Who Are Some Top International Prospects in This Year’s Draft?by Patrick Champion March 30, 2020 0 comments
This year’s NBA Draft class has generally been regarded as slightly disappointing, with only a handful of instant starters, and even fewer game-changers.
However, while the players coming from the college levels may not be the best, there are plenty of international players that make this draft class better. Some names are easily recognizable, but many prospects are under the radar and could make a big impact if they are chosen by the right teams.
Let’s take a look at some of the most notable international prospects in the 2020 NBA Draft.
LaMelo Ball, PG, Australia
This one is fairly obvious, as Ball has been on NBA scouts’ radar for quite a while, and he backs it up with his play as well.
While he only played in 12 games with the Illawarra Hawks of Australia’s National Basketball League, he averaged 17 points-per-game. Ball’s brother, Lonzo, is also a perfectly capable starting point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, as he has averaged 12.4 PPG, to go along with seven assists, and 6.2 rebounds.
While there is no guarantee that the younger Ball brother can replicate this success, he already has professional experience from playing basketball in Australia and is well-positioned to be successful in the NBA.
R.J. Hampton, G, New Zealand
While Hampton has received less fanfare than Ball, he is still an exciting international prospect with lots of potential. Hampton made waves a few months back when he decided to forgo college in exchange for a chance to play in the NBL.
He ended up on the New Zealand Breakers, and from there, he successfully navigated the season and finished with solid numbers. While they weren’t as statistically impressive as Ball’s, he still averaged 8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in only 20 minutes-per-game.
Hampton is only 19, and he is likely to improve as his career goes on.
Killian Hayes, G, France
Hayes is one of the top European players heading into the draft. The 18-year-old is improving every year, as he went from averaging 2.2 points in 2017-18 to 12.4 PPG this year. This improvement is promising, and it shows that further improvements could be made.
However, one knock on Hayes’ game is his frustrating inconsistency. While his points per game did go up this season, his turnovers did as well, as they nearly doubled from 1.7 last season up to 3.3 this year. While this isn’t great, most NBA rookies have a high rate of turnovers, and Hayes can still improve these numbers. Overall, Hayes is a very intriguing international prospect, but if he develops he could become a star.
There is reason to be hopeful for the international portion of the NBA draft. All of the players listed above are chock-full of potential, and when put in the correct situations, can be game-changers at the next level.