The 2020 Tokyo Olympics provided incredible theater in the basketball tournament, leaving us with the United States, France, Slovenia and Australia as a strong final four featuring various superstar names from the NBA.
The Games were also an opportunity for lesser-known players to gain some extremely valuable exposure on an enormous platform, potentially putting themselves on NBA radars for the future.
Below, we break down five players from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics who we believe played themselves into potential future NBA opportunities.
Nick Kay (Australia) 🇦🇺
We start off with Nick Kay, Australia’s frontcourt starter since Aron Baynes got injured, who performed admirably in stepping in for his NBA-based teammate.
Over five games played so far in the Olympics, Kay has averaged 12.0 points on 58.1 percent shooting and 6.6 rebounds while helping lead Australia to the bronze medal game against Slovenia.
Kay has spent the majority of his career in the Australian league, where, in his final season in 2019-20 with Perth, he averaged 15.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists over 28 games while shooting 46.0 percent from beyond the arc, albeit on a limited sample size.
Since then, Kay headed to Liga ACB for the 2020 campaign, playing in arguably the second-toughest basketball league in the world and doing the brunt of the dirty work down low for Real Betis that season.
Kay, currently a member of the Shimane Susanoo Magic of the Japanese B.League, can best be described as a poor man’s Kevin Love, a big man who does well on the glass, can hit open three-pointers with his feet set and do some playmaking on short rolls to the cup.
He may not light the world ablaze in the NBA, but as a dirty-work big man with some outside shooting touch, the 29-year-old could carve out a solid role for a team lacking in the frontcourt department.
Klemen Prepelic (Slovenia) 🇸🇮
One of Luka Doncic’s most talented teammates with the Slovenian national team, Klemen Prepelic was the 12th leading scorer in the Tokyo Olympics heading into the two medal games, averaging 15.0 points to go along with 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting 38.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Prepelic has spent the last three seasons of his career playing in the second-best basketball league in the world, the Spanish Liga ACB, first for Real Madrid, then with Joventut Badalona and most recently with Valencia.
The scoring-minded guard excelled most in his second season in Spain, confidently taking the reins as Joventut’s top player that campaign, averaging 21.7 points and 3.0 assists and shooting 36.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Of course, that wouldn’t be Prepelic’s job in the NBA, or with any other top team in Europe for that matter, as the 6-foot-2 guard does his most effective work as a reserve.
As a potential Slovenian version of Lou Williams, which he more or less plays alongside Doncic with Slovenia, Prepelic could definitely find a spot in the NBA, taking over scoring duties off the bench and getting buckets against second units.
Still just 28, Prepelic still has time to make his way over to the best league in the world, and after his eyebrow-raising Olympic performance (outside of one huge play to close the semi-final against France), it wouldn’t be shocking whatsoever to see NBA teams catch interest in the streaky scorer.
Simone Fontecchio (Italy) 🇮🇹
The sixth-leading scorer in Tokyo, Italy’s Simone Fontecchio is another player who definitely caught some attention with his impressive Olympic play.
Fontecchio averaged 19.3 points and 3.0 rebounds over four games in Tokyo, but more noteworthy than that was the fact that the Italian swingman hit 10 of his 22 three-point chances, good for a 45.5 percent mark, the fourth-most accurate clip among players who attempted at least 20 threes in the Olympics.
Standing at 6-foot-8 with some solid athleticism behind him, Fontecchio doesn’t provide much as a slasher but does use his lateral quickness well defensively, giving him the makings of a prototypical modern 3-and-D small forward, an archetype that has become so important in the Association over the past decade.
Tasked with hitting threes and defending opposing wings, Fontecchio has a ready-made role in the NBA waiting for him if a team does look to bring him over.
And considering he’s still just 25 and playing in Euroleague next season with Baskonia after spending 2020-21 there with ALBA Berlin, meaning a lot of exposure against elite overseas competition, look for his name to pop up in NBA circles more if he continues to produce the way he has recently.
Andreas Obst (Germany) 🇩🇪
The man with arguably the best facial hair in Tokyo this summer, German guard Andreas Obst put up just 12.0 points per contest in the Olympics but performed his actual job for the German national team, to shoot threes, at a very impressive level.
Obst averaged the most three-point attempts of any player in Tokyo, heaving 8.8 looks from beyond the arc over four games, just ahead of Doncic’s clip of 8.6, something that Obst accomplished while controlling far less of the ball than Doncic did for Slovenia.
And in that many nightly opportunities, Obst found impressive success, sinking 40.0 percent of those chances for Germany, the fifth-best rate of any player with at least 30 three-point attempts in the Olympics.
Possessing a smooth, quick release and even some off-the-dribble shooting touch, Obst will really get the chance to catch the NBA’s attention this upcoming season, which will be his first with Bayern Munich and competing in EuroLeague.
If Obst can continue to shoot it this well in 2021-22, the 25-year-old could definitely draw some interest from NBA circles, since the one thing teams in the Association can’t get enough of right now is high-level shooters.
Johannes Voightmann (Germany) 🇩🇪
In the Olympics, 28-year-old big man Johaness Voightmann averaged just 8.8 points over four games, but rebounded well, securing 8.0 boards per contest, the fifth-highest mark in Tokyo, and shooting 35.7 percent from three.
A complete big man without major weaknesses outside of maybe shot-blocking, Voightmann has become a very reliable shooter over recent years, hitting 43.7 percent of his 250-plus three-point attempts over the last three seasons, all of which came as a member of CSKA Moscow, who also compete in Euroleague.
If NBA teams are looking for a big man who will battle down low on both ends and space the floor offensively (and you know they are always looking for such players these days), Voightmann could be a solid option, as he’s proven to be a plus-player at the Euroleague level throughout his career and is coming off a solid Olympic showing with Germany.