Draft Watch: How high will international prospects go?

Originally Published: January 24, 2007
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com
We've heard so much about this year's sensational young college players that it's easy to forget that the first pick in the 2006 NBA Draft was from Italy, not the United States.

Andrea Bargnani, the first European player drafted No. 1 overall, started slowly for the Toronto Raptors (due in part to a lack of playing time) but has become a big contributor and a candidate for Rookie of the Year.

This year, however, the chances of an international player cracking the top five, perhaps even the top 10, seem slim. The stellar college freshman class overshadows the weak international crop, and we likely will see fewer international players drafted in the first round than we've seen the past few years.

Still, there is talent in this group of international players. To find out just how much, I talked to several international scouts and NBA executives who have been overseas in recent months.

And as a bonus, I have a closing note on the best international prospect in the game.

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider