The top "draft and stash" Euro prospects
While it is looking like a big NBA draft for international players in the lottery, there are a few lesser-known players who could find themselves selected in the second half of the first round or early in the second round.
Remember that perennial playoff teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers have played the "draft and stash" game, where they draft an international player who may not be able to help immediately or has an onerous contract that he can't extricate himself from right away. This allows the team to keep the prospect in Europe where he can get playing time to help his development as a player. And, depending on a prospect's contract situation, it often allows for his buyout to be reduced.
"Draft and stash" could easily be called "hit or miss" because, for every Serge Ibaka who could be an NBA star, there are three of four Ian Mahinmis barely hanging onto their NBA careers. Or, as formers Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard told me recently, "It's like throwing darts against a dart board." Every so often, you hit a bull's-eye.
Here are four international players who NBA fans will likely not see for a while, but all are finding themselves selected with the future in mind:
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