2020 NBA Draft Survey

In order to gather information about European prospects in the 2020 NBA draft, I asked 11 scouts about some of the best youngsters from Europe. Here’s what they said about those prospects:

Abdoulaye N’Doye

N’Doye is a very good defender with great size and length, he really reminds me of Frank Ntilikina. But here’s the problem – N’Doye is a much less polished prospect (especially offensively) at the age of 22 than Frank was at the age of 19. We have seen how Frank struggles to exceed at the NBA level, so what is the thing that can make GMs interested in that type of player?

Marko Turk (@turkmarkoo) – His combination of athleticism and great wingspan make him a versatile defender that can cover basically all positions on perimeter and in some occasions also defend some wings on low post. The NBA is going in this direction where players should be able to defend multiple positions and N’Doye offers that. He can also run some plays in offense but so far his defensive versatility is his main selling point.

Théo Maledon

At the beginning of last season Maledon was considered to be even a lottery talent. What has happened to him during recent months? What can he bring to the NBA?

Matthias Schmidt (@Dantinho31) – Maledon had a really solid season, not more, not less. He’s a guy that has been consistent with the work he’s putting in and it shows. He hasn’t exploded nor was he underwhelming, but instead showed really decent contribution both in the French League as well as in Euroleague. He isn’t the most impressive player body-wise, but his speed and his solid IQ are certainly interesting. He reminds me at least a little bit of Ntikilina in a way that I’m worried he’ll never be a (good) starting lead guard in the NBA, but his tools on both ends are intriguing enough to expect him to be a solid contributor for years to come. He’s still really young, will have to work on his shot and his overall creation and might not have the outstanding creativity and the ceiling of a Kilian Hayes, but Maledon is a guy who will make his way – in due time. I wouldn’t pick him as a potential steal in the draft if he gets selected in the first round, but being solid on both ends and getting better everyday is definitely something I want from a player.

Paul Eboua

Eboua is a gifted athlete and he uses that strength and size on defense, but he basically can’t shoot, has questionable decision making and is not able to create shots for himself? Is this possible to be a valuable NBA player without polished fundamentals of the game?

Carl Berman (@carlberman) – The NBA Draft is mainly based on potential, not necessarily how a player is performing currently. Eboua is intriguing as he is 6-9, athletic, moves very well and could potentially guard multiple positions. Assuming he is drafted the team will work on improving areas he is deficient in or keep him in Europe another season or two and see how he develops. We have him currently as a mid to late second round pick. At that late in the draft teams look for players they can develop and do not expect any immediate contribution.

Ömer Yurtseven

Georgetown season was a total failure, but Ömer has shown his great post up skillset. What does he bring to the table besides fadeways, hook shots and close range jumpers? Is there any place in the NBA for guys like him?

Kuzey Kılıç (@Kuzeykg) – I think Ömer Faruk Yurtseven approached his ceiling in the NCAA. I mean, he showed great things in the NCAA and developed his own game. But the problem of players like him is for their development to stop. I think Yurtseven may not be able to bring anything extra to the table for the NBA in his future career. As you know, old-style players are not valued too much in the NBA. Also, Ömer’s footwork is slow, which is a huge problem. I think Ömer can sign a European contract like Filip Petrusev in a short time. If he can add a little more speed and fluidity to his game in Europe and deepen his shooting range, like catch-and-shooter with 1.1/3.3 3PTS, he may go to the NBA as a good rotation piece in the following years, but I think his current skill-set is not fit for the NBA.

Deni Avdija

We can talk about Avdija’s upside for hours. He’s a tremendous talent, but there are some areas that raise concerns. What part of the game, in your opinion, is the one that can preclude Deni from having a future in the league?

Bucks Draft (@DraftBucks) – I think he has to improve as a shooter. Like you can see in the playoffs now, lack of shooting gravity can hurt you and your team. I like him defensively, but I also saw him struggling a bit with quick players and defending in space. He will have to do that much more in the NBA, so he will have to improve there.

Marko Simonović

Simonović looks like a perfect center in today’s NBA – quick in transition, 3 point shooter, good rebounder, excellent in pick & roll situations. So why nobody sees him going high in the draft?

Chad Mart (@ChadMart1) – I haven’t watched a ton on him, but from what I see he does display flashes of brilliance on the offensive end and has a nice shot. He would for sure fit in the nba with his ability to pick and pop. I think the concerns are mostly with consistency on the offensive end and even though with his size and height he is not a true center, I think there are concerns about guarding athletic 4’s and if he had to guard bigs , is he strong enough to defend them in the paint. He is an average athlete for when it comes to being scouted. His smarts counters the lack of athletic ability some. I think he deserves a shot to work in with a team that emphasizes his offensive skill set which could come in free agency if he doesn’t get drafted. The thing with this years draftees I feel it’s going to be more if the team likes a players game and if it fits with what the teams needs are rather than taking who the best player available because there isn’t sure guaranteed talent in this draft but there is a lot of players that will find there niche on the league.

