2018 NBA Draft: Luka Doncic and the Top 10 International Prospects

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterOctober 12, 2017

2018 NBA Draft: Luka Doncic and the Top 10 International Prospects

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    NBA scouts will be heading to Spain all season for a chance to evaluate Slovenian star Luka Doncic. They'll also visit France, Germany, Serbia and even Iceland to check out other potential sleepers in the draft. 

    Outside of Doncic, there should still be a handful of international names, not including those playing college basketball, worthy of first-round consideration. More will look to establish themselves as second-round stash options.

    There are always a few unpredictable breakout prospects abroad, but the following 10 could be early, priority targets for NBA teams to track.

10. Elie Okobo (France, PG, 1997)

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    Draft range: Second round

    Elie Okobo is off to a hot start in France's top league (Pro A) after seeing limited minutes last season. 

    Averaging 12.8 points and 4.2 assists (in 24.8 minutes) through four games, Okobo is on the breakout radar, capable of generating interest for his scoring and potential to improve as a passer.

    Comfortable from three, having already hit 10 of his first 24, the French combo guard puts pressure on defenses by attacking and shooting. And he shows flashes of setup ability facilitating using ball screens. 

    Still raw at 19 years old, Okobo will look to build a draft case by demonstrating a more mature floor game with more efficient two-point scoring and timely playmaking.

9. Abdoulaye N'doye (France, PG, 1998)

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    Draft range: Late first to second round

    The appeal to Abdoulaye N'doye stems from his unmatchable physical tools (6'7", 7'2" wingspan) and defensive potential, which are unique strengths for a point guard.

    His offense is behind, though, and whoever drafts him will have to wait on N'doye's scoring and playmaking. 

    At this stage, he's a drive-and-dish setup man, but it's his ability to apply pressure on the ball and guard multiple positions that make him worth tracking. 

    Showing progress with his jumper and creation could help N'doye draw looks in the 20s, but he comes off as more of a second-round, hit-or-miss project who'll look to carve out a role as a defensive specialist. 

8. Tadas Sedekerskis (Lithuania, SF/PF, 1998)

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    Draft range: Second round

    Scouts should have plenty of film on Tadas Sedekerskis, who's played in 39 FIBA games (since 2013) and recently performed at the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit. 

    He was excellent this summer at the U19 European Championships, where he averaged 15.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists on 61.9 percent shooting. His 36.1 player efficiency rating led the tournament

    Sedekerskis, a 6'9 3/4" combo forward, does a little of everything, with the body control to slash, vision to pass and enough to range on his jumper. He doesn't have one bankable specialty, but his versatility and decision-making hint at NBA role-player potential. 

7. Arnoldas Kulboka (Lithuania, SF, 1998)

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    Draft range: Late-first to second round

    After withdrawing from the 2017 draft, 2018 could be Arnoldas Kulboka's year.

    He first earned attention during 2016's Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in Toronto. Last season in Germany's top league, he averaged 14.7 points and 2.1 made threes a game .

    The NBA scouting lens picks up his 6'9" size for a wing and perimeter skills. Kulboka is smooth, both getting into his jumper and releasing with convincing range.

    The big questions: Can he compete against much stronger, more athletic NBA forwards? And does he serve a purpose if his shooting is off? His three-ball is a big selling point, but the bust potential is high.

6. Tryggvi Hlinason (Iceland C, 1997)

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    Draft range: Late first to second round

    A breakout performer at the U20 European Championships, Tryggvi Hlinason came out of nowhere to emerge as Iceland's first legitimate NBA prospect.

    He averaged 16.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in Greece, opening eyes with his 7'1" size, mobility, soft hands around the basket and motor. 

    There isn't anything flashy about his game, but he gets himself easy baskets as a rim runner, lob target, offensive rebounder and capable over-the-shoulder scorer on the block. 

    A late bloomer with NBA tools and potential at both ends of the floor, Hlinason is suddenly an intriguing second-round project who has room to improve his stock.

5. Isaac Bonga (Germany, PG/F, 1999)

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    Draft range: Middle of the first to second round

    Isaac Bonga is on the first-round radar for his unique point-forward skills. At 6'9", he's a true facilitator capable of handling the ball and setting up teammates.

    He's also a below-average athlete for an NBA wing and has struggled as a shooter from distance, raising questions over how his game will translate.

    Versatility and motor are still big selling points for Bonga. The efficiency stats haven't been, but he won't turn 18 years old until November and he thrives in areas that can't be taught. But he'll need to show progress with his jumper and two-point scoring to build a more convincing first-round case. 

    So far, Bonga has made four threes through five games (made 17 in 44 games last year) and hasn't missed any of his 14 free-throw attempts.

4. Kostja Mushidi (Germany, SG/SF, 1998)

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    Draft range: Middle of the first to second round

    There are mixed opinions on Kostja Mushidi, who passes the eye test but isn't a model for efficiency.

    He had a big U18 European Championships in summer 2016 and was relatively productive with Mega Bemax. He also led the World Team with 14 points during April's Nike Hoop Summit in front of dozens of NBA scouts and executives. 

    Mushidi has a strong frame and long arms he uses at both ends. He's an aggressive scorer and defender, though sometimes reckless. He also clearly has shot-making skills, having averaged 1.8 threes made per game last year, but consistency has been an issue.

    The arrow has gone up and down with Mushidi over the past year, and it's pointing down again to start 2017-18. He's been out since June for unknown "health reasons."

3. Dzanan Musa (Bosnia and Herzegovina, SG/SF, 1999)

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    Draft range: Middle of the first to second round

    Dzanan Musa has built a reputation as a bucket-getter during FIBA play, having averaged 25 points in 31 games since 2014. He just averaged 22.8 points during the EuroBasket pre-qualifiers and now figures to play big minutes for Cedevita in the Adriatic League.

    Musa isn't a great athlete by NBA standards, but it's tough to ignore all the production from a 6'8" wing. He creates his own shot using pull-ups and floaters, and with seven threes through five games this season, he could be making strides as a long-range shooter.

    His defensive outlook isn't too exciting, but for an 18-year-old, Musa's success putting the ball in the hole could be too enticing. 

2. Rodions Kurucs (Latvia, SF, 1998)

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    Draft range: Middle of the first to early second round

    Rodions Kurucs emerged as a potential first-round draft-and-stash option last year, but he chose to delay his declaration. He'll have a better chance to build a case for himself this season, assuming he sees time with Barcelona's senior team in the Spanish ACB and Euroleague. 

    Kurucs' physical tools and athleticism stand out for a wing. Though mostly a line-drive player, he's a strong slasher with a developing jumper out to the arc and shows flashes of perimeter defense and toughness inside.

    Enough positive flashes against high-quality competition should help restore Kurucs' stock. Using a pick in the 20s to see if his ball skills and shooting continue improving will sound like a gamble worth taking.

1. Luka Doncic (Slovenia, PG/SG, 1999)

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    Draft range: Top 5

    NBA scouts are already looking at Luka Doncic as the potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.

    The hype doesn't get much louder for an international prospect. But it's also deserved, given his unprecedented production and obvious impact as a teenager among pros.

    From Euroleague to EuroBasket, where he recently helped Slovenia run the table, Doncic has been a constant, making winning plays and demonstrating the toughness and intensity coaches love.

    He's the Lonzo Ball of this year's draft, with his intangibles and shooting more prominent than his athleticism and scoring. He'll use the 2017-18 season to strengthen his case to tankers like the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks—teams who could desperately use a winner like Doncic to build with in the backcourt. 


    Measurements courtesy of DraftExpress.com