Mitnick: Top 10 Eurostash Players

MitnickYou may not have heard of these guys recently, but you might be hearing of them in the days ahead.

Sixty players will hear their names called in New York this coming Thursday at the 2015 NBA Draft, but some of the greatest excitement on draft night comes from the high volume of trades.

From the hours leading up to the draft until the start of free agency, teams start to shake up their rosters, giving eager fans a sense of which direction the team will be headed in the immediate future.

While some of the top stars in the NBA can be moved on draft-day trades, often times deals involve former draft picks who have been stashed overseas. Which international men of mystery could wind up traded in this years draft? Here is a look at the top 10 Eurostash prospects going into Thursday night.

saric1. Dario Saric, SF/PF, 6’9″, 230 lb, April 1994

Team: Anadolu Efes (Turkey); Nationality: Croatian

Drafted: 12th in 2014. Rights held: Philadelphia 76ers

The 12th pick in last year’s draft, Saric had a solid year for Anadolu Efes after a rough start. Saric is a skilled 6’9” forward who should translate very well to the NBA with his versatility. Saric would likely be in the top 10 if he were in this year’s draft, and with Philly holding his rights, all bets are off as to whether he will end up suiting up for the Sixers, or if they will trade his rights. You never put anything past Sam Hinkie.

Nemanja_Bjelica'132. Nemanja Bjelica, PF, 6’10”, 235 lb, May 1988

Team: Fenerbahce Ulker (Turkey); Nationality: Serbian

Drafted: 35th in 2010. Rights held: Minnesota Timberwolves

This season’s Euroleague MVP, Bjelica is a 6’10” forward with length and a great outside shot. The 35th pick in the 2010 draft, Bjelica has excelled playing for the Spanish ACB powerhouse Laboral Kuxta Vitoria, and under the tutelage of Euroleague coaching legend Zeljko Obradovic for two season with Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey. Although he likely won’t end up being a star in the NBA, Bjelica could step in and play 25+ minutes in the league right now. Would be a nice fit alongside Karl-Anthony Towns.

llull3. Sergio Llull, PG, 6’4″, 210 lb, November 1987

Team: Real Madrid (Spain); Nationality: Spanish

Drafted: 34th in 2009, Rights held: Houston Rockets

The Rockets sure could have used another point guard after Patrick Beverly went down this season, and Llull could easily have filled the void. A star for Euroleague Champions Real Madrid, Llull could step in and compete to start on a lot of teams right now, and his stock likely will go up later in the summer when he will play a bigger role for the Spanish National Team, since Ricky Rubio and Jose Calderon will not be suiting up.

jokicv3153460201410061549434. Nikola Jokic, Center, 6’11”, 255 lb, February 1995

Team: Mega Vizura (Serbia); Nationality: Serbian

Drafted: 41st in 2014, Right held: Denver Nuggets

If Jokic had pulled his name out of the 2014 draft and entered this year, he likely would be a mid- to late-first rounder after the phenomenal season he had for Mega Vizura. Jokic is a long 6’11” who can move, finish around the rim, shoot from outside and is a great passer for a big man. The Nuggets already have a pair of top European big man prospects in Joffrey Lauvergne and Jusuf Nurkic, and it may be tough for them to develop all three of them simultaneously. So it wouldn’t be out of the question for Jokic’s rights to be on the move on draft day.

abrines5. Alex Abrines, SG/SF, 6’6″, 195 lb, August 1993

Team: Regal Barcelona; Nationality: Spanish

Drafted: 32nd in 2013, Rights held: OKC Thunder

An athletic wing, Abrines played a critical role for Spanish powerhouse Barcelona this past season. Abrines turns 22 this August, and although he signed a contract to play for Barcelona through 2019, he has the upside to develop into a quality starter in the NBA. Even if he didn’t come to the league for a couple of years, he could prove to be an impact player who can develop on someone else’s dime.

6bogdan. Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG, 6’6″, 200 lb, August 1992

Team: Fenerbahce Ulker; Nationality: Serbian

Drafted: 27th in 2014, Rights held: Phoenix Suns

A 6’6″ sweet shooting guard who can defend, Bogdanovic looked like he has a bright future in the NBA after a strong showing for Fenerbahce Ulker. A late first-round pick in last year’s draft, Boganovic could still looks like he was worthy of that selection and could possibly be swapped for a late first rounder in this year’s draft, or packaged alongside the 13th pick to move up a few slots in the draft.

7. Alessandro Gentile, SG/SF, 6’6″, 230 lb, November 1992gentile

Team: EA7 Emporio Milano; Nationality: Italian

Drafted: 53rd in 2014, Rights held: Houston Rockets

A super competitive SG/SF, Gentile had a solid season for Milan, which was upset by Dynamo Sassari in the Italian League Semifinals. Gentile’s lack of elite athleticism probably limits his upside, but he has the skills, basketball IQ and competitiveness to be an impact player in the league. With several European players pulling their name out of the draft this year, a team looking for a draft and stash may opt to move a second-rounder to obtain the rights to Gentile should the Rockets feel that he may be too similar to their existing talent.

satoranskizzle8. Tomas Satoransky, PG, 6’7″, 210 lb, October 1991

Team: Regal Barcelona; Nationality: Czech

Drafted: 32nd in 2012, Rights held: Washington Wizards

As a 6’7” point guard, Satoransky is the type of player who can create serious matchup problems, and allow a team to play creative lineups. Soon to be 24 years old, Satoransky could play a similar role in the NBA that Shaun Livingston played this season for the Warriors and last season for the Nets, allowing a team to play with big guards and small bigs, and really get up and down. Satoransky could end up fitting in nicely behind John Wall and Bradley Beal, in what could end up being a very fun team over the next few years after the playoff emergence of Otto Porter. Satoransky may see his rise later in the summer, where he will play a big role for the Czech Republic National Team at this year’s Eurobasket, so netting him on draft night before his value rises could be a quality move.

9. Sasha Kaun, CSKA MoscowSasha Kaun, C, 7″0′, 255 lb, May 1985

Team: CSKA Moscow; Nationality: Russian

Drafted: 56th in 2008, Rights held: Cleveland Cavaliers

The former Kansas product has officially announced his retirement…..from playing in Russia. The long time CSKA center who played for David Blatt on the Russian National Team may be headed to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who hold his NBA rights. Kaun may not be a great athlete for NBA standards, but he can provide solid big man play in a 15-20 minute role, and can probably replace the production Cleveland expected but did not receive when they signed Kendrick Perkins.

220px-2012_2013_-_Ante_Tomic_-_Flickr_-_Castroquini-FCB10. Ante Tomic, 7’1″, 260 lb, February 1987

Team: Regal Barcelona; Nationality: Croatian

Drafted: 44th in 2008, Rights held: Utah Jazz

Arguably the most accomplished European player on this list, Tomic ranks this low because of the unlikelihood he will ever play in the NBA. Tomic essentially used the threat of leaving to the Jazz this summer to leverage a long term contract with Barcelona, and it looks like he will be Fran Vasquez 2.0 and never end up in the league. He could easily step in and provide quality minutes for a contender immediately if it were to work out, but it seems the riches and comfort he has in Europe have convinced him to forgo a crack at the league for the time being.

Just missed the cut

Vasilije Micic (76ers), Tibor Pleiss (Jazz), Walter Tavares (Hawks), Nemanja Dangubic (Spurs), Adam Hanga (Spurs)

AJ Mitnick is an American living in Israel and working as an assistant coach in the Israeli Basketball Winner League. Mitnick is the assistant coach of Bnei Herzliya, following three seasons with Maccabi Rishon-Lezion. Follow him on Twitter.


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