NBA Prospects Goga Bitadze & Yovel Zoosman Starring In EuroLeague

While there is no clear-cut Luka Doncic-caliber European prospect at the top of the draft board this year, there are still several players from the EuroLeague that could turn into steals outside the lottery. 

Some of the best international talent projected for the 2019 NBA Draft, Sekou Doumbouya and Luka Samanic, didn’t play in the EuroLeague this season. Due to the high level of competition and limited rotations in such a veteran-heavy league, many teams who are able to consistently feature young prospects don’t achieve the level of sustained success necessary to receive an invitation to play in the EuroLeague. 

While this may limit the number of young players we get to watch flourish in the world’s best non-NBA league, it does make what Luka Doncic did last year, and several of our young prospects this year, all the more remarkable.

EuroLeauge 2019 NBA Draft Prospects

Goga Bitadze, Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, 19, C, 6-11

12.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 59.7% 2FG%, 31.3% 3FG%, 71.4% FT%

This rim-running big man from Georgia tops our list of EuroLeague prospects this year and is projected to be a late first-round pick. He is a big body who sets hard screens, is a crafty finisher with both hands around the rim (shooting nearly 60 perecnt on two-point attempts), and can anchor a defense (2.3 blocks per game). 

While he was projected to go in the second round last year, he decided to withdraw from the draft last minute in order to hone his skills in Europe for another year. It appears the strategy paid off, with noticeable improvements on both sides of the floor. While it may take several years to adapt to the speed and strength of the NBA game, he could contribute right away in a Jusuf Nurkic role, setting screens and rolling hard to the rim, where his versatility and crafty finishes could prove useful against the bigger and stronger NBA bodies he will have to go against. 

He still lacks some of the lateral quickness that will allow him to switch onto NBA-level guards, but his length allows him the opportunity to contest the shots of smaller players, even when trailing behind. Bitadze also has some range, with a consistent mid-range jumper, and a willingness to shoot from the outside. His solid free throw shooting numbers indicate that Goga has the potential to develop into a real outside threat in the NBA, which would increase his value in the new pace and space era exponentially.

Yovel Zoosman, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, 20, G, 6-7

3.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.2 APG, 52.4% 2FG%, 37.5% 3FG%, 84.6% FT%

As a 19-year-old, Zoosman led Israel to its first FIBA Gold Medal, scoring 14.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game, and earning tournament MVP honors. While he has struggled to shine in quite the same light under the bright lights of the EuroLeague, his physical frame, great court vision, and two-way potential have him projected as a mid-second round pick

He has great size for a guard, and can consistently knock down 3-pointers with a high release. He can create his own shot, finishing with a step-back or several crafty finishes around the rim with both hands. However, he relied pretty heavily on his size, physicality, and quick first step to create separation at the FIBA U20 and Euroleague level, which doesn’t seem likely to translate to the NBA very well. 

He has great passing vision, and moves well off the ball, but needs to continue to develop quickness and strength if he wants to compete at the NBA level. If drafted in the second round, Zoosman will most likely still need a year or two or more consistent play at the EuroLeague level before coming over to the NBA.

Vets Shengelia, Huertas Inspired Baskonia

KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz head coach Velimir Perasovic made two changes to the starting lineup from the side that lost by 26 points in Game 1. He replaced second-year players Vincent Poirier and Luca Vildoza with his two most experienced players, Toko Shengelia and Marcelinho Huertas. That move had a big impact on the game.

Ulanovas The Difference-Maker For Zalgiris In Game 2

What a difference 48 hours make. Zalgiris Kaunas held on to stun previously unbeaten at home Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul Thursday night. Its 82-80 road win against the best regular-season team tied at 1-1 their best-of-five series that looked like it could go only one way earlier this week.

Baskonia Overpowers CSKA To Even Series

KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz overpowered CSKA Moscow 68-78 on Thursday night at Megasport Arena to even their best-of-five playoff series at 1-1. 

Game 1 MVP: Vasilije Micic Of Anadolu Efes Istanbul

With Anadolu Efes Istanbul playing its first-ever Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs series opener on its home floor, point guard Vasilije Micic starred to help make the occasion a winning one and in the process became MVP for Game 1.

Luka Doncic Returns To Watch Old Team, Real Madrid

One year after he led them to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title, teenage sensation Luka Doncic was back with his old teammates from Real Madrid on Wednesday to mark Game 1 of the team's best-of-five playoffs series against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.

Zion Williamson Helps Couple With Gender Reveal

Apparently a dunk by Zion Williamson is good for just about everything.

Itoudis Praised CSKA's 'Almost Perfect' Effort

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As fans of CSKA Moscow basketball surely know, Coach Dimitris Itoudis is not one to praise his charges falsely. When he analyzes his team's play after a game, win or lose, he will be honest and point out what his players must do to improve going forward. Itoudis is also quick to complement those who make the difference, but the coach believes in pushing CSKA to get better and works towards his team finishing the season (or marathon as he often calls it) in their finest form.

Fenerbahce's Dream Defense Set Records

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If anyone wondered if Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, the best team in the regular season, had another level to step up, they got the proof on Tuesday night. Fenerbahce welcomed Zalgiris Kaunas to the Asian side of Istanbul and showcased its best-ever defensive performance to open the best-of-five series with a resounding 76-43 victory.

Warriors Still Favored To Win NBA Title Despite DeMarcus Cousins' Injury

Despite the season-ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins and despite blowing a 31-point lead to the Clippers in Game 2 of their first-round series on Monday night, the Warriors remain -220 favorites to win their third straight NBA title.

Road To The Playoffs: Real Madrid

Proudly carrying the precious title of defending Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion, Real Madrid has played like one for the majority of the regular season. After being crowned as a continental champion for a record 10th time last May, Madrid stormed out of the gate to start this campaign in October.