Recent NBA Mock Draft Has Lots Of International Flavor

2023 NBA Draft Class
Jun 22, 2023; Brooklyn, NY, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver poses for photos with the 2023 NBA draft class before the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

With less than 25 games remaining in the 2023-24 NBA regular season for most teams, several franchises have already turned their attention to the offseason. There will be some exciting playoff races this year, as seeding is far from determined except for the Boston Celtics, who hold a 7.5-game lead in the Eastern Conference.

For the teams who won’t be fortunate enough to make the postseason, preparations have already begun for the 2024 NBA Draft. There is nothing set in stone about the draft, as the order is far from being determined and the NCAA season still has 2.5 weeks before Selection Sunday.

But, it is never too early for teams to begin putting together big boards of potential prospects to keep an eye on. We are already seeing some NBA Mock Drafts pop up in the basketball world as well.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Zaccharie Risacher, Alex Sarr, Nikola Topic, 2024 NBA Draft Updates

One mock draft was recently put together by Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Until the NBA Draft Lottery occurs, making mock drafts is a difficult exercise, but it provides an idea of where prospects could land on draft night.

This year’s draft class, considered one of the weakest in recent history, has an International flavor to it. Basketball is becoming a global game and that is evident in the draft, where the No. 1 pick in consecutive years could be players who didn’t go to college.

In 2023, it was phenom Victor Wembanyama landing with the San Antonio Spurs. This year, Vecenie believes it could be Zaccharie Risacher from JL Bourg out of France, where Wembanyama also hailed from.

The Detroit Pistons landed the No. 1 pick in Vecenie’s mock and Risacher is the first of several international players he has being selected near the top. In fact, the first three players in his mock are all from overseas and didn’t play collegiately this season.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Zaccharie Risacher, Alex Sarr, Nikola Topic, 2024 NBA Draft Updates

Going second to the Washington Wizards is Alex Sarr of the Perth Wildcats in Australia’s National Basketball League. Third, to the Spurs, is Nikola Topic from Crvena zvezda in the Adriatic League.

These aren’t leagues or players the casual fan will know as they aren’t receiving anywhere near the fanfare that Wembanyama did. But, they are names NBA fans should start to learn as they could be the cornerstone of their favorite team sooner rather than later.

Ron Holland and Matas Buzelis, both of G League Ignite, are mocked at Nos. 6 and 7 to the Memphis Grizzlies and Spurs to continue the trend of non-collegiate players being selected. Overall, nine players are in the first round of Vecenie’s most recent mock that did not play college ball this season and six more are selected in the second round.

That is something we could see more and more of in the coming years. NIL deals are keeping players in college longer, which leads to international prospects being able to increase their odds of being selected early in drafts.

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