The next wave: 5 foreign players who could be in the NBA
Luka Doncic was the top international name in the 2018 NBA draft. Next year, there will likely be many more international names trying to reach the NBA. Here’s a look at five of the possibilities:
He’s 6-foot-9, 230 pounds and doesn’t even turn 18 until Dec. 23 — but he will almost certainly be a high lottery pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Doumbouya started playing the game when he was 12, in part because he was simply too tall to be an effective soccer player. He plays for the French team Limoges CSP, and helped France win the gold medal at the 2016 FIBA Under-18 European Championships.
This 6-11, 250-pounder is on the first-round draft boards for some NBA teams for next season already. He moves well, has some guard skills and draws comparisons — in some parts of his game — to how Nikola Jokic was at the same age. The native of Georgia will spend this season playing in Serbia, and a good year could send him into serious draft consideration.
A native of Cameroon who’s 6-8 and 210 pounds, Eboua moved away from his family and went to Italy in 2015 to set out on his basketball odyssey. The 18-year-old has shown great strides in the last two years, plays above the rim easily and already has NBA exposure through some Basketball Without Borders camps.
A French guard who considered — and briefly was in — the 2018 NBA draft before pulling out, Mokoka has extensive experience in FIBA events and will spend this season playing in Serbia. He’s 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, will be almost 21 by next year’s draft and is still considered very raw but has captured the attention of some scouts regardless.
If Samanic wanted, he would be playing in the U.S. already since several Division I programs wanted him to enroll in college. Instead he went pro, spent last year in a lower-division Spanish league and now will be with Petrol Olimpija in Slovenia. The 6-11, 210-pound Croatian — whose father was a longtime European pro — needs to get stronger, but moves like a guard.