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Old 04-30-2007, 06:31 AM   #1
Liberalo
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Default OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...




Cheick Samb, remember that guy? The dude we traded for Mo Evans?

Apparently now he's gotten so good that Chad Ford listed him as one of the top 10 best international prospects in the world.

Quote:
The 10 best international NBA prospectsBy Chad Ford
ESPN.com
Archive

With a number of international players taking dominant roles in the NBA, the stigma of being a "foreign" basketball player is slowly wearing away.

I first started covering the international phenomenon in 2002, when I traveled to Italy to watch the Euroleague Final Four in Bologna. I was there to watch two international stars who were thinking about making the jump to the NBA -- Manu Ginobili and Marko Jaric. They played together in the same backcourt and wowed me with the sophistication of their games.

The next day I traveled by train to Treviso to check out an 18-year-old prospect that local coach Mike D'Antoni (yes, that Mike D'Antoni) was promoting -- Nikoloz Tskitishvili.

You know how things have gone -- Ginobili is amazing . . . Jaric has been so-so . . . Skita was a bust.

Over the next few years I traveled around Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Russia watching prospects work their way toward the NBA.

Some of the players I scouted overseas are making their mark on the NBA -- Ginobili, Andres Nocioni, Boris Diaw, Nenad Krstic, Leandro Barbosa, Andrea Bargnani, Anderson Varejao, Jose Calderon, Thabo Sefalosha and Andris Biedrins. The jury is still out on others like Darko Milicic, Mickael Pietrus, Carlos Delfino, Sasha Pavlovic, Ersan Ilayasova and Sergio Rodriguez. And yes, there have been a few high-profile busts like Skita, Pavel Podkolzine and Yaroslav Korolev along the way.

What's undeniable is that international players have made a significant impact on the league this decade. Given the hundreds of thousands of dollars NBA teams are now spending in international scouting budgets, we can expect the trend to continue to grow.

In that spirit, I spoke with several NBA scouts and executives to get a feel for "The Next 10" -- the future league stars from the international game.

Some are international veterans. Some are draft eligible for the 2007 NBA Draft. And a couple are exciting young prospects who will be eligible in the future.

1. Yi Jianlian, F, China
Yi has been generating tremendous buzz from international scouts this year as the next "It" player from overseas. He's been dominant for the Guangdong Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association this season, averaging 24.8 points per game and 11.4 rebounds while shooting 57 percent from the field.

Like Yao Ming, Yi has great size for his position. He's a 7-footer, but unlike Yao, Yi is an excellent athlete who runs up and down the floor, spots up for 3-pointers and loves to deliver huge dunks on the fast break. In that way, Yi is more like last year's No. 1 pick, Bargnani, than he is Yao.

Yi has been cleared by his team to enter the NBA draft this year. A number of teams have him ranked as the third-best prospect in the draft, right behind Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.

Next season, his impact on the NBA should be felt across the globe.


2. Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain
Rubio and Yi are widely regarded as the best basketball prospects outside the U.S.

The difference? Rubio is only 16 years old. (Yi is officially listed at 19 but believed by some to be older.)

Already, Rubio is playing 18 minutes per game on a Euroleague team (DVK Joventut in Spain) and has become a hero on YouTube.

Rubio is a incredibly gifted 6-4 point guard who has a sixth sense with the ball in his hands. His basketball IQ for a player his age is amazing, and he doesn't lack for confidence.

His body obviously needs time to develop -- but almost everyone's does at that age -- and his outside jumper is inconsistent.

But no international player has generated this much buzz at such a young age since Milicic in 2002. Rubio won't be eligible for the NBA draft until 2009, but that hasn't stopped scouts from raving about his sophisticated game.

Every scout who has seen him play believes he's a potential No. 1 pick in the draft if he continues his development.

3. Nicolas Batum, F, France
Batum is the latest in a growing line of French players -- after Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Mickael Pietrus, Johan Petro, et al. -- who have made NBA scouts drool.

He had his coming-out party in early April at the Nike Hoop Summit in Memphis, where he slashed and shot his way to 23 points against several elite American high school players, including O. J. Mayo and Derrick Rose.

Batum appears to be the real deal -- kind of an international version of Rudy Gay. At 18 years of age and standing 6-8, Batum already is an elite athlete with an NBA body and an impressive 7-1 wingspan. He can run the floor and get to the basket off the dribble. He also showed a better-than-expected shooting stroke at the Hoop Summit, going 3-for-5 from 3-point range.

Batum hasn't played much in France this year (he's averaging just 4.3 points per game in 13 minutes), but his excellent play in summer events and his Memphis performance mean that most NBA scouts and executives have him ranked as the best available NBA prospect in Europe and a potential lottery pick in this year's draft.

4. Danilo Gallinari, G/F, Italy
Gallinari comes from a basketball family and has been watched closely by scouts since he appeared at the Reebok Eurocamp two years ago.

He's an all-around player who already has an excellent feel for the game at age 18. His basketball IQ, passing and slashing ability stand out, along with the fact that he's getting major minutes and scoring 10.1 ppg on one of the best teams in Italy (Armani Jeans Milano).

Many believe he's a better long-term prospect than Bargnani, and he's commonly compared to Toni Kukoc. Right now his game is more suited for Europe than the NBA.

He's unlikely to declare for the 2007 NBA Draft, but will get some consideration as a potential lottery pick in the 2008 draft if he declares next year.

5. Tiago Splitter, F/C, Brazil
Though he's only 22, we've being hearing Splitter's name associated with the NBA draft for years. He was on the radar screen back in 2002 when he played for the Brazilian national team and held his own against Team USA. This year he's in the draft to stay.

For several years he's been a solid but unspectacular staple for one of the top two or three teams in Europe, Tau Ceramica. This year he's averaging 10.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in 24 minutes per game.

Splitter has size, good mobility and a defensive mind-set, but his offense hasn't come around the way NBA teams had hoped.

Though his numbers in Spain won't wow anyone, he is currently playing the best ball of his career and has helped lead Tau back into the Euroleague Final Four. With a great showing there, Splitter could be a lottery pick. Either way he should be, at the very least, a solid backup big man in the pros.

6. Theodoros Papaloukas, PG, Greece
Some fans will remember Papaloukas for his major role in Greece's defeat of Team USA in the 2006 World Championship.

At age 30, Papaloukas is widely considered the best veteran international player not in the NBA. Andreas Nocioni and Anthony Parker are among those who have held that unofficial title in the past, so Papaloukas has to be taken seriously.

While his numbers won't blow you away -- 9.2 ppg and 5.2 apg in 24 mpg for CSKA Moscow -- he's a steady playmaker who's got a sweet outside stroke. He'd be perfect in the Lakers' triangle offense and likely would have a Jorge Garbajosa-like effect on any team that he would join.

The big question is whether he'd be willing to give up a starring role on one of the best teams in Europe to be a role player in the NBA. Some players such as Garbajosa have thrived after making that decision, while others like Sarunas Jasikevicius have found disappointment in the NBA.

7. Ante Tomic, C, Croatia
Sometimes compared to Vlade Divac and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Tomic might be the most fundamentally skilled 7-footer in Europe at the moment. At age 20, he's putting up impressive numbers for KK Zagreb of the Adriatic League -- 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds with 60-percent shooting.

The knock on him, however, is a big one. Tomic is painfully thin and will have to eat a lot of cheeseburgers and spend a lot of workout time to be able to handle the rigors of the NBA. If he can transform his body, he has a chance to be special. But right now that's a big if.

8. Rudy Fernandez, G, Spain
For years, NBA scouts have had their eye on Fernandez, a player who has wowed Spanish fans with his athleticism and fearlessness going to the basket. Now at age 22 he's coming off his best season (15.8 ppg with 43 percent shooting on 3-pointers for DVK Joventut), answering critics who have questioned his outside shot and durability.

Nevertheless, NBA executives are divided. Some see him as the next Derek Anderson, a high-flying 2-guard who can play two positions. Others see him as the next Derek Anderson, an oft-injured guard who never lived up to the potential he showed coming out of Kentucky.

