Top 10 international draft prospects
Dante Exum, Dario Saric lead under-the-radar class
This year's 2014 adidas Eurocamp is in the books. It was one of the weakest fields ever, with just one potential 2014 first-rounder in attendance. But that doesn't mean this year's international field is weak.
Since the 2003 high point, when eight international draft prospects went in the first round and another 12 in the second round, international prospects have had a dwindling impact in the draft and the league.
Last year, the influence of international prospects in the draft picked back up a notch. A total of seven international players were drafted in the first round, led by Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo. But none of the seven international players drafted in the first round went in the lottery.
This year's group of international players is even more highly coveted. While only five of them look like locks for the first round, as many four of them could end up in the lottery.
After speaking to a number of international scouts and NBA executives, here's our take on the top 10 international players in the draft.
Top 10 international players
1. Dante Exum, G, Australia
Exum is just the third international player in the past eight years to be ranked in the top five on our Big Board (Ricky Rubio and Jonas Valanciunas are the other two). He's also, far and away, the most mysterious. Only a handful of NBA GMs have ever seen him play live (at the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit) and even a majority of NBA scouts have seen him only once or twice.
So how does he go from that to being a potential top-five pick in this year's draft? Exum's strong play at the Hoop Summit and in practices against other elite talent, combined with a strong performance at the Under-19s in Prague this summer have many convinced he could be a Penny Hardaway-like point guard who has speed, quickness and an uncanny ability to get to the rim. His jump shot is still a question mark and his playmaking skills could use polish, but Exum's physical tools, background and skill set make him a prospect worthy of this lofty ranking.
2. Dario Saric, F, Croatia
16.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3.2 APG in 33 MPG for Cibona in the Adriatic League
Saric was actually ranked No. 1 on this list last season before inexplicably withdrawing two weeks before the draft. Saric had a lottery "promise" from the Dallas Mavericks, and sources say he likely would've gone even higher to the Blazers at No. 10. He improved in virtually every aspect of his game this year but the questions about whether he'll withdraw from the draft again or insist on staying in Europe if he is drafted hover over his draft stock.
Strip all that away however and many NBA GMs regard Saric as the player with the highest basketball IQ of anyone in the draft. He sees the floor and plays the game like a 6-foot-10 point guard. He's had extensive experience and production for a player his age. He won the Adriatic League Finals MVP this year and has had success in places like the Nike Hoop Summit and Under-19 Championships.
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