In the latest installment of “Catch a Rising Star,” Boston Celtics president Dany Ainge traveled to Greece to get a first-hand look at Giannis Adetokunbo, the 6-foot-10 point guard who is moving up draft boards by leaps and bounds.
Aingle was in the house — and got heckled by Lakers fans — as Adetokunbo scored 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds and two steals in the championship round of the Greek A2 league.
Ainge also saw the CSKA-Panathinaikos Euroleague game, an qs quoted by Greek media as comparing Adetokundo as reminding him of a young Scottie Pippen.
So who is this Greek freak? And why is he surfacing on the draft radar so late in the process?
For one thing, Adetokunbo grew up as an undocumented immigrant of Nigerian ancestry, and he does not currently hold a passport. That may change in the weeks ahead, as both the Greek and Nigerian national federations are trying to secure him for their national teams, and Adetokunbo’s next big test — should that passport arrive — would be an appearance at the NBA pre-draft Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy.
Our draft guru, Joe Kotoch, currently has him at No. 24 in Mock Draft 1.0.1 and says he would not be surprised to see him shoot up into the lottery, much like Bismack Biyombo did a few years back.
Adetokunbo recently signed a four-year contract with Zaragoza of Spain, but the deal contains an affordable buyout that could facilitate making the jump to the NBA next fall for his rookie season.
Oklahoma City, Denver, Toronto and Houston executives also have traveled to Greece to watch the 18-year-old play.
For more on Adetokundo, click through to this piece from a week ago that helped put the kid on the international radar.