It's not going to be a great NBA draft for international players this season, but do not think for a second that the basketball talent has leveled off overseas.
International players and their agents are much smarter about the draft process these days, showing increased patience about when to come to the NBA. By staying in Europe, they're able to develop their games and lower their buyouts. And more and more of them are coming to the league with greater confidence because of that patience.
So, while this looks to be a shallow year, next year's NBA draft could possibly see three outstanding young international players, all over 6-foot-10, taken in the top five picks. If Lithuania's 19-year-old big man, Donatas Motiejunas, pulls out of this draft and gets another year of seasoning under his belt, he'll join the Czech Republic's 6-11 Jan Vesely and Turkey's Kentucky-bound beast Enes Kanter on stage shaking David Stern's hand early in the evening a year from now. And, remember that we will likely see Spanish phenom Ricky Rubio playing in the NBA a year from now at age 21 as well.
In the meantime, here are six of the best international players in this year's draft. All of them will get picked if they stay in, but they are not necessarily the best six. I am going to save one or two first-round sleepers for the night of the draft.
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