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Our No. 1 NBA Draft Prospect is…

Giannis Antetokounmpo

GiannisHow do you define a prospect? Is it the best player right now with some room to improve? Obviously at this moment that player is Nerlens Noel, who should be the first pick in the NBA draft coming up soon. Is it the most ready now player? That honor goes to Ben McLemore in my opinion because he is already capable of being a good NBA scorer. Is it the safest pick? That would be Otto Porter.

But the true definition of the term prospect is “a probability or chance for future success” and in that sense Giannis Antetokounmpo is the best prospect in this draft.

European prospects are incredibly risky; there have been more awful busts than decent players since teams started looking to the continent across the pond and while Antetokounmpo is a very raw prospect with definite bust potential in the right system where a team can develop him properly he could be a superstar.

Obviously some situations will be better for him than others. Going No. 1 to Cleveland or to Orlando, New Orleans, Charlotte or Washington would be a nightmare for this kid because those organizations seem incapable of developing any raw prospects but if he could land in a place like Boston, Los Angeles, Memphis, Dallas or Atlanta, places good at developing young prospects, we may see one of the best players of his generation.

When you see these European busts they all have the same thing in common. They are all super athletic, which is why teams keep taking them, but the busts are usually big guys who wind up not being physical enough to get inside to the rim in the NBA. Antetokounmpo, though, is a shooter first. He’s an incredibly athletic wing with a great offensive skill set that has earned him the label of point forward. He has good floor vision and is good with the ball in his hands. He can create his own shot but he also knows how to draw defenders to him to open his teammates with an uncanny ability to get the ball in their hands for the easier shots. He is very unselfish in that way.

European shooters tend to do well, especially bigger guys like Andrea Bargnani, Dirk Nowitzki, Toni Kukoc, Vlade Divac, Arvydas Sabonis and the late Drazen Petrovic. Peja Stojakovic to a lesser extent was far from a dominant player but was a three-time All-Star and two-time NBA Three-Point Shootout Champion. He lasted 13 years in the NBA in a very effective role.

Antetokounmpo is a good shooter and in basketball if you can shoot the ball you can shoot the ball regardless of how weak the competition they play against overseas is.

With his ability to shoot the ball combined with his ball-handling skills and ability to run the floor Antetokounmpo will find a place in the NBA but again, the key is developing. It would not surprise me if he would have to spend another year or two playing in Europe under his current contract or if a team drafted the 18-year-old from Athens, Greece planning on putting him in the D-League for a little while and there is no problem with that. If this guy were American he would likely have to spend a year or two at a major college program to refine his skills before entering the draft but Antetokounmpo does not have that luxury. His option is playing more overseas or going into the D-League, at least this way he has his draft rights protected and he could either decide to join a club good club that will help him grow into a good ball player or stay where he is at instead of going to a prospect killer.

Will he be the best player to come out of this draft? Maybe, maybe not. Will he be one of the top picks? He probably shouldn’t be. Is he the safest pick? No way. Does he has the potential to be the best player to come out of this draft? He sure does.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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