Possible NBA Fits for Goga Bitadze
Unlike certain NBA drafts in the past, the 2019 class will not feature a premier international prospect. The most coveted is probably France’s Sekou Doumbouya, a projected late-lottery pick. However, there is another foreign player that has quickly risen up big boards and mock drafts: Goga Bitadze from the Republic of Georgia. He’s soared to No. 10 on my final big board.
The 6-foot-10, 250 lb big man is as unique as they come. Despite only playing just over 23 minutes per contest for Mega Bemax in Serbia, he averaged 14 PPG on 39 percent three-point shooting. Not the most gifted athletically, Bitadze uses high basketball IQ and quality post offense to cause problems for opposing defenses. The perimeter shooting makes him an attractive prospect, and there is real traction that could land him in the late lottery come draft night. Let’s take a look at a few teams that he could possibly fit in with:
Pick: 13th overall
The only frontcourt piece that is in the Miami Heat’s long-term plans is Bam Adebayo. Taking o a flyer on Bitadze with the thirteenth would make a ton of sense. Adebayo has shown signs of a developing offensive game, but Bitadze’s future as a stretch big could do wonders for the duo’s chemistry. One of the most efficient players in the EuroLeague since Luka Doncic, Bitadze does not present much of a “bust” risk. He contributed effectively in professional settings, and he would have smooth translation to the modern NBA.
Bitadze may need a couple years to polish his offensive game and develop a scoring identity, but the developmental aspect of the Miami organization is one of the best in the league. However, he offers more than just scoring as he is exceptional in the pick-and-roll game on both ends of the court. Some teams will pass on him because of uncertainty, but all it takes is one team to take a chance on a big man who possesses a skill set that can keep him on the court for years to come.
Pick: 12th overall
The Hornets have a handful of bad contracts in their frontcourt and none of them are long-term answers in the future. Bitadze gives Charlotte an eventual upgrade at the center position and would be an effective fit on the floor. At this point, we’ll just assume Kemba Walker re-signs; the pick-and-roll opportunities for the Hornets would be vastly improved right off the bat, If Bitadze can show that he can knock down shots off the pick-and-pop, it would open up the offense to a whole new level.
If Walker decides to go elsewhere, Bitadze offers a quality young piece with high upside. The high basketball IQ and efficiency would be a luxury for the organization going forward and a potential franchise piece in the frontcourt.
Picks: 8th and 10th overall
There is somewhat of a possibility that Atlanta could take him with the 10th overall, but it is questionable. That still doesn’t take away the fact that he fits in well with the Hawks. The potential pick-and-roll pairing with franchise point guard Trae Young could be deadly and the floor spacing he provides would directly benefit John Collins. The Hawks would not need him to be a first or second option scorer, which would allow Bitadze to alter the game in other ways such as passing and screens.
Not only would he supply Atlanta with a possible frontcourt running mate, but Bitadze would also replenish the big man depth for the future. The rebounding and unique post-game that he sports would add a new dimension to the Hawks’ offensive attack.