6. Alexis Ajinca can be an NBA player instead of an NBA washout.
Looked at by many as the typical 7-foot European draft bust, at 25, Ajinca has finally started putting together some of his massive potential.
To the tune of 10.9 points (60.7% FG%) and 6.5 rebounds, in just 19 minutes a game, Ajinca has displayed impressive finishing ability in the pick-and-roll, and much improved defense. Ajinca has shown that when paired with a heady point guard (Tony Parker), he has the length and finishing ability to be a very strong weapon.
With an NBA out in his contract in France, teams looking for a backup big guy on the rise would be wise to take a look at him at this point in the market.
While currently he is not the type to be a 25-30 minute player on a good team, he could make a big impact as a 10-15 minute per game center off the bench for a playoff team in the NBA.
7. Viva Mike Fratello.
While there are a lot of great European coaches, and we are not far away from seeing a European coach in the NBA, a coach with a strong NBA pedigree can do wonders for a national team.
Longtime NBA coach, Mike Fratello, has been coaching the Ukrainian national team, and has managed to take this rag-tag team to the quarterfinals. With their lone NBA player being Viacheslov Kravstov, Fratello has used deep rotations, playing 10 guys 14 minutes or more, and keeping an atmosphere of teamwork and high morale to give his team an edge.
The Ukrainians have been shooting a lot of 3 pointers, 24.3 per game, at an amazing 39% clip.