitadze, Republic of Georgia (20 years old, C, 6’11”, 250lbs) – No. 18 by the Pacers

    Bitadze is probably one of, if not the most skilled offensive big man in this year’s draft and I really like his landing spot. The Pacers could absolutely use his offensive skills as Goga can finish near the rim with either hand and step back with a soft jumper.

    The Georgian center lacks lateral quickness and it’s almost certain that he will struggle defending the pick-and-roll action but he has a reported 7’3” wingspan and 9’2” standing reach and has shown the ability to be an elite shot-blocker.

    We’ll have to wait and see if the Pacers are able to re-sign Thaddeus Young this summer but Bitadze could provide a nice spark off the bench immediately.

    Fantasy impact: Moderate; dependent on playing time but solid upside

    Luka Samanic, Croatia (19 years old, PF/C, 6’10” 215 lbs) – No. 19 by the Spurs

    The lanky Croatian was able to cash in on his strong pre-draft workouts as the Spurs, a franchise that traditionally invests in European guys, opted to reach for him. Samanic has all the physical tools to be successful in the modern NBA game thanks to his size, fluid shooting stroke, play-making ability and athleticism.

    He can shoot and handle much better than most players at his size but he needs to spend more time at the gym and gain some strength. The Spurs confirmed that he will be coming to San Antonio this year and Luka will have to silence questions about his toughness and mentality, but don’t be surprised if the kid is a starter in a couple years.

    Projection: Moderate upside; long-term option only

    Bruno Fernando, Angola (20 years old, PF/C, 6’10” 240lbs) – No. 34 by the Hawks

    Fernando is a tremendous catch by the Hawks in the second round as the Angolan center was one of the most improved players in college basketball from his freshman to sophomore year.

    He is long, bouncy, strong and fast while I believe he can immediately become an NBA-level rebounder. He projects as an excellent pick-and-roll defender, an ideal fit defensively in today’s small ball NBA, while he is far from a complete offensive player and will not command double-teams in the post.

    With Dewayne Dedmon unlikely to return and Alex Len the only option for the Hawks in the middle I’d expect Fernando to earn minutes in the Hawks rotation.

    Fantasy impact: Conservatively moderate; specialist value

    Marcos “Didi” Louzada Silva, Brazil (20 years old, SG/SF, 6’6” 198 lbs) – No. 35 by the Pelicans

    The Pelicans were loaded with first-round picks and Didi looks like the ideal stash candidate for them. The 6’5” guard projects as shooting specialist and the word from New Orleans is that he won’t come over to the Pelicans right away but will stay with his team overseas. If that proves to be the case, he is only a stash candidate in deep dynasty leagues.

    Fantasy impact: N/A

    Deividas Sirvydis, Lithuania (18 years old, SG/SF, 6’9” 195lbs) – No. 37 by the Pistons

    The Pistons went with an international selection in the second round as well and they opted for another young shooter. Syrvidis has an impressive shooting stroke and even though he lacks experience his upside is considerable since he has above average playmaking/ballhandling skills.

    Fantasy impact: Conservatively moderate; specialist value

    Alen Smailagic, Serbia (18 years old, PF, 6’10 215) – No. 39 by the Warriors

    Smailagic proved to be the least kept secret in the days leading to the draft as the Warriors traded for No. 39 fearing that someone would grab the Serbian big who was playing with their G-League affiliate this year. The team looks to be as high as anyone else on him and he projects as a defensive big but needs to probably spend a couple more years in the G-League learning the NBA game and developing his weak frame.

    Fantasy impact: Stash candidate for dynasty owners; unlikely to play this year

    Ignas Brazdeikis, Lithuania/Canada (20 years old, 6’7” 215 lbs), No. 47 by the Knicks

    Iggy is the type of player that has always played with a chip on his shoulder and that will be case at the NBA level as well, while Knicks fans will likely fall in love with his character. Brazdeikis plays with a lot of passion and is not scared to throw his body all over the court while he is a good shooter and slasher.

    The Knicks project to be one of the worst teams of the league next year so it’s possible that the rookie gets plenty of minutes to somehow become fantasy relevant. Think how Allonzo Trier was able to crack the rotation and earn some value last year.

    Fantasy impact: Conservatively moderate; could have value from the start

    Vanja Marinkovic, Serbia (21 years old, SG/SF, 6’5” 195 lbs) – No. 60 by the Kings

    Marinkovic could be the next Serbian player to play in the NBA after Vlade Divac made him the final pick of the 2019 NBA Draft. The rookie has been adamant about his desire to play for the Kings and he has a modest buyout clause so it’s likely that we see him soon. It’s not a lock that he is able to make the Kings roster though.

