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.
February 23, 2020, 2:18 pmBen SimmonsPG, Philadelphia Sixers
Ben Simmons (back) will not play vs. the Hawks on Monday and will continue to undergo testing in Philadelphia.
Simmons had an MRI on Saturday night and it seems as though things weren't as good as the 76ers would've hoped. Stay tuned for updates regarding the situation but Alex Burks, Furkan Korkmaz, Raul Neto and or course, Joel Embiid, have the most to gain from this.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
February 23, 2020, 2:15 pmJaren Jackson Jr.PF, Memphis Grizzlies
Jaren Jackson Jr. (sprained knee) will be re-evaluated in two weeks after getting injured in Friday's game.
With JJJ gone, it's basically Brandon Clarke season and if he's somehow available in your league go get him now. On Wednesday Clarke came off of the bench and put up 28 points, six rebounds, two steals and a block on 12-of-14 shooting and there's much more of that on the way.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
February 23, 2020, 2:00 pmDragan BenderPF, Golden State Warriors
Dragan Bender is available to make his Warriors debut on Sunday vs. the Pelicans.
Bender officially signed with the Warriors and he's looking to suit up tonight against the Pelicans. He's still not worth owning anywhere and this whole Warriors team is a dumpster-fire this year.
Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter
February 23, 2020, 1:28 pmMarkelle FultzPG, Orlando Magic
Markelle Fultz (cramp in left calf) has been fully cleared for Monday's game vs. the Nets.
Fultz dropped one of his best games of the season on the Nets back in early January when he had 25 points. He's been a top-110 guy over the past month and is well worth owning everywhere.
Source: John Denton on Twitter
February 23, 2020, 1:20 pmElfrid PaytonPG, New York Knicks
Elfrid Payton (sore right ankle) is being listed as questionable vs. the Rockets on Monday.
This ankle has been bothering him for the past couple of games and it caused him to completely miss Friday's matchup vs. the Pacers. Stay tuned for updates closer to tip-off.
Source: NY Knicks PR on Twitter
February 23, 2020, 1:18 pmFrank NtilikinaPG, New York Knicks
Frank Ntilikina (sore groin) is being listed as questionable for Monday's game vs. the Rockets.
Payton was dealing with a sore right ankle which caused him to miss practice on Saturday and now his groin is also bothering him. Stay tuned for updates closer to tip-off but if he does suit up he'll be worth playing seeing as he's been an upper mid-round guy as of late.
Source: NY Knicks PR on Twitter
February 23, 2020, 1:13 pmMitchell RobinsonC, New York Knicks
Mitchell Robinson (sprained left ankle) is being considered probable coming into Monday's game vs. the Rockets.
He didn't practice on Saturday so it's good to see that he's made enough progress to play just two days later. Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis will take the biggest dip in minutes with Robinson returning.
Source: NY Knicks PR on Twitter
February 23, 2020, 11:45 amBen SimmonsPG, Philadelphia Sixers
Ben Simmons is scheduled for an MRI on his back after leaving Saturday's game.
Simmons lasted just five minutes in Saturday's game after missing Thursday's contest, and was reportedly emotional after leaving the X-ray room in Milwaukee. The Sixers have some level of concern over this problem, but fantasy GMs will just have to sit tight and hope for the best. Alec Burks, Furkan Korkmaz and Raul Neto are the most likely beneficiaries if Simmons has to miss time but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
February 23, 2020, 3:34 amRobin LopezC, Milwaukee Bucks
Robin Lopez made a splash off the bench for the Bucks on Saturday, chipping in 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including two 3s, plus one assist and one block.
Lopez has not made any significant impact in fantasy prior to this solid outing, so he can be left on the worse for now.
February 23, 2020, 3:24 amEric BledsoePG, Milwaukee Bucks
Eric Bledsoe had a productive outing in Saturday’s win over the Sixers with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting, adding eight assists, two treys and four rebounds.
Bledsoe has been looking good as of late, having stabilized with reliable value. The Bucks are in cruise control right now and Bledsoe owners can confidently keep him slotted into their active lineups in all formats.