The Top International Prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft
A quick glance at some mocks and you quickly realize how much International talent is available. I’m not talking about Americans who played overseas like LaMelo Ball – I’m referring to the prospects born outside of the United States.
So who are the best International players in the 2020 NBA Draft?
Let’s highlight the top five, including a likely destination for each one.
Deni Avdija – Israel
- Height: 6’9”
- Age: 19
An Israeli-born sharpshooting wing player with plenty of time to develop his physique. Imagine a more versatile and athletic version of Dirk Nowitzki who can handle the rock in transition.
I said it once and I’ll say it again Deni Avdija will be the best player from 2020 draft pic.twitter.com/E63LoscHqM— ???? (@Wavonextup) November 10, 2020
Deni didn’t put up the type of numbers at Maccabi Tel Aviv that scream out “I’m a top-5 pick,” but we know how much GMs around the league are infatuated with “potential.” Perhaps nobody in this class has more than Avdija.
My guess is the Bulls nab him at #4.
Killian Hayes, France
- Height: 6’5”
- Age: 19
In the running to be the first International player off the board, Killian Hayes is oozing with upside. The 19-year-old Frenchman can play either guard position, although he projects as a “do-it-all” point guard at the next level.
The more I study Hayes on tape, the more I’m convinced he’s the total package. A good-sized lead guard who can shoot, pass, dribble, and play defense.
That profile fits the team needs of many teams in drafting in the lottery, including the Detroit Pistons at #7.
Aleksej Pokusevski, Serbia
- Height: 7’0”
- Age: 18
I don’t want to go overboard with the praise here, but could we be looking at a Nikola Jokic 2.0? Like the “Joker,” Aleksej Pokusevski is a highly-skilled seven-footer from Serbia. And like Jokic, Pokusevski is being extolled for being a tremendous passer with a basketball IQ that’s off the charts.
The difference here is Aleksej possesses more speed in transition and he’s already a better shooter.
Pokusevski is the youngest prospect in the entire draft and could take some time to develop. The Wizards could take a look at #9, and it’s hard to envision he gets passed the Spurs at No. 11.
Theo Maledon, France
- Height: 6’4”
- Age: 19
Like his aforementioned countryman Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon is another combo-guard out of France who can plug into an NBA rotation tomorrow and be brought up to speed in no time. His film may not jump off the page like some other guards in this draft, but his ability to adapt is intriguing.
Maledon can play off-the-ball with a ball-dominant PG, or he can be the floor general of your second unit. In terms of where he’d fit in best, Orlando at #15 seems like a logical landing spot. Backcourt help is one of the Magic’s biggest needs, and Maledon’s arrival would immediately take some pressure off of Markelle Fultz.
Leandro Bolmaro, Argentina
- Height: 6’7”
- Age: 20
Getting some run with FC Barcelona in Spain means Leandro Bolmaro’s ascension up the NBA ranks should be expedited. While some of the other best International players in the 2020 NBA Draft were competing in lower leagues, this 6’7” shooting guard played against stiff competition on a nightly basis.
While he wasn’t a total standout, Leandro flashed his skills on multiple occasions.
A reliable spot-up shooter who has shown he can create his own shot off the dribble should entice a bevy of teams picking just outside the lottery in round one. For example, the Mavericks at #18 or the Brooklyn Nets with the following pick could be where we see Bolmaro wind up.
Bet On the 2020 NBA Draft
There are lots of ways to bet on the NBA Draft. How many International prospects are chosen in the top 10 is one way, but you can also bet on specific selections – among a litany of other NBA Draft props.
Wednesday is around the corner. Do you really want to miss out on the action?