Players to watch in the 2022-23 German Basketball Bundesliga – NBA Draft Digest

After our preview of the French League, we move on to Germany, where the basketball Bundesliga kicks off on September 28. Although the German league may not have the depth of talent of its French counterpart, it has two of the best guard prospects in European basketball, as well as a number of talented young players who could find their way. to the NBA over the next few years. years.

Here are some names NBA scouts will keep an eye out for during the 2022-23 Basketball Bundesliga season.

Tier 1: Projected Draft Picks

Juan Nunez

18.3 years | Guard 6’4” | Ratiopharm Ulm

Nuñez is not only the best passer in this international class, he is probably the best passer to come out of the international game since Luka Doncic. Simply put, there’s not a single pass that Nuñez doesn’t have in his arsenal and he’s able to find teammates all over the pitch, both in transition and in the half-court with precise passing and creative.

A master of manipulating defenders with his dribbling, Nuñez is not an explosive ball-handler, but he is smooth and sure with the ball in his hands, being comfortable in traffic and attracting multiple defenders, whom he exploits to prepare his teammates for open shots. . When calling his own number, the Spaniard uses his 6ft 4in height and developed upper body to physically impose himself and create space against smaller perimeter defenders.

Shooting has always been a bit of an Achilles’ heel for Nuñez, but the 42.9% he shot from three points this summer at the FIBA ​​Europe U20 Championships and some shooting moments off the dribble during the tournament could be indicators of improvement. in this area. However, he has historically shot low volume from beyond the arc, much like he did in the tournament (only two attempts per game), making it difficult to project him as a shooter to the next level.

After spending his formative years at Real Madrid and seeing mostly waste minutes for the senior team last year, Nuñez has moved to Germany where one should expect to see more minutes and have a bigger role. for Ulm, where he will try to resume the MVP performance he had at the European U20 Championships.

Fedor Zugic

19.0 years | Wing 6’5” | Ratiopharm Ulm

Considered one of Europe’s best and most versatile shooting prospects, Zugic left Buducnost in his native Montenegro and signed with Ulm ahead of the 2021-22 season and in his first season in Germany he showed obvious potential as an offensive weapon in the NBA. level.

Zugic is able to convert jumpers out of the grip with little time and space and against heavy defensive pressure. His shooting off the dribble is also exceptional, as he is able to create space for his jumpers both through his handling ability and by using screens in pick-and-roll situations. Zugic’s shot looks great mechanically, with an extremely repeatable and consistent shot motion.

Far from being a one-trick pony offensively, Zugic also shows the ability to get to the basket with a quick first step and taking advantage of fences he draws with his shooting ability.

The other side of the ball, however, hasn’t been ideal for him. It’s clear that Zugic hasn’t fully grown into his frame, which in his first season in Germany made him susceptible to contact, especially when defending screens. Lacking elite length, it is also slightly limited to defending mid-sized Point Guards or Shooting Guards.

It will be interesting to see if Zugic can leap forward in his second season in Germany, improve in efficiency, reduce turnovers and provide any kind of defensive value. If he does, he should be considered one of the International Guard’s top prospects in the draft. The offensive advantage is just too high to pass up.

Level 2: Potential leads

Tobias Jensen

18.4 years | Guard 6’6” | Ratiopharm Ulm

Jensen was one of the best players in the FIBA ​​Junior Tournaments this summer. While leading Denmark to a second-place finish in Division B of the U18 European Championships, Jensen showed full passing ability, being able to find teammates with advanced reads and deliveries, both on the move and in half-court situations. Scoring-wise, he doesn’t have the most explosive first step, but he’s usually fluid with the ball in his hands, allowing him to cut through traffic and his combination of length and vertical explosiveness allows him to finish. at the edge. His shooting has also been impressive, as he converted 37% of his 205 attempts from beyond the arc, between FIBA ​​and Germany’s Third Division last season.

Having the size of a wing and the skills of a Point Guard, his profile is extremely intriguing, if he grows into his body and cleans up certain aspects of his game, such as tightening the grip to reduce turnovers and making his mechanics of more reproducible shooting. and compact, he could become an NBA prospect in the next few years.

Len Schoorman

20.2 years | Guard 6’4” | Hamburg Tours

Schoormann has stood out at nearly every stage of his career due to his aggressive goalscoring mentality and his athleticism, which he uses to outrun opponents on the open court and finish on the edge with explosiveness. Schoormann, however, is not playing the most efficient type of game and last season, while he saw an increase in his minutes, his efficiency dropped, shooting just 38.3% from the field and committing almost twice. more turnovers while he had assists.

After spending most of his formative years in Frankfurt, Schoormann will join Hamburg this year. If he can improve his efficiency, become a more consistent shooter and continue to improve on the on-the-move passing moments he showed at the FIBA ​​U20 European Championships this summer, he’ll likely get some looks as a prospect at two guards with interesting tools. and mark upside down.

Luc Van Slooten

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20.4 years | 6’9″ forward | Lowen Braunschweig

Van Slooten has been considered a top prospect in Europe for some time, thanks to his combination of 6-foot-9 height, coordination, mobility and defensive contributions. While not a primary rim protector, his versatility in covering perimeter players his size, combined with his ability to rebound and his anticipation of making defensive plays off the ball make him an attractive defensive prospect. Offensively, his role is mostly off the ball by cutting to the basket, running the ground in transition and hitting shots, but he has shown the ability to put the ball on the ground in strike-and-go situations or for attack the fences.

Van Slooten doesn’t offer a high level of creation for himself or others outside of dribbling, but he does add value at both ends of the pitch with his defensive versatility and little used role in attack. A solid season could put him in consideration as a draft and stash prospect.

Level 3: More names to follow

Elias Baggette

20.4 years | Guard 5’11” | HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim

An aggressive point guard who creates advantages through his fluid dribbling ability and is able to capitalize on this by finishing at the edge with a solid level of touch or finding teammates on the move with responsive and creative passing. His below-average height and lack of sniper ability will likely keep him from being considered by the NBA in the short term, but it’s easy to imagine him becoming a top general in Europe.

David Fuchs

18.8 years old | 6’8″ forward | Ratiopharm Ulm

A 6’8″ Austrian striker, Fuchs has an impressive ability to ground the ball to attack the fences and punish lags when defended by smaller perimeter players. Defensively he is able to use his size and length to bother the opposition Fuchs lacks high-level experience and hasn’t been effective as a shooter at this stage, but the combination of tools, defensive potential and ball-handling ability is definitely intriguing.

Jason George

21.3 years | 6’8″ forward | Bayern Munich

George is entering his fifth consecutive season playing for Bayern Munich, where he has seen his playing time increase every year. A solid 6’8″ striker, George has been a connecting piece off the bench for Bayern, doing a bit of everything in attack (shooting the hold, finishing on the edge, moving the ball) and in defence, although ‘in a small number of minutes. His lack of an elite trait is likely to prevent him from being considered by the NBA, but he is on course for a great professional career in Europe as a player. solid of the “sticky” type.

Marios Giotis

20.2 years | Wing 6’6” | BC Goettingen

Born in Greece, Giotis signed with Göttingen after a breakthrough campaign for Panathinaikos in the Adidas Next Generation 2020 tournament. A 6’6″ power winger, Giotis is capable of reaching the rim with his combination of height, body control and hitting in difficult shots.He also uses his gravity as a driver to find open teammates on the move and has proven to be a capable and versatile shooter at the junior level.Giotis has seen mostly waste minutes during his first season in the Bundesliga last year, it will be interesting to see if he can find minutes at Göttingen in 2022-23.

Sasha Grant

20.6 years | 6’6” Forward | Medi Bayreuth

Grant has been on scouts’ radars for some time, spending several years as one of the top prospects for Bayern Munich’s youth teams, where he stood out due to his combination of strong frame, flash management and shooting ability. After spending last season playing for Verona in his native Italy, Grant is back in Germany where he will provide a strong presence on the boards and a level of perimeter self-creation for Medi Bayreuth.

Ralph Hounnou

20.7 years | Wing 6’4” | Syntainics Mitteldeutscher BC

One of the best prospects to emerge from Benin in the past decade, Hounnou is a solid 6’4″ double guard who has impressed over the past three seasons in Germany’s lower divisions with his ability to drive to the basket, to shoot the catch and play perimeter defense. While his lack of high-level experience is a concern, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he has a breakthrough season at the top level; the tools and skills are definitely there.

Justin Onyejiaka

18.3 years | Wing 6’5” | Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt

Versatile wing with a very good size and length for the position. Onyejiaka contributes offensively with his ability to reach the rim and finish through contact, as well as his reactive passing moments on the move. A strong defender from the perimeter due to his body measurements and lateral mobility, the next step for Onyejiaka will be to improve as a shooter, having shot just 24% from three at the last FIBA ​​U18 European Championships.

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