NBA Draft 2020: Predictions for Killian Hayes, Top International Prospects

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIMay 20, 2020

ULM, GERMANY - MARCH 08: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Killian Hayes of Ratiopharm Ulm controls the Ball during the EasyCredit Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) match between Ratiopharm Ulm and MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg at ratiopharm Arena on March 8, 2020 in Ulm, Germany. (Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

The upcoming NBA draft won't just feature players from the college ranks. There will also be some talented international prospects who will get drafted and potentially become stars in the years to come.

This year, there are numerous international prospects likely to be drafted early, a group that includes a pair of talented French point guards in Killian Hayes and Theo Maledon.

Here are predictions for where some of the top international prospects in this year's draft class could land.


Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

There are a lot of draft analysts and experts who are high on Killian Hayes, a 6'5" point guard from France. Perhaps none more so than The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, who has Hayes as the No. 1 player on his 2020 draft big board.

O'Connor acknowledged that Hayes is "raw in some technical areas," but he praised his playmaking ability, handles, shooting form and defensive effort. Those are the reasons Hayes should be a top-10 selection, perhaps even getting drafted in the top five.

While Hayes is one of the top prospects in this year's class, it's unlikely he'll be the first player selected, especially with LaMelo Ball, another talented point guard, also available. However, there are several teams that should have early picks and will be looking to add a potential franchise player at the position.

One of those teams is the New York Knicks, who are likely to draft either Ball, Hayes or North Carolina's Cole Anthony. If they aren't fortunate enough to get a top-three pick or find a trade they like to move up, then Ball probably won't be an option. That could lead to Hayes going to New York, joining RJ Barrett, its 2019 first-round pick, in the backcourt.

Prediction: Hayes gets drafted by Knicks in top 10


Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

One of the best international forwards in this class, Deni Avdija is a 19-year-old from Israel who has a ton of potential as he prepares to enter the NBA. He's 6'9" and has continued to improve while playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv.

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie has Avdija at No. 7 on his draft big board, and he thinks the forward could continue to get better once he enters the NBA.

"He's good and someone who profiles as a solid starter at some point as long as his shooting keeps making the strides it has this season," Vecenie recently wrote in his latest mock draft.

A potential landing spot for Avdija could be the Charlotte Hornets, who likely need to continue to add players to their frontcourt. PJ Washington and Jalen McDaniel are currently young power forwards on their roster, but Charlotte hasn't had enough production below the basket, which Avdija could help with. Plus, the Hornets should have a top-10 pick and be in the range to potentially draft Avdija.

Prediction: Avdija gets drafted by Hornets in top 10


Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

BELGRADE, SERBIA - NOVEMBER 15: Theo Maledon of Asvel Villeurbanne in action during the 2019/2020 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 8 match between Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and LDLC Asvel Villeurbane at Stark Arena on November 15, 2019 in
Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Like Hayes, Theo Maledon is a talented French point guard who could potentially make an impact in the NBA in years to come. And not only does the 6'4" standout have some impressive skills, he's also been mentored by former NBA point guard Tony Parker.

O'Connor wrote that Maledon is a "strong floor general" and praised his shooting ability, but he also noted the player's "lack of burst may limit his upside." However, there's also reason to believe that Maledon can continue to improve and develop after he gets drafted, which may not happen until after the first 15 or so picks.

"He has made steady progress each season and possesses a high work ethic," O'Connor wrote.

If Maledon is still available when the Milwaukee Bucks (who own the first-round pick of the Indiana Pacers) are on the clock, they should consider drafting the 18-year-old guard. The Bucks' top two point guards are 30-year-old Eric Bledsoe and 34-year-old George Hill, so they could use a younger player at the position to develop for the future.

Prediction: Maledon gets drafted by Bucks after lottery picks