July 26, 2019, 7:01 pm
Happy Friday Hoop Ballers and welcome back to our offseason International Spotlight feature where we will be taking a look at the international rookies that participated in the NBA Summer League.
Many fantasy leagues will soon be conducting their rookie draft, so I hope my article can operate as a preview of what should be expected from this year’s international class. This was a deep and talented class and I expect a lot of the rookies to develop into rotation pieces in the near future.
Many of the top rookies sat out this Summer League for various reasons but there were still a lot of international guys that showed up and either put their name in the map or simply enjoyed a few competitive games while working on areas that needed improvement.
You can check my report from last week on some of the sophomores and summer league veterans here.
Bruno Fernando, Atlanta Hawks, C
4.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 3.3 blocks on 31 percent shooting in 3 games and 26.7 minutes per contest
Fernando missed the Hawks’ first Summer League game because the draft day trade that sent to Atlanta in exchange for three second-round draft picks wasn’t approved by the league office in time. The Angolan center impressed with his energy and shot-blocking ability, finishing second in blocks per game in Las Vegas at 3.3, but his offensive game is still a work in progress. Alex Len hasn’t proved to be a reliable option, so I can see Fernando getting minutes to start the season, especially since the Hawks struggled with rim protection last year.
Tacko Fall, Boston Celtics, C
7.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks on 77 percent shooting in 5 games and 12.6 minutes per contest
Tacko took the event by storm as a fan favorite and the Celtics signed him to a training camp deal, plus there is a path for him to make the roster since Boston waived former first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele. The giant center dominated against his opponents in Vegas but he can’t stretch the floor at all and he has been a horrific free throw shooter his entire career, making it hard to keep him on the floor as teams would be able to easily apply the Hack-a-Tack strategy.
Adam Mokoka, Chicago Bulls, G (two-way contract)
9.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steal on 44 percent shooting in 5 games and 28.8 minutes per contest
Mokoka had a nice performance in Las Vegas, showing his versatility on both sides of the floor after going undrafted in June. He is a big combo guard and knows how to use his body in order to attack the basket while it was obvious that his experience playing in the Adriatic League has paid dividends. The French kid could become a defensive force, similar to Pat Beverley, and it will be interesting to see what kind of a development plan the Bulls have for him.
Sekou Doumbouya, Detroit Pistons, SF/PF
9.0 points and 2.0 rebounds on 43 percent shooting in just 1 game and 13.0 minutes
Sekou only played 13 minutes due to a right hamstring injury, but he looked like he has an NBA body and ran the floor very well. His jumper is very smooth while he struggled with on-ball defense and the Pistons will likely try to ease him in as he makes the transition to the majors.
Deividas Sirvydis, Detroit Pistons, SF/PF
1.8 points and 0.6 rebounds on 38 percent shooting in 5 games and 6.8 minutes per contest
Sirvydis looked raw in Las Vegas but this is expected since he is about to turn 19. He has a lean frame but he is long and he should be able to put on some muscle in the next few years. It’s still unclear whether he will spend next season in his native Lithuania or with the Grand Rapids Drive of the G League, but he showed the ability to knock down the 3-point shot and the Pistons really like his potential.
Alen Smailagic, Golden State Warriors, PF/C
8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.5 blocks on 41 percent shooting in 4 games and 22.5 minutes per contest
Smailagic is a very interesting prospect but he will need time before he is ready to step on the court and become a regular contributor. The kid knew almost no English when he arrived from Serbia last year and he is still adjusting to the cultural and basketball differences but he looks poised to succeed and the Warriors are very high on him.
As for the scouting report, he has a decent outside shot and elevation at the rim even though he doesn’t possess elite size or the athleticism so he projects as a stretch big who uses his basketball IQ to compensate for the lack of physical gifts.
Mfiondu Kabengele, LA Clippers, PF/C
17.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 1.50 blocks on 41 percent shooting in 4 games and 26.0 minutes per contest
Kabengele was impressive in his Summer League debut but the truth of the matter is that he proved to be a better offensive talent than a defensive presence. The Clippers are invested in Iviza Zubac and also have Montrezl Harrell and JaMychal Green in their frontcourt, but there are still some minutes available for the rookie and he will just have to prove that he is able to stay on the floor.
His interior defense and rotations were atrocious at times and he was exposed in space, blocking shots only because of his height, but maybe he can develop into a help rim protector.
Ignas Brazdeikis, New York Knicks, SF
15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks on 51 percent shooting in 5 games and 26.8 minutes per contest
Brazdeikis was one of the revelations of Summer League, showcasing an odd mix of skill and aggression. The key for him is clearly the long-range efficiency and even though he surprised many people by shooting the lights out in Las Vegas, I highly doubt he maintains his high percentages in the regular season. The Lithuanian swingman is not an athlete but he plays with a lot of fire and toughness, something that will likely make him a favorite of David Fizdale in New York.
Marcos “Didi” Louzada Silva, Brazil, SG/SF
11.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks on 44 percent shooting in 4 games and 27.0 minutes per contest
Didi played with great composure and looked like he belonged while facing NBA-type competition, including many experienced opponents. The Pelicans are already loaded so they decided to let him continue developing by playing in Australia with the Sidney Kings next year.
Christ Koumadje, Philadelphia Sixers, C (On an Exhibit 10 deal)
6.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks on 63 percent shooting in 5 games and 13.6 minutes per contest
The Chadian big man capitalized on his opportunity and with a rare combination of size and quickness he earned himself a training camp deal, and maybe more with the Sixers. He has his limitations but was able to hold his ground and run the floor very well and with Boban Marjanovic out of town he could earn a spot on the roster as an insurance big man.
Jaylen Hoard, Portland Blazers, SF/PF (On a two-way contract)
8.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.6 steals on 55 percent shooting in 5 games and 22.4 minutes per contest
Hoard was a quiet yet impressive presence at Summer League, mainly due to his ability to show a great feel for the game while being in the right place at the right time. He outperformed Nassir Little, the Blazers’ first-round pick, and while I don’t think his ceiling is as high as Little’s, he is much more polished right now. The Blazers seem to have a plan for him and he could end up being a steal as a 3-and-D bench player.
Luka Samanic, San Antonio Spurs, SF
10.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals on 35 percent shooting in 3 games and 24.7 minutes per contest
Samanic impressed NBA teams with his ballhandling and playmaking ability and he was able to validate these skills in Summer League as one of the youngest guys in Vegas. His offensive game is skilled enough to stay on the floor and become a threat but the lack of strength is the main issue and the Spurs will likely take their time with him. I don’t expect him to see the floor too much this year but he should be stashed in deep dynasty leagues.
Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards, PF
19.3 points, 7.0 rebounds 0.7 assists and 1.7 blocks on 50 percent shooting in 3 games and 31.7 minutes per contest
The Wizards didn’t hesitate to make Hachimura a lottery pick, contrary to plenty of scouts who saw him as an one-dimensional talent, but the ex-Gonzaga star didn’t disappoint, flashing a smooth-looking jumper and putting his mark on the defensive end of the floor. The Japanese-born power forward wasn’t considered a reliable perimeter shooter but he showed an expanded range and an overall understanding of his strengths and limitations during Summer League. He is a great kid and a late bloomer so I do expect him to surprise a lot of people in his rookie season.
Thank you for reading this week’s article and please make sure to check Bruski’s 2019 Free Agency Tracker for all the transactions that have reshaped the league in recent weeks. Stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.