3. Bojan Bogdanovic – Brooklyn, 31st pick in 2011 draft
Born 1989, 6-8 guard-forward, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul (Turkey)
Euroleague: 26.8 MPG, 15.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 36.9% 3PT
Turkish TBL: 25.3 MPG, 14.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.8 APG, 41% 3PT
A natural scorer, Bogdanovic has become far more explosive attacking the basket over the last year. While he projects as a scoring sixth man, his dynamic offensive game and ability to create offense give him the most star potential of anyone in this group.
Bogdanovic has an NBA body and the legs and strength to match up defensively against either small or big wings in the league. Despite being a high usage player on offense, he has done an excellent job limiting his turnovers, thanks to experience he has gotten at Europe’s high levels the past several seasons. His high ceiling could be very attractive to teams wary of the luxury tax looking to acquire a low cost, NBA-ready player with long-term star potential.
Bogdanovic has been mentioned as a potential inclusion in a deal involving Dwight Howard. While he may not seem like the centerpiece of a Dwight Howard trade, Lakers fans will not forget that they gave up Marc Gasol as a throw-in when they traded for Pau Gasol. Sometimes, those under-the-radar European guys thrown into a trade can really come back to haunt you.
4. Tomas Satoransky – Washington, 32nd pick in the 2012 draft
Born 1991, 6-7 point guard, Cajasol Sevilla (Spain)
Eurocup: 28.3 MPG, 10.1 PPG, 4 RPG, 4.7 APG,
Spanish ACB League: 29.2 MPG, 12 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.2 APG
In the midst of his breakout season, this oversized point guard would be a certain lottery pick in the 2013 draft. With his combination of basketball IQ, ability to see over the defense, patience and ball control, Satoransky has the game of an old-school point man. His ability to defend both guard positions would make him a very nice fit in the Wizards’ backcourt, as he could play next to either John Wall or Bradley Beal.
The main thing holding back Satoransky from being a blue chip prospect is his lack of outside shooting, which he either will need to improve (Jason Kidd), or overcome (Rajon Rondo, Andre Miller). Nevertheless, Satoransky seems to be the “Marko Jaric that could have been.”
5. Ilkan Karaman – Brooklyn, 57th pick in 2012 draft
Born 1990, 6-9 power forward, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul (Turkey)
Euroleague: 12.1 MPG, 3.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 54.1% 2PT
Turkish TBL: 14.1 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.8 BLK, 62.3% 2PT, 48% 3PT
Karaman is far from a finished player. But in his Euroleague rookie season, he is showing he can make an impact at the highest level. His body appears to be NBA-ready, and he shows flashes of versatility. But he has problems with consistency and focus.
Due to his length and natural instincts, Karaman has the potential to be a solid NBA player but will need to continue progressing over the next two years to be able to make a significant impact in the league.
AJ Mitnick is an American currently living in Israel and working for Maccabi Rishon Lezion of the Israeli Basketball Super League. A recent graduate of IDC Herzliya, Mitnick also maintains a basketball blog, http://mindlessdribble.net, and is pursuing a professional basketball coaching license from the Wingate Institute in Israel. Follow him on Twitter.