July 13, 2018, 12:28 pm
Welcome back Hoop Ballers to our International Spotlight weekly feature where we will be focusing on the most notable players in Europe this year, some of which have already secured or are looking into securing guaranteed contracts with NBA teams.
Most of the guys we take a look into this week participated in the EuroLeague, the Europe-wide top-tier level professional basketball club competition that has long established itself as the benchmark for basketball outside the NBA. Organized by EuroLeague Basketball, since 2000, for eligible European basketball clubs, the league is so financially stable that approximately 100 players are making as much or more money than the bottom 100 players in the NBA.
EuroLeague teams (along with EuroCup and FIBA Basketball Champions League teams, the other major European leagues) also compete in domestic competition each week during the season so the schedule starts in October and often ends in June, with grueling travel across the continent, daily practices and more than 50 games throughout the year.
With a tight free agent market this summer NBA teams are placing more and more value on veterans who have succeeded at the highest levels overseas. Most rookies aren’t ready to contribute immediately while NBA vets with name recognition can command contracts that are disproportionate to the value they bring on the court thus opening the door to minimum deals for guys like Shane Larkin and Daniel Theis in recent years.
Signed by NBA teams
Brad Wanamaker, SG, 28 years old, Boston Celtics
11.5 points, 3.5 assists, 2.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals on 45/39/83 splits in 69 games with Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey last year.
Wanamaker was named the 2018 Turkish BSL League Finals MVP for the second time in four years while also helping Fenerbahce reach the EuroLeague Final Four before falling to Luka Doncic and Real Madrid. He is a Philly basketball legend who played at the University of Pittsburgh and then half a season in the D-League before heading over to Europe where he has been very successful for the last six seasons. At 6’4” with a 6’8” wingspan, Wannamaker is a well-built versatile player who played on and off the ball while defending across the perimeter. A system guy who can score from anywhere in the court, he is a good but not a great shooter who doesn’t have much pull-up ability but is able to shoot off the catch if you leave him open. I can’t wait to see how Brad Stevens integrates him in a loaded Celtics’ backcourt.
Ryan Broekhoff, SF, 27 years old, Dallas Mavericks
10.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals on 53/49/89 splits in 32 games with PBC Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia last season.
Broekhoff is an excellent addition to a Mavs team that has one of the best international scouting departments. The 27-year-old sharpshooter has spent the past five seasons in Europe and at 6’7”, he possesses great size and length, allowing him to interchange between forward positions, providing the Mavs with added depth on the wing.
Isaiah Briscoe, PG, 22 years old, Orlando Magic
22.0 points, 4.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals on 45/37/72 splits in 16 games with BC Kalev-Cramo in Russia last year.
Kyrie Irving’s cousin won the VTB United League Young Player of the Year award which is given to the league’s best player under 23 years of age. Despite being just 6’3”, he is a strong combo guard who plays a tough and physical game and excels on the defensive end but shooting will determine whether he can play at the NBA level. The point guard situation in Orlando will be one to monitor this year and there is a slight chance Briscoe emerges with fantasy value deep in the season.
Pursuing an NBA deal
Will Clyburn, SF, 28 years old
11.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals on 47/41/70 splits in 64 games with CSKA Moscow in Russia last season.
The athletic forward can do pretty much everything on the court. He sets up plays for himself, scores after a dribble, has a consistent outside shot, runs the court with ease and provides important help in the game over the rim, being one of the best rebounders in his position. The former Iowa State Cyclone has really developed his game and is a prototypical long, lanky two-way wing who could be back in the NBA sooner than later.
Stanton Kidd, SF/PF, 26 years old
6.4 points, 3.6 rebounds on 49/39/80 splits in 48 games with Darussafaka Basketbol Istanbul in Turkey last year.
