We can all agree that some of the best talent in the NBA is not necessarily homegrown, right? Look at Luka Doncic, Nikola Jovic and Rudy Gobert to name a few. All these are players who have taken the league by storm with their talents and who don’t come from the typical NCAA basketball powerhouse schools. NBA draft lottery odds experts have taken special interests in players from abroad as some of the top picks for this year’s draft and with plenty of reason.
With the game of basketball being a worldwide phenomenon and the NBA being the top of the mountain for any player aspiring to play at the best level, it’s only fair to look outside of the US for more upcoming talent that could easily leave a mark in pro basketball in the US. Guys like Manu Ginobili, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker can all help as examples of brilliant talent from around the world, so who might cause a splash now? Let’s take a look
Usman Garuba, Spain
Something that has become an apparent “it” thing in today’s game in the NBA is the ability for players of all positions to transition and show their wide variety of skills in as many parts of the floor as possible. For example, if we’re talking about what makes a power forward great in today’s game two main features come to mind, an ability to knock down threes and also a power to drive to the basket from the top of the perimeter without hesitation or stumbling. Spain’s 19-year-old stretch power forward Usman Garuba can do both of those things and with ease.
Garuba has a perfect mix of physical skills, effort, some very good footwork and a terrific defensive frame where he can guard multiple positions that make him oh so appetizing for a team looking for a versatile yet strong power forward. Given all that he brings Garuba can easily be seen being taken off the board in the first 15 picks of the draft.
Roko Prkacin, Croatia
Croatia has always been one of the best basketball talent exporting countries in the world. Guys like Dazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc and Bojan Bogdanovic all come to mind and now, Roko Prkacin is hoping to add his name to that list. Prkacin’s shooting skills are superb and are a perfect fit to the way the game is played nowadays in the NBA. Unlike other players entering the draft, both local and international, Roko has a skill set that is much more advanced than others, especially for a player of such a young age, 18 years old.
Prkacin will need some strong conditioning work to be able to put his frame up to par with what is expected from NBA players in the present but his basketball IQ, plus his long frame and shooting skills are unmatchable. Roko Prkacin could be seen going in the later part of the 1st round of the draft if any team really looks into just how advanced his skill set is for his age and how much good can be done with some expert coaching and conditioning.
Carlos Alocen, Spain
One way to describe Carlos Alocen’s game would be unorthodox, but in a positive way. Yes, he is not the quickest guard coming off a fast break but he makes up for it up with his long strides in which he uses his wingspan and length to make it seem like he’s not a 6´4 guard but someone bigger. His passing skills set him apart in his position as well as his instincts with the ball in hand and his crafty ball maneuvering. Alocen is the kind of man you want to have when the team is looking to break down a defense based solely on moving the ball around the court until the opportunity of an opening is found. He thrives in fast-break situations and can hit teammates all around the court with some amazing cross-court passes.
Alocen is a skilled player when it comes to reading opposing defenses and being able to find an opening for a quick pass and score. The Spaniard just needs some polishing on his outside shot and general defense, but his upside is way too good to pass up. He should come off the boards in the late first round or early to middle second round at the most.