NBA Draft 2012 Grades: Top International Players and Biggest Flops
The NBA Draft has come and gone, leaving each team to wonder if the picks made were the right or wrong ones. It's hard enough to get it right with college players as it is, but when a general manager takes a risk on an international player, it can go one of two ways:
Either that player makes an impact—the likes of Dirk Nowitzki or lesser—or makes no impact at all, the likes of Frederic Weis. However, despite the obvious risks, that hasn't stopped teams from trying their hand at finding the next piece of international gold.
Here are some of the top international players chosen and why they were either a good or bad pick.
No. 20: Evan Fournier, Denver Nuggets
At 6'7'', Fournier has solid size for a guard and the athleticism to go along with it. His outside game will need some work and there's no doubt his shooting lacks consistency, but Fournier can make an immediate impact driving to the hoop and scoring the ball the easy way.
Fournier is also a solid rebounder for his size and should be a backcourt presence on both sides of the ball for years to come.
Joining Danillo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov, the Nuggets are quickly developing themselves an international stable for the future. But with the time it's going to take to develop Fournier, Denver doesn't get the best grade possible.
There wasn't much left to take at this spot in the draft, so taking the best international player on the board can't be such a bad idea.
No. 32: Tomas Satoransky, Washington Wizards
Much like Fournier, it isn't known when Satoransky will be ready to make an impact in the NBA, but it's pretty clear he has plenty of ability to do so.
Satoransky is a great athlete who can run the floor with the best of them, and should fit beautifully next to John Wall in the future. His outside game is a work in progress, but his passing skills are superb and he has the explosiveness to drive to the hoop and torture opposing defenses in the paint.
Defensively, he is a high energy defender who shouldn't be underestimated guarding some of the better athletes on the floor at any given time.
It remains to be seen if the Wizards will have the room in their backcourt—having drafted Bradley Beal—but the upside here is what makes this a favorable pick. Washington doesn't need Satoransky to make an impact right away, and that's the perfect situation for a developing player.
No. 48: Kostas Papanikolaou, New York Knicks
So here are the Knicks, a team ready to win now and they choose a player that is still two years away or so from helping them.
Pure Knicks fashion.
I mentioned Frederic Weis at the outset of this piece, and he was the international pick New York made that never played a single minute in Madison Square Garden. Great pick...considering the Knicks passed on Ron Artest to draft the Frenchman.
So of course, Knicks' fans aren't too high on this pick.
Still, Papanikolaou has a lot of potential as an in-and-out scorer from the perimeter and the paint. At 6'8", 225 pounds, the Greek has good size to play forward, but with Carmelo Anthony in the mix, he won't be anything more than a backup for the foreseeable future.
The Knicks needed a player who could make more of an immediate impact with their title hopes on the forefront, and this pick simply didn't get it done—no matter how much potential Papanikolaou has.
No. 50: Izzet Turkyilmaz, Denver Nuggets
Turkyilmaz is a pure seven-footer with the potential to have a solid game on the perimeter and in the paint. Still, like most international players, he is very much a work in progress.
While the Nuggets might be young at their heart, they are a team ready to win now and will be looking to break through their annual early playoff exit and get to the Conference Finals, or better.
Turkyilmaz might be a nice project for the next couple of years, but he does nothing to help his team win now and that's what Denver needed. Instead, they piled on another international player who might never make it over to the states.
Taking a chance on one international player like they did with Fournier is understandable. But taking a chance on yet another player from overseas in the same draft? Not too impressive.
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