Right, so in the 2010 NBA Draft there were four Europeans: a Frenchman, a German, a Brit and a Serbian. I could easily make up a joke about how they all walk into a bar … but I won’t. [Aw. –Ed.] Instead, I’ll give you some stats on each of these players:
Okay, the Frenchman: Kevin Seraphin, a 6’9” power forward/centre from France who played last season at Cholet Basket and eventually got injured at the end of the season, fortunately this injury didn’t seem to worry scouts who decided he was the correct pick and took him at number 17 as the Chicago Bulls’ choice. However, this pick is likely to be sent to the Washington Wizards as part of the Kirk Hinrich trade.
Seraphin should be a member of the French national squad at the FIBA World Championship this summer depending on injuries and availability.
Next up is the German, Tibor Pleiss who, luckily for the Thunder, fell to the 31st pick. Most people already knew the Thunder would pick him up but didn’t expect Oklahoma City to trade for the rights to the 31st pick to do so. Tibor is a highly talented 7’1” centre from 2010-11 Euroleague squad Brose Baskets Bamberg and is also a member of the German national squad.
Some feel that Tibor is not completely NBA ready right now so he can either develop in Europe or the D League. I feel he could get some solid minutes off the bench on a vertically challenged Thunder squad.
Serbian Nemanja Bjelica is a 6’10” small forward who could run at four positions including point guard, shooting guard, small forward and, due to his height, potentially even power forward. This guy’s a beast and a true steal at number 35; like the rest of the players above, he can either stay in Europe or go NBA and really contribute straight away.
Bjelica’s experience on the Serbian national team has helped him develop as a man playing again men, unlike some college players. Unfortunately for him, instead of playing for the Wizards who drafted him, he will be playing for the Timberwolves, the only positive of which appears to be the possibility of playing alongside Ricky Rubio next season.[Or not. –Ed.]
Last but not least, my fellow countryman the Brit: Ryan Richards, a 6’11” 230 lb. power forward/centre taken 49th overall by the San Antonio Spurs. I am happy for Ryan truly, and it’s great to see another Briton in the draft. Richards really surprised people coming into this draft, as he was relatively unknown; his workouts and ability at the combine really surprised a lot of people, however.
Richards played last season in Switzerland’s top division – no offence, but this is not the best league in the world and Richards only managed to play in six games before separating his shoulder. In his own words, Richards has said he does not want to return to Europe and would rather stay in the NBA Development League, a good move – If someone goes down with an injury Richards can move right into the lineup for the Spurs; on a long-term injury, he might carve out a niche for himself and get himself on the floor a little bit.
Apparently San Antonio are going to do with him the same as what they did with Tiago Splitter: send him on loan back to Europe to continue his development in Gran Canaria. Obviously this will need to be checked out, but apparently that’s what the Spurs want. I say let him play in the D League! It won’t do any harm; if one of your players do get injured, he can come in and contribute for a contender.
– written by Sam Chadwick
Sam Chadwick is a assistant coach for the Solent Kestrels U13 team. He also writes a British basketball-centered blog called Hype.