Before jumping in, I made a few notable changes to improve the international projections. FIBA tournaments and other junior-level competitions are no longer included; only stats from professional leagues beginning with each player’s first draft-eligible season. This narrows the focus of the projections, rewards guys playing in high-level leagues overseas, and puts them on more equal footing with NCAA prospects. Here is how DMX ranks the internationals in the latest ESPN 2018 mock draft:
Slovenian prodigy Luka Doncic is not only the top-rated player in this draft class, but also stands as the DMX “GOAT”, and by a significant margin. Doncic is posting unheard of all-around production (23.7 PTS, 8.6 REB, 7.6 AST, 1.9 STL, 0.5 BLK Per 40 minutes) against what could be the toughest possible non-NBA schedule between the Spanish ACB and Euroleague. DMX is largely built on precedent and there is none for a teenager dominating the highest levels of international play. As much as I like Jaren Jackson as a potential defensive anchor with offensive upside, Doncic stands out to me as the most unique and special talent in this draft. Even if Luka is not a combination of Bird and Magic as his DMX would suggest, he could be a Gordon Hayward type which is a solid enough return on the top pick.
Currently ranked between picks 20-26 on ESPN, The Stepien, and NBADraft.net, Bosnain bucket-getter Dzanan Musa strikes me as a candidate to be a draft-day steal. He is one of the youngest players in the draft, has good size for a perimeter player at 6’8″, and was highly productive and efficient on a good Adriatic League team. Even with valid concerns about his frame and defense, late first round seems pessimistic to me.
Isaac Bonga is another Euro prospect that I think is oddly underrated. Bonga was once a projected lottery pick who is now regarded as a late-second rounder even though he fared well in the top German league as an 18-year-old. He also has an intriguing profile as a 6’9″ guy who can pass (4.6 AST/40) and potentially shoot (89.3 FT%). Just based on box score scouting, I don’t see why Bonga is rated some 20-30 spots lower than Oregon product Troy Brown (who I really like):
|Isaac Bonga||SF||BBL/PRO B||5.2||6’9″||18.6||13.8||6.5||4.6||2.4||0.9||4.5|
French PG Elie Okobo is a name picking up steam and for good reason. He has had a breakout year in the French Pro A, vaulting him into the top 25 overall in DMX. I have always been a fan of Okobo’s offensive game having watched him in FIBA tournaments and it seems like he has greatly improved. I think he’s a worthy choice in the late first/early second range.
It’s a bit disappointing that Rodi Kurucs only logged 56 minutes for FC Barcelona in his second draft-eligible season, but he has put up strong enough numbers in the Spanish second-division league (LEB Gold) to earn a top-50 grade. Kurucs is 6’9″, can shoot, and boasts a promising combination of steals (2.2/40) and blocks (1.4/40), albeit against weak competition. I would side with most draft boards that he is a mid-to-late 2nd rounder.
Sanon is a really fun player who can play on the ball offensively and uses good instincts and athletic ability to rack up steals and blocks, but his shooting/scoring for a 6’4″ guard is a serious red flag. The Ukranian product has shot 26% from 3PT and 45% from the line this season (on just 1.8 FTA Per 40 minutes) and his scoring volume is outlier bad (11.7 PTS/40). Sanon will still be 18 on draft day and he is an NBA athlete, so he might be worth a late 2nd round flier for a team with a good shooting coach.
DMX is low on Jallow because he’s 21 and still playing mostly for Bayern Munich’s farm team, and with a sub-30 3PT% for his career I’m not sure he can be considered a 3&D prospect.
Amine Noua has had a nice age 21 season in France, but his overall body of work does not merit drafting in my opinion. I would much rather take Gary Clark or a medically-cleared Bonzie Colson, a pair of NCAA power forwards who are not listed on ESPN’s latest mock.