Right now Fernandez is on the first-round bubble in the 2007 NBA Draft.

9. Juan Carlos Navarro, G, Spain
Known as La Bamba to his fans in Spain, Navarro is a Ginobili-like 2-guard with plenty of unorthodox moves and one of the best floaters in the game.

The 27-year-old has been waiting quite a while for his turn in the NBA. He was drafted by the Wizards five years ago, but buyout issues with his team in Barcelona have kept him out of the league.

Navarro's stellar play at the World Championships in 2006 further cemented his status as the international player who got away.

10. Cheick Samb, C, Senegal
Africa is still the new frontier in NBA scouting. The league has had a presence there for a few years with the Basketball Without Borders program, and a few teams -- including the Mavericks and Nuggets -- have full-time African scouts. But for the most part, it's not easy to evaluate and project players from Africa.

A good example is Samb. He got little-to-no buzz before the 2006 draft, and the Pistons stole him late in the second round without much fanfare. Then Samb arrived at the Las Vegas Summer League and shocked people with his size, athleticism and ability.

Now 22, Samb spent this year playing for Cornella in Spain, working on his game and building up his thin frame. Over the course of the year, he's gained nearly 30 pounds and is starting to dominate in his league. He had 19 points and 15 rebounds the other night and it seems, in a few years, he might be the answer to some of the Pistons' big-man woes.

OMG, if this guy turns into a good player..woow.
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Old 04-30-2007, 07:58 AM   #2
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

And we have freakin Andrew Bynum
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

First Konex, now Kupchak!



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Old 04-30-2007, 12:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

Don't forget Nash is from Canada!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-30-2007, 12:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

We should bring West back into the Lakers family with open arms!!!!
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Old 04-30-2007, 01:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

Kupchak Curse > Konnex Curse





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Old 04-30-2007, 02:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

Cheick isn't playing in the NBA. Other centers dominate smaller leagues.

Take Bo Outlaw for example. Shocking everyone in summer league by averaging 19 boards a game...then he gets back to the big boys and he's just another washed up, no good, never better scrub that will continue to dissapoint.

and btw...Andrew Bynum >>>>>>>>>>> Cheick Samb.
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Old 04-30-2007, 02:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

Von Wafer?



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Old 04-30-2007, 02:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalMike
Von Wafer?




He's just dominating D league. Not any good on Denver or on any NBA team.
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lakerfreak
He's just dominating D league. Not any good on Denver or on any NBA team.

My point exactly :)



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Old 04-30-2007, 05:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lakerfreak
Cheick isn't playing in the NBA. Other centers dominate smaller leagues.

Take Bo Outlaw for example. Shocking everyone in summer league by averaging 19 boards a game...then he gets back to the big boys and he's just another washed up, no good, never better scrub that will continue to dissapoint.

and btw...Andrew Bynum >>>>>>>>>>> Cheick Samb.

I agree, thats what I was just gonna say. International play is different and most of the time when international players come to the NBA you see a decline in there stats. So I dont see him being better then Bynum or even Kwame.
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Old 04-30-2007, 06:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

KEY WORDS ARE:
Quote:
in a few years, he might be the answer to some of the Pistons' big-man woes.
for so many fans impatient to let Bynum develope your sure quick to denounce mitch for trading away a guy like him for mo evans, who at least gave us some productuon this season...
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Old 04-30-2007, 06:11 PM   #13
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

LOL, it was just a joke, take it easy lol.
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:35 PM   #14
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liberalo
LOL, it was just a joke, take it easy lol.

second time you do a thread like this. I can never tell when you're joking.

your first post was saying about how we needed to trade for some knick.

(i think)
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: OMG, maybe Mitch is a curse. Maybe there's no other answer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lakerfreak
second time you do a thread like this. I can never tell when you're joking.

your first post was saying about how we needed to trade for some knick.

(i think)

Nobody can... the best way is to disagree and see if he goes crazy on you. If he does, then he's serious!




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