• 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.

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