The San Antonio Spurs selected 6'9 French forward Livio Jean-Charles with the No. 28 pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday, but he probably won't be joining this past season's Western Conference Champions anytime soon.
Jean-Charles was expected to be a second-round pick by most experts. But if there's a team to use a late first-round pick on a foreign player they could stash for a few years overseas, it's the Spurs. They took Tiago Splitter 28th in 2007. Fast forward three years, he finally returned from playing overseas. Fast forward to this past year, and he was a key factor on a team that made it to the NBA Finals.
Tony Parker was also the No. 28 pick, although he came over immediately. Leandro Barbosa was also a Spurs first-round draft pick, although the team traded Barbosa, and of course, San Antonio took future star Manu Ginobili 58th in 1999 before coming over in 2002.
Jean-Charles took advantage of his appearance at April's Nike Hoops Summit more so than any international prospect. He was named MVP of the game, going for 27 points and 13 rebounds. On that trip, he declared for the NBA Draft. The 6'9 forward showed there a lot of promise because of how he excelled in so many different areas of the game. He put up the numbers he did because of his tireless approach to the game: never slowing down or taking off plays, going hard on the glass on offense and defense, and moving well away from the ball on offense to create easy scoring opportunities near the basket.
Jean-Charles doesn't have a great jump shot, but his size and 7'2 wingspan temporarily make up for that as he continues to develop. At 19 years old, he is likely ready to contribute as a deep bench role player while his jumper catches up to the rest of his game.
Jean-Charles probably isn't going to come over immediately, as he's still developing, but with his athleticism, he can hone his game for a couple years in France and then be ready to make his NBA debut.