Five International Stars in the NBA Draft: What Scouts Say
A strong international class is taking shape. Here is how five top prospects look
We’re still about 10 days away from the start of the NCAA season, but basketball is in full swing all over the world, and scouts across the NBA front offices have been globetrotting to get a closer look at the top international prospects for the 2023 draft class.
While I enjoy college basketball and I began my professional career in the D League, I have an unconditional love for scouting and evaluating talent in a foreign country. There’s something about the challenge of predicting if an 18-year-old prodigy in Lithuania could star in Nike’s EYBL, stand out at a Power 5 school or one day contribute to an NBA team.
What can make scouting abroad difficult is that basketball in Europe is different from basketball in the States. The rules are different, and it’s tougher, physical, more team oriented, less athletic and, in my opinion, more arduous to evaluate. Not to mention traveling from country to country can be an experience in itself.
Not only does an international player need to have the physical tools and skill set to become an NBA prospect, scouts have to take into consideration how the player’s game will translate and if the teenager is ready to move abroad and adapt to a totally new environment.
This is why I love international scouting. The thought of finding an unheralded prospect that evolves into a franchise-altering MVP like Giannis Antetokounmpo or Nikola Jokić energizes me.
The past few weeks I’ve chatted with several international scouts with whom I built relationships during my time in Europe to get a different pulse on this class. Here are their views on Victor Wembanyama and four additional prospects who could be the next All-Stars from abroad.
Everyone has Wembanyama penciled in — or etched in stone — as the top pick of the 2023 NBA draft.
But with any player his size, injuries can play a major role in career development, scouting and assessment.
So I asked three NBA scouts how they are looking at the young French center and accounting for any concerns about his ability to stay healthy.
Is there any scenario in which Wembanyama isn’t the top pick in the 2023 draft, and do you have concerns about his durability?