To gauge who are the top international players, HoopsHype polled 15 NBA talent evaluators, including 10executives and five scouts. Each talent evaluator was asked to list his top five international players. The criteria included any player pro player not in the NBA right now. Some of the talent evaluators prioritized former NBA players and older veterans who are having an immediate impact on their team overseas. Others placed a higher value on younger prospects who are likely to come to the NBA in upcoming drafts. 1. Nikola Mirotic (Barcelona): The 30-year-old forward is shooting an astounding 59.7 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from beyond the arc while scoring 15.9 points per game. “He’s the guy that’s been most productive in the NBA, and someone you can put in an NBA game right now if you had to,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype.
2. Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers): “He has great size and excellent court vision,” an NBAexecutive told HoopsHype. “He sees the floor so well, and he’s probably too unselfish at times. His shooting will need a lot of work. He needs to become a consistent threat from three and he needs to improve at the line, but he’s playing in a tough league at a young age and he’s having success.”
3. Vasilije Micic (Anadolu Efes): The 6-foot-5 Serbian guard has his draft rights retained currently by the Thunder. While some have speculated he could make the jump to the NBA, his agent, Misko Raznatovic, denied having talks with any clubs for next season at this time. Still, Micic has drawn the attention of NBA teams with his play. “He’s almost an elite passer,” one NBAscout told HoopsHype. “He’s a good shooter, both on and off the dribble. He’s not athletic but has enough strength after his first step to get at the rim once he gets a runway. He’s very smart. His basketball IQ is off the charts.”
Altman and assistant general manager Mike Gansey are currently in Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament. Gansey was posted at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the first day. Both members of the front office who spearhead Cleveland’s draft efforts were also on the road for conference tournaments last weekend. Sources say Gansey was in Nashville for the SEC Tournament watching Arkansas guard Moses Moody, Tennessee’s Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer, the Kentucky kids — BJ Boston and Isaiah Jackson — as well as LSU’s Cameron Thomas. According to sources, Altman also made multiple trips to Orlando’s G League Bubble, seeing Ignite stars Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green.
After 21 years with the franchise, Pacers advance scout Jimmy Powell has retired, he told Fieldhouse Files. He’s currently in Scottsdale and also spends time at his longtime residence in Springfield, Mass.
A veteran NBA scout agreed, contending Johnson stands a good chance to be a lottery selection. “That definitely hurt him,’’ the scout said, referring to Johnson’s decision to leave Duke before the season ended. “I don’t think he’s a top 10 guy after what he did, but I see him in the mid-first round area.’’