The international talent pool in the 2013 NBA Draft is considered to be big on upside, but also full of players who have a good deal of development ahead of them. German point guard Dennis Schroeder and Croatian wing Dario Saric look to be the most complete players, with French center Rudy Gobert, Greek forward Giannis Adetokoubo and Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira having the raw upside to go in the first round.
Here is a look at each of the five top international propsects in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Adetokoubo figures to be an international player that will be a terror on the defensive end. Adetokoubo has abnormally large hands and a long wingspan, and is also 6'9 with the potential to grow even more. He just turned 18 in December and reportedly grew three inches in the past year.
He plays for Filathlitikos B.C. in Greece, so scouts aren't sure of Adetokoubo's actual ceiling because his competition isn't as good as many of the other international prospects. Adetokoubo averaged 9.5 points and five rebounds a game for Filathlitikos, which plays in the Greek A2 league, the second division of Greece professional basketball.
Adetokoubo likes to finish around the rim and hasn't quite settled into a solid outside shot. He was just 31-for-99 from the three-point line this past season, but still shot 62.1 percent for two-point field-goals. He is one of the more raw international prospects in the draft but has his fundamentals firmly in place for the NBA. Scouts are impressed by his speed and his ability to seemingly play every position on the floor. Whether or not Adetokoubo is able to still perform like that against the top talent in the world is the big question in taking a gamble on him.
Utah Jazz coach Frank Layton supposedly said, "You can't teach seven foot," in response to a question about why he recruited a seven-foot tall auto mechanic. That is one reason the French center has been shooting up the mock draft boards as of late.
The 20-year-old now stands at 7'2 and has a 7'9 wingspan and a 9'7 standing reach. Gobert averaged 8.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in 22.7 minutes in the top French league for Cholet Basket. He had multiple blocked shots in 14 of 27 games this past season. On offense, Gobert has a very soft touch around the rim. He shot 72 percent from the floor this past season and his 70 percent free-throw average is good for someone of his height.
Gobert weighs just 238 pounds and is prone to getting pushed around in the post, where he needs to cut down on his fouling tendencies. Many scouts have said he has a body that will be able to take the extra weight, and just on his height alone he should be able to make a defensive impact in the NBA almost immediately. Some scouts worry about his competitve fire, accusing him of playing timid sometimes.
The 7'0, 220 pound Nogueira had scouts both drooling and yawning during the U-19 World Championships in 2011. The Brazilian was ranked as the tournaments top shot blocker per minute and the fourth best rebounder, but also was panned for his lack of basketball fundamentals and awareness of the game.
Nogueira plays for Asefa Estudiantes, one of Spain's premier basketball teams. He only averaged 5.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 points a game, but was limited to just 13.1 minutes per game. With a wingspan of 7'5, Nogueira has the raw upside and athleticism that might make a team take a flyer on him in the first round of the draft. It isn't a question of whether or not Nogueira has the skills to play. He blocked 27 shots in five games during the 2010 FIBA Americans U18 Championship.
Scouts are quick to point out his quick feet and the overall growth in his game over the past few months, but at this point Nogueira is a project player. His defensive fundamentals are enough of an issue that he wouldn't see much time on the floor during a close game. But at just 20-years-old, he has plenty of time to learn the game at the NBA level and how to succeed at it.
A lot can happen in a year on the mock draft boards. The 6'10 forward from Croatia started out looking like a sure fire top-10 pick, but an underwhelming season with the Croatian club Cibona Zagreb has Saric falling into the lower regions of the first round in many mock drafts.
Saric opened eyes during the summer of 2012, when he helped lead the Croatian junior national team to a gold medal at the U18 European Championships. He finished the tournament averaging 25.6 points a game and stepped his game up most when it counted, scoring 39 points as Croatia defeated Lithuania 88-76 for the gold medal. He wasn't able to carry much of his championship success over to the regular season, where he averaged just 7.6 points and 6.2 rebounds a game for Cibona, only ending up with over 30 minutes once in 15 games.
Although he has played power forward most of his life, Saric figures to be a wing player in the NBA as he weighs only 223 pounds. Scouts are high on his court vision, especially considering his size. He is comfortable bringing the ball up court and does well dribbling into the lane. He isn't the most athletic individual and needs to put on a bit more bulk to hold his own against most NBA players. Saric is only 19-years-old, and has plenty of time to grow into his body.
There is also the question of his commitment to his Croatian club. Saric reportedly said in November 2012 that if he were guaranteed a top-10 pick he would come to the NBA and play immediately. Now that he is fluctuating anywhere from 10th to 24th in various mock drafts, he might be a pick that a team watches develop in Europe for a couple years before joining the NBA.
The 19-year-old German point guard opened eyes at the Nike Hoops Summit where he quickly generated comparisons to Rajon Rondo. Schroeder looks a bit undersized for point guard at 6'2, but his wingspan measured 6'8 at the NBA Draft Combine in May. Combined with a huge set of hands (10.5 inches), Schroeder's length makes him better than most at disrupting the passing lanes.
Schroeder also has the advantage of having a bit more experience than most other plays in the NBA draft pool. At the age of 19, he has already played for two years in top pro league in Germany for NY Phantoms Braunschweig, and he held his own as well -- averaging 12 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists this past season. He shot 42 percent from the floor, and unlike Rondo, has no problems shooting a three, where almost one-third of his shots came from last season.
He is a bit excitable at his young age, and his assist to turnover ratio (3.3/2.9) leaves a bit to be desired for a NBA point guard. He averaged 3.7 turnovers per 36 minutes, which puts him right on target with Ricky Rubio, Rondo, John Wall, Kyrie Irving and plenty of other point guards in the league. At 19, Schroeder has plenty of time to fine tune his game for the NBA, and his speed and wingspan are two things the scouts rave about that cannot be learned over time.