By Hocine LOUKKAF on 10/27/2018
After more than a month of competition in Europe, we take a look at some of the most interesting prospects for the next draft.
Sekou Doumbouya, 6-9 SF, 2000, Limoges (French Jeep Elite)
Now playing with Limoges, the athletic forward has the opportunity to play the championship but also the Eurocup, the most decorated European championship after the Euroleague. He has seen mixed results for the moment, not helped by the bad results of his team.
His play in four Eurocup games is pretty interesting with averages of 7pts 2rbds 1stl and 0.8blk per game, including 3/6 from three over the last three games. The problem is that 7 of his 8rbds and his 3blks in the competition have been put in the first game where he didn’t score. Over the 40min of the last three games, he had only 1rbd and 1FT, something which is not possible for someone with his size and athleticism. In French Jeep Elite, he’s struggling far more on offense with 36%FG including 1/10 from three and averages 4.5pts 3.5rbds in 15min.
A polarizing prospect, Doumbouya needs to show more agressivity and assertiveness on defense, but also the will to grind to score inside. It’s hard to imagine him in the top 5 right now but he still has the year to prove me wrong.
Goga Bitadze, 6-11 C, 1999, Mega Leks (Adriatic League)
One of the most underrated European prospects, Bitadze keeps brutalizing the Adriatic League’s paints since the start of the season. Playing for Mega Leks, the Beobasket agency’s team and former home of Jokic and Nurkic, Bitadze is averaging 17.8pts 9rbds and 1.8blk in 28min, far better than his 11.7pts/6.9rbds from last year. He could bring his toughness in the paint right away for an NBA team but could improve his still weak shooting (52%FT). If he slips to the second round, some team will grab a steal.
Alen Smailagic, 6-9 PF, 2000, Santa Cruz Warriors (G League)
I have to confess he wasn’t on my radar before he got drafted for the G League. A former player for Beko Belgrad youth teams, Smailagic seems a very interesting prospect compared to some other forwards like Doumbouya or Samanic. At 6-9, Smailagic displays good athleticism and a solid body, but above all very good form on his outside shot, which could translate to the League immediately as a stretch four. He has yet to be tested against higher competition but one year of G League with adequate training and time to get used to the American life could get him to the first round. Smailagic could look up to his countryman Bjelica to know what type of player he could become with work.
Luka Samanic, 6-10 PF, 2000, Ljubljana (Adriatic League)
One of the top prospects in the class of 2000, Samanic is also struggling with consistency as he’s not anymore the super prospect he was at age 15. In Adriatic League, he doesn’t exist at all with only 1.2pts on 20% FG and 1.2rbds in 7min per game, very disappointing stats in a championship where good prospects often receive some playing time. In the Champions League, a second tier European competition (a bit weaker than Eurocup), he has opportunities to produce, which lead to averages of 3.7pts 4.7rbds on 50%FG in 17min. But with only one 3PT made in 50min of competition, Samanic must score more and play better defense (one steal and no block in Champions League) to prove he can be the stretch four scouts envisioned.
Dino Radoncic, 6-7 SF, 1999, Burgos (Spanish Liga ACB)
Doncic’ former teammate and actual countryman may get some inspiration from his friend. Stuck at the end of the bench for Real Madrid, Radoncic has been loaned to Burgos, another team from the solid Liga ACB. He has received more playing time than with his former team and averages 6pts 3rbds in 17min. In term of style, he looks like a less athletic Miles bridges as a former PF who is making the transition to the wing. His shooting seems ok but he needs to show more of that to become a first round prospect. Like Doumbouya, rebounds and defense are what he needs to focus on while staying efficient on offense.
Paul Eboua, 6-8 PF/SF, 2000, Roseto (Italian Lega Due)
The former 6-5 guard has become a physical 6-8 forward a la Anunoby. For his first pro season with Roseto in Italian 2nd division, Eboua has not played much due to his team’s struggles but he has been productive in the 33min he spent on the court with 15pts 5rbds 2stls and 3/4 from three. Eboua has the type of body and versatility which could help him play both forward spots and be an efficient defender. Hopefully he will gain more PT to prove what he’s worth.
Karlton Dimanche, 6-4 PG/SG, 2000, Cholet (French U21)
The last prospect out of French powerhouse Cholet, which produced NBA players Gelabale, Beaubois, Seraphin or Gobert, had already used the last Euro U18 to showcase his versatility (8.6pts 5.9rbds 3.9stls 3.4as). Since then, he’s flying over the French U21 championship with 16pts 9rbds 6as and 3stls per game. An athletic Swiss knife, his main weakness like a lot of athletic French products remains his shooting with only 20% from three, but his versatility alone and defensive prowess could draw the atttention of NBA scouts. The scouts will come to Cholet whatever happens to scout the 6-4 guard’s teammate and main competition with the pros, Killian Hayes, who, with 98 born guard Ndoye are the main obstacle to Dimanche getting minutes in the Jeep Elite.
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