European Championship Qualifying Update – Part III

21. Dairis Bertans, Swingman, Latvia, (Spurs own NBA draft rights)

This versatile wing has been a leader for Latvia offensively, as a scorer and distributor. Bertans is a strong shooter, and can contribute in many ways, but it is tough to find a niche right now that could make him contribute right away in the league, and his defense certainly isn’t up to Pop’s standards just yet. With his natural skill set and athleticism, Bertans has the chance to make the NBA down the road if he can carve out an identity for himself.


22. Ilkan Karaman, Forward, Turkey, (Brooklyn owns NBA draft rights)

Karaman has been very efficient in this tournament, shooting 72.2% on 2-pointers and grabbing 6.3 rebounds in only 22 minutes a game. He needs to cut back on his turnovers (3.0 per game in EuroBasket qualifying) and gain more experience, but he seems to be another solid asset for a Nets franchise that is quietly developing a nice European stash.


23. Furkan Aldemir, Forward/Center, Turkey (LA Clippers own NBA draft rights)

Aldemir has fallen out of the rotation with the Turkish national team, which should come as a surprise after he was a contributor in the Euroleague this past season. Nevertheless, another year with Galatasaray should be crucial for his development, and he could have a future in El Lay in the next three years.


24. Izzet Turkiylmaz, Forward, Turkey, (Nuggets own NBA draft rights)

To put it simply, this kid needs a ton of seasoning before he has a chance to crack the NBA. He looked downright silly at times in the summer league, and he just does not yet have the muscle to compete against men. He has the size and feel for the game, but he will need some experience on the court, and in the weight room, before he can be effective in Europe, let alone a serious NBA prospect.


25. Cedric Simmons, Forward/Center, Bulgaria, (Enel Brindisi — Italy)

One of the bigger busts in recent draft history, Simmons has been very effective for Bulgaria when he can stay out of foul trouble. He still has the size that intrigued scouts when he was coming out of N.C. State, but his foot work and skill level haven’t progressed to the level needed to be an NBA player, or even an impact player in Spain. After a sub par year in the ACB, Simmons will be given another chance to redeem himself, playing alongside Scottie Reynolds with the Italian squad Enel Brindisi. He may never give the proper value a 15th overall draft pick should, but at 26, Simmons could find his way back in the league during his 30’s with the right attitude.

(A.J. Mitnick’s rankings of players 1-10 in EuroBasket ’13 Qualifying)

(A.J. Mitnick’s rankings of players 11-20 in EuroBasket ’13 Qualifying)

AJ Mitnick is an American currently living in Israel and working as an assistant coach for Maccabi Rishon Lezion of the Israeli Basketball Super League. A recent graduate of IDC Herzliya, Mitnick also maintains a  basketball blog,, and is pursuing a professional basketball coaching license from the Wingate Institute in Israel. Follow him on Twitter.


  1. says

    Two mistakes. The Spurs don’t own the rights of Dairis Bertans, they own the rights of his younger brother, ’92 born Davis Bertans, who is also playing in the European Qualifying tournament but with a smaller impact.
    Also, the Clippers traded the rights of Furkan Aldemir to the Rockets in draft night.


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