Killian Hayes

Hayes is well known for his outstanding court vision. But this skill is usually a must have for point guard and that can be not enough to be a very good NBA player. Will he be capable of doing something as well as passing the ball?

Scoutin’ The Game (@Dennis_TTG) – I don’t think he will be able to, unless he keeps his shot creation development at the same rate as in the last 2 years. He really made strides physically too and I think his overall level of skill development points in a direction where he can be a good enough slasher and shot creator to use his vision and passing to a good extend.  That combined is the intriguing part of Hayes as a prospect for me.

Yam Madar

There are some people (including me) who really love Yam Madar. Some even say that if he were a college player, he would be considered as a 1st round pick. However, it’s hard to find mocks that have Madar in the top 50. The majority of people see him going undrafted. If he’s really as good as his fans say, why does nearly nobody talk about him?

Ignacio Rissotto (@eyreball) – Unlike most of the international players in this years’ draft, who have been standout prospects for the past few years, Madar is a name who appeared on draft radars as recently as last year, when he had a breakthrough performance for Israel in their FIBA U20 European Championship run. I think most scouts were hoping to see if Madar could replicate his excellent U20 Championship performance through the entirety of a BSL Season for Hapoel Tel-Aviv and the truth is that he has come back to earth in terms of shooting percentages, going from 47.6% from three-point range at the U20s to 26.7% at the BSL; scouts could easily be concerned about this discrepancy and credit his impressive U20 performance to a hot streak of shooting. With that being said, I do think there is a lot of potential value in taking Madar this year if he’s available in the mid-second round; should he find consistency next season in Israel and improve on the already impressive moments of difficult shotmaking and gravity passing that he shows nearly every game, Madar could easily be viewed as a late first round pick in 2021; the time to get that type of talent with a low draft pick is definitely this year.

Killian Tillie

Let’s be honest – West Coast Conference is not the best basketball environment in the world. Can Tillie be an efficient NBA player or will his lack of athleticism be too difficult to overcome at the next level?

Jonathan Götting (@j_goetting) – Personally, I do not believe that Tillie’s limited athleticism will hinder him significantly in the pros. Throughout his four years with the Bulldogs, he repeatedly displayed a preternatural understanding of positioning and communication on both ends of the floor, which, paired with his versatile finishing skillset, should make up for his lack of explosiveness. The most pressing concerns lie in Tillie’s health. Since the beginning of his junior campaign he suffered numerous critical injuries that limited him to a total of 840 minutes played in his final two years of eligibility. NBA decision makers tend to put a lot of emphasis on clean medical records, as players like Bol Bol and Michael Porter Jr. fell substantially in their respective drafts. Tillie’s recent injury history might make it seem unlikely that the Frenchman can withstand the demands of the NBA, but medical staffs have proven in the past that they are excellent at conserving players throughout an 82-game regular season + playoffs. For instance, Maxi Kleber had a long battle with injuries early in his professional career before he signed with the Mavericks in 2017. Since then, Kleber has never missed a substantial amount of action and has appeared in every game of the current season.

If he can stay healthy, Tillie is one of the most appealing value plays and a worthwhile risk in the second round for a contender in need for an immediate contributor.

Nico Mannion

Passing, size, shiftiness, pick and roll, finishing, good shooting – everything that modern point guard needs. What does Nico have to do in order to be an above average player in the league?

Nicola Egidio (@cola_992) – I will tell you two things he should improve in my humble opinion: improving his defensive footwork (because at the moment he has an OK Footwork, but not great) and he has to get better at finishing through the contacts in the traffic. Very good athlete, but still to improve to be an important player right there.

Aleksej Pokuševski

We haven’t seen somebody with combination of skills and size like him, but he will no longer play youth basketball. How will Pokuševski’s role in the NBA look? Is it possible to maintain his style of playing against best players in the world?

Andrew Mastin (@andrewmastin) – That’s tough because I think it’s so dependent on the situation he’s drafted to. There might be a greater range of outcomes for Pokuševski, both in terms of role and level, than any prospect ever. It all depends on the reps he’s getting and the way his body develops. He sees himself as a guard and has always handled the ball a lot but he’s going to really have to cut down on the chances he takes against NBA defenders. That will be a huge adjustment for him, but I don’t think it means he shouldn’t have the ball in his hands. If he goes to the G-League and turns it over 6 times per game early in the season, will they move him off the ball? I don’t think that’s smart because he is so young and still learning how to make the right decision. His future organization has to be patient in all aspects of his development. Defensively, he’s best when he’s protecting the rim and rebounding but he’s not strong enough to spend much time around the basket yet. I think his role on that end is really dependent on how much stronger he can get.

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