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Euroskeptics (kind of)
by Jorge Sierra / May 10, 2003

- Out of the players you've seen during the Final Four of the Euroleague, how many do you think have true NBA potential?

Kevin Wilson (Scout, New York Knicks): Maybe two or three. Names? Khryapa, Monya... Those kids everybody is following. You have the young guy from Benetton (Kresimir Loncar). They all have a chance if they work hard. At this level, if a kid gets here, you have a chance.

RC Buford (General Manager, San Antonio Spurs): For the draft, I'd probably say three. For those who could be roster players, maybe ten. I'd rather not say names.

Ivica Dukan (Scout, Chicago Bulls): I don't know yet. We'll see.

Jason Filippi (Consultant for seven NBA teams, including Sacramento and Miami): At least ten. It's hard to say which ones, but I would say roughly ten. You have young players like Varejao and Khryapa... On the other side, you have great veterans players like Garbajosa, Tyus Edney... Of the the Russian team, we have several players... Bashminov... Victor Alexander played in the NBA for many years... So there are many players.

Western Conference scout (asked for his name not to be mentioned): I know the Euroleague players very well. I've seen these teams countless times. I feel I know Barcelona players very well. I've seen them play 5-6 times this year. I see Benetton and Siena all the time. Obviously, (Juan Carlos) Navarro has been chosen by the Wizards and I think within a couple of years he should get a chance. There are some young players that have drawn some attention for draft or for the next year -- Varejao, Khryapa, Monya... Gregor Fucka is 32 years old, but for many years he's been an NBA candidate. But he's never gone. I doubt he wants to go at age 32. He has a great situation in Barcelona. In Moscow, this player JR Holden... I think he is an unknown player for the NBA, but he has a chance to get a tryout in summer leagues and maybe training camp. I think he has the talent to play the point guard in the NBA.

- Some people have said up to 15 international players could be selected in the first round of this year's NBA Draft. Do you think that is a good estimation?

Kevin Wilson: You never know. They say a lot of things. But in the end, the good ones will be there and the rest will not.

RC Buford: Until we see what the early entries draft listing is, I don't know how you can tell that.

Ivica Dukan: No. It's hard to say a number, but 15 is too much. Not even ten.

Jason Filippi: Ten. No more than ten. You know, the names that are out there.

Western Conference scout: Every year, they say it's two or three and then it's like seven or eight. I think 10-15 international players could be selected between the first and the second round. First round, I'd say five or six.

- What can you say about Darko Milicic?

Kevin Wilson: I have seen him play for three years. He is a good player. Very big. He has a very good chance. Good enough to be a star? If you want to be a star, you have to be a very good player first.

Ivica Dukan: He's a talented kid. He is a prospect. He's not a guy who's ready to contribute right away, but he has a chance.

Jason Filippi: If he was an American, he'd probably be first or second in the draft. But you know, he'll be second or third, realistically.

Western Conference scout: Milicic is No. 2 pick in the draft. Milicic is No. 2 pick in the draft.

- What about Maciej Lampe?

Kevin Wilson: He also has to work a lot, an awful lot. He can do things, but everybody can do things. You have to work hard... Like I said, the good ones will be there.

Ivica Dukan: All these guys are prospects. We are here to find some players who can play right away.

Jason Filippi: I don't think he is ready. I won't add anything -- he's not ready. How many years does he need? Two more.

Western Conference scout: Lampe is a wild card. Lampe is a wild card. Nobody can know.

- And Mickael Pietrus?

Kevin Wilson: He also has good options. With guys like these, it's up to them. It's up to their work ethic.

Ivica Dukan: Nothing special to say.

Jason Filippi: He's ready. I think he will prove even more in the NBA.

Western Conference scout: Borderline first round. Going in the lottery? I don't think so. But potentially he is a very good player. Potentially.

- Drafting so many international players is a fashion or it's something that will continue to happen in the future?

Kevin Wilson: Globalization is everywhere. Just look at the NHL. It's a mirror in which basketball has to see itself.

RC Buford: I think drafting international players has proved to be successful for several NBA teams.

Ivica Dukan: I think it's gonna change in the future. Something's gotta stop this because it's not good for European basketball and it's not good for NBA. That's my personal opinion. I think guys are going to the NBA that are not ready and that's hurting us, that's hurting the NBA. If you are taking prospects, they are not going to be ready to produce right away. And it is also hurting Europe because good prospects are leaving too early.

Jason Filippi: It will continue definitely. Obviously, there will be some more South American and Asian players in the future. The first round of any NBA Draft in the future will feature at least ten non-USA players.

Western Conference scout: There is a problem. The problem is that kids coming out school are not that good anymore, so kids are coming out of high school and they are not ready. European players like Kukoc, Stojakovic, Danilovic, Divac -- who had become very good NBA players -- were underrated. Now we are overrating the European players. Now everybody is good. And that's not true. Only half the guys that we see can actually play in the NBA some day. Some guys aren't ready and they are getting overrated. There is too much talking.

- Is there any international player about which we have not heard much that could get a good position in the NBA Draft this year?

Kevin Wilson: No. There are no secrets nowadays.

RC Buford: With the media attention that all the players are getting, I don't know that there is any sleeper. I don't see any. You have so much written that I don't know how a player could be a candidate without the media having already talked about him out of proportion.

Ivica Dukan: Good scouts never talk about sleepers.

Jason Filippi: Not anymore to be honest, because I think that now everybody has been finally got into it. Everybody knows who the good players are. There might be some players that would do better than others. Some players would be picked in the second round like Ginobili, who was drafted three years ago and turned out to be an NBA starter.

Western Conference scout: I don't think there is a sleeper because the NBA scouts are very well prepared. They know who the good players are. There may be a player who declares for the draft who nobody knows, but it's very hard that he is a great player. Four years ago, Kirilenko was the surprise player. NBA teams wouldn't make that mistake again -- letting him slip to No. 24. If the draft would go again that year, he would be No. 1.

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com

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