By Hocine LOUKKAF on 1/11/2021
With an overseas class lacking a major lottery prospect, players like Serbian forward Jovic or French C Kamagate may be the first overseas playing picks, probably outside the lottery. Let’s see how they and their overseas counterpart are performing in their respective pro leagues.
Nikola Jovic, 6-10 SF/PF, 2003, Mega Basket (Serbia)
Stats : 10.8pts 4.3rbds 2.8as
Playing full time with the pro team in Adriatic League, averaging 10.8pts 4.3rbds 2.8as on an interesting 37% 3pt. He still needs to improve his strength (44% 2pt) and foot speed on defense and work on being more consistent but his stretch four profile and ability to create for his teammates make him a potential top 20 pick.
Ismael Kamagate, 6-11 C, 2001, Paris Basket (France Pro A)
Stats : 11.2pts 5.8rbds 1.6bl
The perfect late boomer, Kamagate has been lucky to find a coach who has allowed him to make mistakes for one of the most hyped basketball project in Europe, Paris Basketball. Kamagate has been as efficient in French pro A as he was last year in pro B (1.2pts 5.8rbds 1.6bl), leading the championship in blocks. He still needs to refine his IQ on defense and low post skill set but his length and mobility will get him a spot in an NBA rotation soon.
Hugo Besson (France), 6-4 SG, 2001, NZ Breakers (NBL)
Stats : 15.3pts 4.6rbds 34.8% 3pt
Last year’s leading scorer in French pro B took the exotic path by signging with the Breakers of the NBL. It seems to be a pretty good choice for the moment as several 20+pt performances have really put Besson on NBA scout’ radar. Involving more his teammates and gaining strength are the two main fields he needs to improve to hear his name in the late first round.
Leonard Okeke, 6-9 PF/C, 2003, Casale Montferrato (Italian 2nd league)
Stats : 10.5pts 7rbds 1.3bl
The latest out-of-nowhere prospect, Okeke went from dominating in Italian 3rd division last year to making a real impact in the 2nd division for his first year. A solid big man with good but not elite size and athleticism, Okeke’s ability to improve his shot (one 3pt made on the season, 55% FT) scould make him a far more interesting prospect.
Ibou Badji, 7-1 C, 2002, Lleida (Spain 2nd league)
Stats : 9.3pts 5.3rbds 1.8bl
Finally he’s playing !! One of the freakiest physical specimen over the last years, Badji had no chance to enter the rotation for Barcelona, which took the advised decision to loan him to 2nd divison Lleida. He is the same athletic center with poor basketball IQ (0.4as for 1.4to per game) but the ability to protect the rim and finish in the paint with a good 57% FG.
Khalifa Diop (Senegal), 2002, 6-11 C/PF, Gran Canaria (Spain)
Stats : 4.9pts 2.9rbds 0.6bl (Eurocup)
Like several other African prospects playing in Spain, Diop is struggling getting plenty of minutes in the rotation. Whether it is in Eurocup or Liga ACB, he’s efficient when he’s playing despite lacking a decent shot. He still to show more to hope late first pick but will probably hear his name in the second round.
Ousmane Dieng (France), 6-10 SF/SG/PG, 2003, NZ Breakers (NBL)
Stats : 3.6pts 2.3rbds 0.9bl
The biggest disappointment of the season until now, Dieng has been unable to live up to the hype for his first pro year. He shot under 25% FG in four of the five games in which he had 7attpts or more from the field. More than that, he hasn’t displayed any evident strength like shooting, athleticism or passing ability which could make him an efficient player now. Of course, he’s very young and will probably improve before the end of the season but will it be soon enough?
Yannick Nzosa (DR Congo), 6-11 PF/C, 2003, Malaga (Spain)
Stats : 3.2pts 2.8rbds 0.9bl (ACB)
Signed with Malaga until 2026, Nzosa has not shown any statistical improvement in Liga ACB, his pts average dropping from 4.3 to 3.2 while his FG % has slipped from 65% to 43% despite getting the same playing time. Moreover, his new long-term deal with Malaga must have been stuck with expensive clauses in case Nzosa would want to buy out his contract. Not the kind of situation an NBA team wants to deal with.
Roko Prkacin, 6-9 PF, 2002, Cibona zagreb (Croatia)
Stats : 10.1pts 5.8rbds
Once a projected lottery pick, Prkacin may disappear from the picture as almost all his stats have dropped despite getting exactly the same playing time in Adriatic League. The Croatian even had two games against poor teams where he didn’t score while staying 20+min on the field, a sign that he may be hurt mentally or not motivated anymore.
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