    Fantasy impact: Low upside; specialist value

    Summer League invites

    Sagaba Konate, Mali (22 years old, PF, 6’8”, 250 lbs) – On an Exhibit 10 deal with the Raptors

    Konate only played in eight games this season for the West Virginia Mountaineers due to a right knee injury and ended up undrafted even though he was named to the All-Big 12 third team, Big 12 All-Defensive team and the Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America team last year.

    Signing as an undrafted free agent will not guarantee him a roster spot, but he will get the opportunity to showcase himself in Summer League. Konate has sleeper potential and owners should take notice simply because this is a Masai Ujiri pick.

    Fantasy impact: Conservatively moderate; specialist value

    William McDowell-White (Australia, 21 years old, PG, 6’5” 185 lbs) – On an Exhibit 10 deal with the Rockets

    McDowell-White will link up with the Rockets after signing an Exhibit 10 deal for Summer League.

    Fantasy impact: N/A

    Jaylen Hoard, France (20 years old, SF/PF, 6’8 215 lbs), On a two-way deal with the Blazers

    The young Frenchman has the physical tools to develop into a 3-and-D player in the league and the Blazers were smart to immediately sign him to a two-way deal following the conclusion of the draft.

    Fantasy impact: Stash candidate for dynasty owners; unlikely to play this year

    Christ Koumadje, Chad (22 years old, C, 7’4” 265 lbs) – Will play in Summer League with the Sixers

    Koumadje is an extremely raw prospect as he started playing basketball when he was 15 years old and he has a lot to learn. He was part of the Sixers pre-draft workouts on June 7th and Marc Eversly, the team’s Senior VP of Player Personnel, viewed him as a standout at that particular session, pointing towards the big man’s defense.

    He is going be on the Sixers’ Summer League roster and a spot on the G-League team looks to be on the horizon.

    Fantasy impact: Low upside; unlikely to play this year

    Chris Silva, Gabon (22 years old, F/C, 6’9” 225 lbs) – Will play in Summer League with the Heat

    Silva, a two-time All-SEC selection and the league’s co-defensive player of the year in 2018, totaled over 1,500 points, 870 rebounds and 185 blocks in his college career. Though he wasn’t popping up on mock drafts, Silva will participate with the Heat in Summer League.

    Fantasy impact: N/A

    Undrafted with murky NBA future

    Adam Mokoka, 20 years old, PG/SG, 6’5” 213 lbs, France

    The LNB’s Pro A Best Young Player in 2018 failed to get drafted and the word out of France is that he was extremely disappointed after spending the last couple seasons preparing for a move to the NBA. He is a very capable defender who should generate some interest for teams looking to add players to their Summer League rosters but it looks like he will be heading back to Europe next year.

    Joshua Obiesie, 19 years old, G, 6’6” 190 lbs, Germany

    An athletic, lefty combo guard who has split time at point guard, shooting guard and even small forward, he will try to impress teams participating in the FIBA U-20 Championship.

    Yovel Zoosman, 20 years old, SG/SF, 6’6” 198 lbs, Israel

    Zoosman, who was not selected in Thursday’s draft, is focused on landing with an NBA team despite a four-year offer on the table from Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv. He may need to spend time in the G-League and the 21-year-old could attract someone into giving him a shot.

    Matur Maker, 21 years old, 6’10” 210 lbs PF, South Sudan

    Maker worked out with the Lakers, Bulls, Wizards, Bucks, Hawks, Blazers, Pistons, and Hornets and will stay in the US, potentially joining the G-League. Look for the Pistons to add him to their Summer League roster as a courtesy to his brother Thon.

    Names to keep an eye on

    Karim Jallow, 22 years old, SF, 6’7” 206 lbs, Germany

    Yago Dos Santos (Paulistano, NBB of Brazil), 20 years old, PG, 5’ 10” 175 lbs, Brazil

    Matas Jogela, 21 years old, SG/SF, 6’7” 190lbs, Lithuania

    David Okeke, 21 years old, SF, 6’8” 205 lbs, Nigeria/Italy

    Laurynas Birutis, 21 years old, C, 7’1” 214 lbs, Lithuania

    Thank you for reading this article and please make sure to check us out for the upcoming Free Agency special. Stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.

Fantasy News

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Shams Charania is reporting that Victor Oladipo will sit out the remainder of the Pacers' season.

    Oladipo decided to exercise caution as his quad tendon is still susceptible to a relapse, and the circumstances of the Orlando bubble are anything but predictable. It's a big hit to the Pacers chances when play resumes, but Oladipo should be close to 100 percent next year as he continues his rehab and seeks to further strengthen his quad tendon. This season was a flop as he only appeared in 13 games, but Oladipo should be looking to return fully recovered and seeking early-round value next year. The Pacers will continue leaning on their depth to fill the void, and Malcolm Brogdon will continue to be the lead guard running the show in Indiana.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Jimmy Butler
    SG, Miami Heat

    After a second member of the Heat tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the team practice facilities have been closed to all activities, with an exception for testing.

