The 2013 NBA Draft pool got a bit smaller as a late flurry of international players pulled out just before their early-entry withdrawal deadline passed Monday evening.
There weren't many surprises when it came to who stayed in and who hopped out of the draft this year as most of the international names draftniks became accustomed to over the past several months will gamble on their American future. "Most" because Dario Saric, one of the highest-rated Croatian prospects since Toni Kukoc, decided to remain with Croatian club KK Cibona.
Saric was an intriguing entry into the NBA draft, too, as a 6'10 19-year-old that averaged 15.4 points and 8.5 rebounds over 17 games in the Croatian League last season. The lengthy forward was expected to be one of the top international picks, but reportedly sought a guarantee that he'd be a lottery pick if he was to keep his name in the Draft. Saric has a rumored four-year deal with Cibona, but the deal includes an NBA opt-out clause at the conclusion of each season.
Who is staying in
With Saric's departure, the title of best international prospect likely goes to German point guard Dennis Schroeder (scouting report) now that he's decided to stay in the Draft. The 19-year-old guard reportedly opened eyes quickly during workouts with his ball handling skills and speed on the court. Scroeder's been playing in Germany's top pro league for the past two years, allowing him to accumulate quite a bit of big-game experience.
There are scouts that might prefer Giannis Adetokunbo (scouting report) over Schroeder, however, as the aforementioned 18-year-old Greek forward is 6'9 with a long wingspan and plenty of room to grow his game. Adetokunbo is one of the more raw international prospects available in the NBA Draft, but scouts do love his speed -- they just don't seem sure how it will translate to the next level. Adetokunbo averaged 9.5 points and 5.0 rebounds for Filathlitikos -- a team that plays in the second division of Greek professional basketball.
French center Rudy Gobert (scouting report) stayed in the draft, as 7'2 people with 7'9 wingspans and 9'7 standing reaches generally would tend to do. Gobert has a propensity for easy buckets, too, finishing his past season with a 72 percent shooting percentage from the floor for Cholet Basket in France.
Lucas Nogueira (scouting report) from Brazil is another international big man who might find his way into the first round after keeping his name in the draft. The lanky 7-footer burst onto the scene in the U-19 World Championships in 2011 where he was the tournament's top shot blocker per minute, but he elected not to enter last year's Draft. Nogueira averaged just 5.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks a game for Asefa Estudiantes in Spain, but those numbers were limited by the measly 13 minutes he averaged.
One of the more experienced prospects staying in the draft is Russian wing Sergey Karasev (scouting report). Karasev has a good chance to make a quick impact on most teams because, at 6'7 and 200 pounds, he's known as an above-average shooter with good size on the wing. Karasev averaged 16 points per game on 44 percent shooting for Triumph Lyubertsy, one of the top teams in Russia.
Alex Abrines is expected to end up somewhere in the second round after keeping his name in the draft, too, after averaging 3.3 points for FCB Regal this season, though he was limited to just 10.1 minutes a game and is currently in the rotation as his team battles in the playoffs. Scouts compare him to fellow Spaniard Rudy Fernandez, citing a player with a solid jump shot and range.
Abrines will be joined on draft night by fellow FCB Regal teammate Marko Todorovic as the big man also elected to stay in the draft. The 6'11 Montenegrin center who shares agent Igor Crespo with Abrines, according to Givony, averaged 2.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 0.4 blocks in 6.9 minutes a game. Todorovic shot 57.1 percent from the floor, and when he got the minutes he generally delivered. When given a season high 27 minutes against FIATC Joventut, Todorovic ended with 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
Daniel Theis had a solid year with Ratiopharm in Germany's top league and is hoping to parlay that into an eventual NBA career, too, according to his agent. Theis is a bit undersized in his natural power forward position at just 6'8, but he apparently toughs it out for points in the vein of Kevin Love. Theis averaged 6.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 16.5 minutes of play for Ratiopharm this season, shooting 49.6 percent from inside the arc. He wasn't afraid to lob up a three-point shot or two, either, going 17-of-60 from beyond the arc.
Brazilian point guard Raul Neto will attempt to make the jump into the NBA as well. At 6'1, 179 pounds, Neto isn't the largest physical specimen out there, but he is an effective slasher to the hoop and can create high-percentage shots once he gets there. Neto is still a work in progress, however, as he sometimes struggles with his jump shot -- though he shot an impressive 39 percent from three-point range with Lagun Aro GBC in the Spanish ACB this season -- and occasionally struggles with turnovers.
Others that withdrew from the draft (according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express)
C Louis Labeyrie, France
F Axel Toupane, France
C Mouhammadou Jaiteh, France
F Victor Gaddefors, Sweden
F Linos Chrysikopoulos, Greece
C Nemanja Besovic, Montenegro
C Matias Bortolin, Argentina
F Djordje Drenovac, Serbia
F Marko Ramljak, Bosnia
C Francois Affia Ambadiang, Cameroon
F Adin Vrabac, Bosnia
C Artem Pustovyi, Ukraine
G Bogdan Bogdanovic, Serbia
C Walter Tavares, Spain
C Philip Neumann, Germany