Kidd is another intriguing two-way player with legit size and athleticism who can shoot with confidence. He moves well without the ball and finds a way to get himself open but more importantly he has the tenacity and quickness to guard multiple positions, whether it’s locking down on an opponent along the perimeter or in the post. The 26-year-old forward from Colorado State is averaging 12.3 points and 3.5 rebounds for the Jazz in Summer League and the team is reportedly looking to sign him, presumably to a two-way deal.
James Nunnally, SG, 27 years old
10.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists on 53/51/89 splits in 56 games with Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey last year.
Nunnally reportedly wants a guaranteed contract and a chance to play and if he doesn’t find this kind of deal, he will return to Fenerbahce or another Euro powerhouse. Former Cavs coach David Blatt is making a strong push to sign him with Olympiacos in Greece but Nunnally and the Rockets held a meeting at the beginning of July. The 2017 EuroLeague and Turkish League champion has drawn attention from ten playoff teams, six from the Western conference and four from the East, while a non-playoff team also has Nunnally on its radar and he already worked out privately for the Blazers a few days ago. After years toiling in the D-League and in a handful of international leagues, the 27-year-old UC Santa Barbara product emerged on Fenerbahce as arguably Europe’s best 3-and-D wing. Nunnally spent every July from 2012 through 2016 on an NBA Summer League roster, after playing in the D-League during his first two years out of UCSB, earning all-rookie and all-league honors.
Anthony Randolph, PF/C, 28 years old
8.2 points, 3.1 rebounds on 45/32/72 splits in 49 games with Real Madrid in Spain last season.
Randolph has been drawing interest from multiple NBA teams and it’s a possibility that he could return to the NBA this coming season after a great year with Real Madrid and the national Slovenian team, adding the kind of much-improved jump shot he never showed in his six NBA seasons. He appeared to be in the exit door of Real Madrid a few weeks ago but it seems that he will remain with the reigning EuroLeague champions next season even though he still has an NBA buyout clause in his contract.
Alexey Shved, SG, 29 years old
22.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.2 steals on 42/32/82 splits in 58 games with Khimki in Russia last season.
Shved had a stunning EuroLeague season earning the EuroLeague Alphonso Ford Top Scorer award and even though he signed the biggest contract in Europe last summer, he has an NBA out option and there is already interest and discussions with a couple teams from the NBA. He has has clarified to his agents that he wants to return to the NBA and prove he can stand out there, but that will only happen if a proposal meets his financial demands as well.
Chris Singleton, PF, 28 years old
9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.0 steals on 43/42/76 splits in 67 games with Panathinaikos in Greece.
Singleton wasn’t as good as he was in the 2016-2017 season but he was still better than most of his compatriots in the EuroLeague. He maintained his numbers at a high level hitting 46 percent of his shots from the 6.75 line in the Euroleague, evolving into an extremely dangerous modern stretch four, forcing rival big men to constantly follow him. Singleton has rejected offers from Panathinaikos, CSKA Moscow, Fenerbahce and Efes and looks poised to return to the NBA.
Axel Toupane, SG, 25 years old
7.2 points, 2.4 rebounds on 49/38/76 splits in 76 games with Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania.
Toupane has started private workouts for NBA teams since last week, pursuing a free-agent deal. He is a 6’7” shooting/defending wing with prior NBA experience that helped lead Zalgiris to Euroleague Final Four this year and has played for the Pelicans, the Bucks and the Nuggets in recent years.
Aaron White, PF, 25 years old
8.4 points, 4.4 rebounds on 56/39/71 splits in 81 games with Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania.
The Wizards are currently in talks with Aaron White, the 49th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft who is under contract with Zalgiris for the next season but has NBA out clause that he can exercise until the middle of July. White is coming off of his most successful pro season to date and was a key contributor for Zalgiris Kaunas, who made it all the way to the Euroleague Final Four this season. The Wizards could definitely use more athleticism and youthful depth in their frontcourt and the former University of Iowa star projects to be a stretch-four who can rebound and make plays above the rim.
Thank you for reading this article and please make sure to check us out throughout the summer. Stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.