With high school players no longer eligible for the NBA Draft, the new trend is to select foreign prospects in the latter stages of the draft and stash them overseas to develop — while not on a team’s payroll, I might add.
With Washington Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld already on record in saying that he doesn’t expect Washington to break camp with three rookies on the roster, trading a draft pick or stashing a prospect overseas becomes a serious option.
With the Wizards hosting a group of prospects whom most have never heard of, Wednesday’s workout presents Washington a chance to evaluate the latter.
Of the six prospects attending (Kevin Foster, Vander Joaquim, Oleskandr Lypovyy, Dejan Musli, Tahj Tate, Erik Etherly) two are foreign prospects, Lypovyy(Ukraine) and Musli(Serbia). Of the two, Lypovyy is the ideal prospect for Washington to stash.
Lypovyy, while unknown on this side of the Atlantic, is a player who has been on the NBA radar for over a year now. The MVP of the Adidas Eurocamp in 2012, which also featured 2012 Denver Nuggets’ first round pick Evan Fournier, the 6-foot-8 small forward is rated by DraftExpress.com as the 96th best prospect in this year’s draft.
While his numbers were miniscule this past season with BC Donetsk(3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game) Lypovyy is already a versatile defender and has shown through glimpses that he can become a proficient pick-and-roll player as a point forward.
He’s no Manu Ginobili, but his defensive tenacity and improving offensive repertoire would be a welcome addition to Washington’s dreadful bench whenever he decides to cross the pond.
In all likelihood though, Lypovyy will either never become a contributor or never join Washington — while many foreign players are driven by the dream of one day playing in the NBA, the reality of having to travel thousands of miles just to watch NBA games courtside can be a daunting one.
Nonetheless, his selection and others like him would be a low-risk/high-reward pick. While there are second-round success stories like Wesley Matthews, Monta Ellis and the aforementioned Ginobili, many never contribute outside of practice.
So when you hear a name you can’t pronounce or haven’t heard in the latter stages of the draft, don’t get angry Wizards fans. Just take solace in the fact that Grunfeld has finally learned that you take the unknown in the second round and not with the No.6 pick, like he did in 2011 when he drafted the European Kwame Brown (Jan Vesely) over Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard.