Evaluating top international prospects

Updated: February 22, 2012, 1:48 PM ET
By Fran Fraschilla

There was a commercial when I was growing up about the lonely Maytag washing machine repairman. He was never needed, the commercial would say, because the machine was so reliable that it never broke down.

I have evaluated the international prospects for ESPN during each of the past eight NBA drafts. Last June, I was particularly busy as six international players were drafted in the first 31 picks. This season, however, I may be as busy as that Maytag repairman.

As hard as it is to believe, at this point in the season, there is not one international prospect that I can definitively say will be drafted in the first round. In fact, there is no player even worthy of the "draft and stash" first pick in the second round spot -- the one that the Minnesota Timberwolves used to steal Serbian Nikola Pekovic in the 2008 NBA draft.

While it's certainly possible that a couple of players will emerge as first-round selections by June, none are expected to help an NBA team anytime soon. The list I've provided below, however, is made up of five players who should play in the NBA some day. Start to get to know them now, even if they don't show up in the 2012 NBA draft: