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NBA Scouts Are Ridiculous to Ignore European Basketball. NCAA is Nothing Compared to Euroleague.
Img Source It has been over 30 years since the first European basketball player came to the NBA but people in the USA are still very skeptical about the European players. I can somehow justify that behavior in the 90's but with all technologies today, scouts should do a much better job. In 1996, Aleksandar Dordevic, the current head coach of Serbian national team, joined the Trail Blazers and got completely destroyed by the system. He was ignored as a player and only played in 8 games before being fired in December that same year. That is ridiculous because Dordevic managed to score 41 points (9/12 three-pointers) against Lithuania in the EuroBasket finals one year before. He was one of the best shooters in the world for sure and still, the Blazers let him get away. Naturally, most of the fans blamed Dordevic (and other similar cases such as Macijauskas) instead of the system which was favorable to the local players. That created a very bad opinion of European basketball. And at some level, I must agree that American basketball was at a much higher level in the 90's and early 00's compared to European. However, the world changed a lot in those 20 years. These days, European basketball level is extremely high. Teams like Real Madrid, Fenerbahce, or CSKA already proved many times that they are capable to beat teams from the NBA. On top of that, many world-class NBA players are from Europe (Giannis, Dragic, Gasols, Porzingis). Even though European national teams still lose to the USA, the gap is getting smaller every year. If Giannis keeps improving, I have a feeling that Greece will be a powerhouse very soon. Serbia will have a shot at winning against the USA as well. Also, teams like Spain or Lithuania can pull off an upset anytime as well (watch Lithuania - USA 2000 Sydney Olympics semi-final which Lithuania almost won). Img Source (Both Navarro and Macijauskas could have been some of the best shooters in the NBA if they were given a chance) Of course, there have been many flops in the drafts as well. Just look at Darko Milicic or Andrea Bargnani careers in the NBA. However, we must also agree that many Americans who came to the NBA from the NCAA have flopped as well. So, whenever you try to make an argument using those players, remember Bennett, Oden or Kwame Brown. And even though European basketball improves every year, Americans are still very ignorant towards it. Let's take a look at the NY Knicks' fans reaction when the team drafted Prozingis, the player which became one of the best NBA big guys. Every single fan booed at the drafts, making it awkward for both Porizingis and the Knicks organization. And he was drafted as the fourth pick. Imagine the reaction if he was the first draft. And meaning no disrespect to other players, Porzingis (when he is healthy) became the best player from the 2015 drafts after KAT (I would also argue if Porzingis is not already better than KAT). Players like Cauley-Stein, Stanley Johnson and Frank Kaminsky who the Knicks fans preferred over Porzingis are showing nothing in the league. So here we go. And after Porzingis case, everyone still got pissed when Luka Doncic was drafted as the third pick. How crazy is that? There were actually people who doubted Doncic's abilities to play in the NBA even though he won all the titles with Real Madrid and was the MVP in most of the finals. As well, he and Dragic won the EuroBasket in 2017. Doncic did that all at the age of 18 while other guys who were hyped by the USA media were playing against kids in the NCAA. And yet, a lot of so-called experts thought that Doncic was not ready to play in the NBA. What do we see now? He is clearly the best rookie this year so far and he has the potential to successfully change Dirk Nowitzki as the new franchize player. Don't you think that all this is ridiculous? Of course, the fact that many scouts are ignoring European basketball helps to maintain the high level. And yet, it pisses me off a little. One day, when even more Docics and Giannises come to the NBA and dominate, the NBA teams will finally start appreciating European basketball. That day is yet to come. For now, if you think that NCAA basketball is at a higher level than European basketball, you need to rethink everything you know about this game.