We, at NetScouts Basketball, have the largest basketball scouting network in the world. We have an international recruiting service in which we scout international youth players for colleges in the USA. So we have a very good handle on the international players as they become available for the NBA draft.
In our 2012 NBA mock draft, we have nine international players being selected in the 2012 NBA draft, one in the first round and eight in the second round. This year most of the international players with solid potential will need several seasons of development in Europe before they can play in the NBA effectively.
So here is our ranking of the top nine international players available for the 2012 NBA draft.
9. Dusan Cantekin
Cantekin is a huge player, 7'4'' and 245 pounds. For his size, he is mobile and agile. A player with his size, length and agility is something you don’t see very often.
He still has a long way to go and is very far from being a solid, dominant center in a high-level setting. However, he has intriguing tools and room to improve.
He can be a worthwhile mid-to-late-second-round pick if a team is patient and monitors his development during the next few years.
As with most young big players, he needs to add strength and work on his shooting. He also needs to improve his rebounding and defense.
This season, Cantekin played with Mega Vizura in Serbia and averaged 11.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 63.4 percent from the field.
8. Nemanja Nedovic
Nedovic, a 6'3'', 200-pound guard, is likely the most athletic of the younger Europeans. He has the strength to defend NBA point guards.
He’s good in transition and in one-on-one situations but needs to work on his shooting and point guard skills. His game translates well to the NBA because of his athleticism and his ability to play in transition.
He has not developed as we would have liked and appears to have regressed a bit this year. Playing in Serbia with KK Crvena Zvezda, he averaged 6.7 points and 1.5 assists while shooting only 21.6 percent from long distance.
7. Ognjen Kuzmic
Kuzmic is probably the most intriguing of the internationals. He has the size (7'1'', 231 pounds) to be strong in the post. Kuzmic hasn’t been playing that long and has shown remarkable improvement recently.
He’s mobile, agile for his size and can score around the basket as well as block shots. He needs to get stronger and work on his offensive game away from the basket, but he works hard and he may have the highest potential of the international players.
This season, Kuzmic played for Clinicas Rincon in the Spanish LEB-Gold league where he averaged 10.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game.
He’d be a solid second-round pick for a team willing to let him stay in Europe for two to three years and further develop his game.
6. Nihad Djedovic
NetScouts Basketball international scout Demetrius Laffitte feel that Djedovic, a 6'5'' shooting guard, "has similarities to a right-handed Manu Ginobili."
He utilizes a spin move to get free, is excellent shooting off screens and can create offense by himself. He’s a solid defender with quick feet.
Djedovic had an inconsistent season, and left Lottomatica Roma in midseason and went to play for Galatasary MP Istanbul in Turkey. He averaged in double figures in both countries but did not play consistently well.
5. Kostas Papanikolaou
Papanikolaou, a versatile 6'8'', 225-pound forward, made a name for himself in leading Olympiacos past CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague Championship game. He scored a season-high 18 points in the final.
Papanikolaou is a lefty who can score inside and out. He’s athletic, explosive and quick and can play multiple positions. He moves very well off the ball and would seem to fit San Antonio’s system.
His downside is that he hasn’t shown the ability to create off the dribble and his outside shot needs more consistency.
His season was pretty much a disappointment (7.4 points per game) but his showing in the Euroleague final gave an indication of his ability.
With his size and potential, he’d be a worthwhile second-round pick.
You can read our scouting report on Papanikolaou here.
4. Tornike Shengelia
Shengelia has the size, athleticism and versatility to make it in the NBA. At 6'9'', he can play both forward positions.
He’s a very strong rebounder who plays with intensity, runs the floor well and is aggressive attacking the rim. He needs to improve his shooting from mid range out, but did connect on 30 percent of his three-pointers this season.
NetScouts Basketball international scout Luka Bassin indicates that Shengelia “could become an excellent role player due to his size, energy and physical attributes at the small forward position.”
Playing for Belgian team Spirou Belgacom Charleroi this season, Shengelia averaged 8.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
3. Furkan Aldemir
If a player can do one thing really well, they generally can make a career in the NBA. Aldemir can rebound.
A 6’9, 220-pound power forward, he averaged 8.5 points and 6.6 rebounds playing for Galatasaray MP Istanbul in Turkey this season.
Aldemir got NetScouts Basketball excited when we scouted him at the U20 European Championships last year where he averaged 15.8 rebounds per game.
Aldemir isn’t particularly quick and his offense needs a lot of improvement, but he’s the type of player who’ll score off the offensive boards.
With his skill set, teams won’t be running many plays for him. We think he’ll be a second-round draft pick.
2. Tomas Satoransky
Satoransky is a tall (6'7'') point guard with a lot of potential but needs a few years of seasoning in Europe, growing into a point guard role.
He has the size and physical tools to make it, but must work on his individual defense and overall guard skills. Satoransky can penetrate and handle the ball well and has a solid basketball IQ.
The potential is there but he isn’t ready to play at the NBA level at this point. He’d certainly be worth a second-round pick and be left to develop in Europe for a few years.
His physical profile at the point is something that can take him far if he gets his game together.
In a limited role with Banca Civica in the top league in Spain, Satoransky averaged 4.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in slightly less than half a game
1. Evan Fournier
Forunier, a 6'7'' wing, got NetScouts Basketball’s attention at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit. Fournier displayed solid athleticism, very good body control and explosiveness to the basket.
If he improves his shooting and defense, he has the potential to be an NBA starter within a few years. He needs to get stronger and become a more consistent shooter, but that should come with time.
What we like is that Fournier has been improving. He averaged 14 points per game this season with Union Poitiers Basket 86 in France, more than doubling his average from the 2010-11 season.
He only shot 27.7 percent on three-pointers, so clearly that’s an area he needs to work on. We look at Fournier as a late-first-round draft pick.
You can read our scouting report on Fournier here.