An Early Look at the 2016 Draft Class: Tier 4
We are nearing the end of our NBA Draft Analysis, with the International prospects in Tier 4. Rarely do these players amount to much more than a trending topic of discussion, as draft day approaches. Occasionally, one of them will develop into an NBA starter, but the safer bet is that they will not.
Here are our Tier 4 International Prospects of the 2016 NBA Draft:
Zhou Qi, C, China
*Photo via FIBA
Zhou Qi has been called the next Yao Ming by many Chinese basketball fans, but even with his skyscraper stature he couldn't tie Yao's shoes. Qi is a 7'2 floor stretcher -- with a smooth stroke -- but does not possess the ball skills to produce from where he excels at on the floor. His post skills are subpar because of his lean muscle mass and inability to establish good position. Qi is 7'2 and weighs only 209 pounds. His skinny frame is a health risk, and could equate to struggles at the next level against grown men. He's an excellent shot blocker, but must learn to block shots without fouling. Qi played in this year's Nike Hoop Summit and struggled. He missed his one shot attempt, committed three fouls, and the speed and athleticism of the high school stars seemed to overwhelm him.
Timothe Luwawu, SF, France
*Photo via Realgm
Timothe Luwawu could have more two-way potential than any other player in this international class. At 6'7, he's a very good athlete with a solid frame. Luwawu is coming off a very good FIBA U20 tournament performance also. He was France's best offensive player, on a team that has other international NBA prospects. Luwawu has a great first-step and showed potential by making impressive one-on-one moves during the tournament. However, his jumper is streaky, and he must improve his ball handling skills to better create for himself and others.
Aleksandar Vezenkov, SF/PF, Bulgaria
I do not believe that Aleksandar Vezenkov belongs on this list, but some like him, so I’ve included him. Vezenkov is a chunky-non-athletic player who has been known to let international players blow by him. However, he possesses a gifted southpaw shot and I can see a team drafting him because of his offensive versatility as a stretch four. He’s displayed a pretty fade-away shot from the high post, but his lack of athleticism could kill his chances to play in the NBA. If Vezenkov works on his game and becomes an average defender, he could hear his name called on draft night.
George de Paula, PG, Brazil
*Photo via Getty Images
Last season most people believed that George de Paula would keep his name in the NBA draft, but after competing in the NBA Combine, he may have realized the work ahead of him. At 6’4 with a 7 feet wingspan, de Paula oozes of potential and is easily my favorite wing defender in this tier. Because of his athleticism, de Paula could become a solid defender in a few years, but is extremely limited offensively right now. Many scouts could look the other way, due to his unimpressive showings at the Nike Hoop Summit and Combine. If de Paula can improve his midrange jumper, his body and sheer athleticism might buy him a draft day berth.