Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Early Look At Draft & Stash Players

A quick rundown of some of the players with draft rights held by an NBA team that have been making noise early on in Europe this season.  For a full list of rights held players go here.

Sofoklis Schortsanitis (2003-34) made headlines a year ago as he came to Clippers training camp before ultimately returning to Europe.  L.A. traded his rights to Atlanta this season while Big Sofo returned to Greece with Panathinaikos.  The 350 pound plus center has dominated in his first 2 Euroleague appearances by dropping 42 points in just 36 minutes played.  While he may not see the NBA at this point he is just 27 years old and will be an important factor in helping the Greens reclaim dominance.

Bojan Bogdanovic (2011-31) has started nicely in the Turkish league for Fenerbahce Ulker.  He has scored 15.5 per over his first 2 games in Turkey while that drops to 9.0 over his first 2 Euroleague games.  With Fenerbahce currently sitting pretty atop Group A, Bogdanovic should gain some very valuable experience against Europe's best before a possibly relocation to Brooklyn next year.

The kid NBA GMs just named as the second best international player not in the NBA was the 23rd pick in the 2011 draft by Chicago.  Nikola Mirotic has been impressive indeed this season for Real Madrid.  With nearly identical numbers in both the Euroleague and Spain which average out to 15.7 pts & 6.3 reb in 25.3 mins, the only question is how soon the Bulls can bring him over.  He does not become a free agent until the 2017 offseason but does have a hefty 3M euro buyout after every year leaving Chicago a slim opening.

Milan Macvan (2011-54) left Serbian powerhouse Partizan for one of the more exciting Turkish teams this season Galatasaray.  The 22 year old forward is seeing 30 minutes per game so far and has answered with 14 pts, 6.5 reb & 2 stls.  His contract is for 3 years but if Cleveland takes a likely step forward this year they may be inclined to bring the young Croatian over.

The Mavericks have a pair of players that have been impressive early this year.  First is Renaldas Seibutis (2007-50) who has put a young Lietuvos Rytas team on his back in Euroleague play.  His 13.5 pts, 4.5 reb, 4.0 ast & 3.0 stl don't do him justice while his 37 points in 43 minutes of Lithuanian LKL play highlight his scoring ability.  Nick Calathes (2009-45) moved to Russia this year where he is starring for Lokomotiv Kuban.  Through 5 combined game in the Russian PBL & VTB United League he is averaging 16.6 pts, 5.6 reb & 3.2 ast in 33.4 minutes of play.

The Rockets have a plethora of players being seasoned overseas that could possibly join their youthful core.  Furkan Aldermir (2012-53), Jon Diebler (2011-51) & Sergio Llull (2009-34) have had the most noteworthy starts.  Llull helped the Russian national team to a bronze medal at this year's Olympics and in his Euroleague debut for Real Madrid he saw 30 minutes of action with a 15-5-4 line.  Diebler is seeing major minutes for Karsiyaka in Turkey and has put up 17 a game over his first two.  Aldemir is another of Galatasaray's young weapons who has being super productive with 19 pts & 22 reb in just 38 minutes of play.

The Lakers talented young forward Chinemelu Elonu (2009-59) is averaging a 12 & 11 double double early on for Tofas Bursa in just 24 minutes per game.

Minnesota is another team loaded with European talent, a few of whom flirted with training camp invites this season.  Nemanja Bjelica (2010-35) is seeing major minutes for Spanish Euroleague team Caja Laboral and while his stats don't jump out (8.5/3.5 in Euroleague, 9.3/7.0 in ACB), he has been impressive at times.  Lior Eliyahu (2006-44) returned to Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv and is putting up 13 & 8 in 28 minutes over his first two Euroleague games.  Dutch big man Henk Norel (2009-47).  He is averaging 20.3 min, 10.8 pts & 4.0 reb four games into the ACB season for Zaragoza.  Robbie Hummel (2012-58) suffered another knee injury in training camp but will return for Spain's Obradoiro down the line.

The Knicks only rights held player is former St. Joe's standout Ahmad Nivins (2009-56).  He left Belgium for French side Poitiers this year and in his first 3 games has 16 pts & 7.7 reb in 33 min of action.

2 players that Portland picked up in trades this offseason both play for last year's Euroleague champ, Olympiacos.  Georgios Printezis (2007-58) & Kostas Papanikolaou (2012-48) are facing strong competition in Group C early on as they look to repeat.  In 2 games, Printezis has averaged 12 pts in 22 min while the young Papanikolaou has seen limited playing time at just 13.5 min with 5 points per.

The Spurs are another team with many talented players developing abroad.  Marcus Denmon (2012-59) joined French champions Chalon but broke his foot after just one game and will miss at least another month. Erazem Lorbek (2005-46) flirted with coming over this season before returning to Barcelona.  He has seen limited minutes in his 2 Euroleague games but has 20 points in 27 total minutes.

Toronto's Tomislav Zubcic (2012-56) has been productive for Croatian club Cibona thus far in the Adriatic League.  While only seeing 15.8 minutes per over his first 4 games, he has averages of 9.5 pts & 3 rebounds.

Utah's Ante Tomic (2008-44) joined Barcelona and has been a solid low post threat.  His numbers in 2 Euroleague games (22.5 min, 8.5 pts, 7.5 reb) and 4 ACB games (23.5, 13.5 pts, 7.0 reb) indicate his early success.

Tomas Satoransky (2012-32) is another player that nearly joined the NBA this year but settled on returning to Spanish club Cajasol over the Wizards.  In 4 games, he has shown his all around abilities to the tune of 29.8 min, 9.0 pts, 4.5 ast & 3.8 reb.

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