    Derrick Jones Jr. had tested positive earlier in the week, and it has not been reported who the latest player to test positive for the coronavirus is. This is a precautionary measure that many teams are undertaking as they prepare to shift operations to the Orlando bubble. The Heat will resume team activities there on July 8.

    Source: Ethan J Skolnick on Twitter

  • Gordon Hayward
    SF, Boston Celtics

    Both Gordon Hayward and Vincent Poirier plan to leave the NBA bubble in September, when their respective partners are set to give birth.

    Both are expected to be given permission to leave the bubble and will be able to return after a four-day quarantine. If the league's plans play out, September will be right in the thick of the playoffs, so it's unfortunate timing for the team even though it's the right decision for Hayward. It's something to keep in mind if you're planning to play fantasy games through the postseason.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    The Clippers closed their practice facility in a precautionary move after a member of their Orlando traveling party tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

    This seems like something that will continue to happen as we prepare to move teams into the Orlando bubble. We'll keep an eye on whether any specific player is infected and how that will impact the restart plans for this team.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Stephen Curry
    PG, Golden State Warriors

    According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, the NBA is close to signing off on a secondary bubble location in Chicago for the eight teams left out of the league resumption with a target date of September.

    They went on to say that this bubble would allow those eight teams who were not invited to Orlando to have an opportunity to have mini-training camps as well as games. It has been reported throughout the last few months that the teams that were not invited should have an opportunity to prepare for next season. Many of the teams who were not included would benefit greatly from additional practice time and game reps as most of these teams have young players who need to continue to develop their skills. There will still be a lot of logistics that need to be ironed out so this a situation to monitor as we learn more.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Marvin Bagley III
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    Marvin Bagley confirmed that he is "ready to go" for the NBA restart in Orlando after rehabbing from a left foot sprain.

    It was previously reported in early July that the Kings' training staff believed that Bagley would be available for game action soon and this report confirms that Bagley will in fact be available for the league resumption. Bagley has yet to live up to the hype of the second overall pick in 2018 as he has only been able to play in 75 out of a possible 146 games (51.3 percent). It is unclear what role Bagley will have in Orlando but it appears that his injury woes are behind him and we will learn more about his ability during the league resumption. Bagley's return would likely cut into the playing time of Nemanja Bjelica, Harry Giles, Jabari Parker and Harrison Barnes.

    Source: Sean Cunningham on Twitter

  • Jusuf Nurkic
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    In a conference call with Portland media, Terry Stotts revealed that Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins are likely to return to their starting jobs and won't be under minutes restrictions when the NBA resumes.

    It should be a huge defensive lift for a Blazers squad that gave up points like crazy, though this will throw a wrench into plans for DFS players. Stotts mentioned that he's considered starting Nurkic next to current starter Hassan Whiteside, though that fit would likely only be tenable in certain matchups. This, plus news of Trevor Ariza's absence during the restart, also has big effects on the wing rotation, where it sounds like Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr. are competing to start with Nassir Little and Mario Hezonja also in the mix off the bench. This is a big blow to Hassan Whiteside's fantasy appeal — a top-15 player in 31.3 mpg this year– as his minutes should sink into the mid twenties. Anyone participating in a short league that covers the restart may want to view Whiteside as more of a middle-round, blocks specialist type, though this all obviously hinges on how Nurkic and Collins look when games begin.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Devin Booker
    SG, Phoenix Suns

    Monty Williams said that he wants to play Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio less than their typical minute allotment when the NBA resumes in Orlando.

    The Suns have extremely slim playoff hopes and Williams doesn't want to risk one of the team's starting guards sustaining an injury in what amounts to a meaningless game. Expect similar moves from plenty of teams who realistically have no shot at the playoffs, even if they don't declare as much publicly. Anyone playing fantasy games for the eight-game restart should familiarize themselves with the depth charts on such teams and maybe downgrade some of the bigger names in case their minutes are limited.

    Source: Valley Tales

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Out of 344 players tested between June 24-29, nine have tested positive for COVID-19.

    That brings the NBA up to 25 positive cases among players since June 23 testing began, a positive rate of 7.1%. 10 out of 884 staff members have also tested positive. How the NBA handles any potential spread of the virus inside the Orlando bubble will make or break their entire plan.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Jontay Porter
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said that rookie Jontay Porter may be available for games in the Orlando bubble.

    Porter missed the entire 2018-19 college season after suffering a knee injury and hasn't suited up as a pro, so if he accompanies the Grizzlies to Orlando it'll be more for the experience than actual playing time. His college numbers were intriguing but Porter is only of consequence in deep dynasty formats for now.

    Source: Daily Memphian