Atlanta Hawks first-round pick Lucas Nogueira will spend the 2013-14 season playing in Spain, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. This should give the talented Brazilian big man some extra time to develop his skills before making a transition to the NBA.
Drafted No. 16 overall in April's draft, "Bebe" brings some tantalizing tools to the table but a fairly raw skill set. The Hawks had generally been open to the possibility of bringing him to Atlanta this year, but probably felt equally comfortable waiting a year so Nogueira could polish up his game. Danny Ferry said as much to Vivlamore:
"We are very encouraged by what we’ve seen from Lucas this summer. Going back to Estudiantes will allow him to continue develop while also playing meaningful minutes against very good competition. We will closely monitor his progress as he works towards his goals as a basketball player."
Nogueira has been playing for CB Estudiantes in Madrid since 2009. He'll be joined in Spain next season by the Hawks' second-round selection, Mike Muscala. Atlanta's top pick, point guard Dennis Schroeder, signed a deal with the club and will be in the NBA next season.