Kostas Papanikolaou helped Olympiakos win the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague championship and the 2012 Greek national championship. Is being selected in the second round on Thursday night at the NBA Draft a chance for the 6-foot-9 forward to make his mark on the NBA?
Somewhere in the middle-to-late first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday night, Evan Fournier will hear his name called by David Stern, slip on an adjustable team cap with a smile and walk across the stage to shake the commissioner's hand.
It's right around then that NBA fans in attendance and the pundits on-hand will either rave or roast the 19-year old swing guard from France.
All the predictions and mock drafts (between the 20th - 30th pick for those keeping score at home) will be thrown out the window and the 6-foot-7 Fournier will instantly slide under a new microscope.
Welcome to the NBA youngster.
It comes with the territory when you are likely the one European selected in the first round.
"He's got good size and good ability to get in the paint and find people. Oddly, most people think that anyone from Europe can shoot 3s in their sleep, but that's one thing he really needs to work on."
In an insightful story written by Jordan Conn, Fournier becomes the main character in the play depicted how the NBA could be on the verge of turning a blind eye to drafting international players in the first round. And while that may be the case on Thursday night, the adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy last month suggests otherwise with a number of international prospects developing toward the NBA draft over the next two to three years.
Besides, knowing a number of teams still prescribe to the "draft and stash" method of harvesting European talent, it's worth paying closer attention to the diverse overseas talent selected in the second round instead of just pegging Fournier as the lone Euro rep for the first round.
Satoransky's stock holding steady in second round
The Czech-born guard is still drawing positive feedback from teams who have had the chance to see him up close in pre-draft workouts. For many coaches and front office types this has been the first time to see the 6-foot-7 Satoransky, aside from various full game film footage that is. Word is they liked what they saw and heard.
Getting stronger will be the focus moving forward, as will developing his skills as a shooting guard. The overall game plan: select the 20-year old, let him play another two or three seasons in Europe -- likely back with Sevilla -- and trust the growth process will benefit the team of choice long-term. Regardless if he taken by the Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers or Milwaukee Bucks, the game plan regarding Satoransky likely remains the same.
Can Shengelia, Papanikolaou and Aldemir contribute now?
More and more the NBA is becoming a league of microwaved meals.
Fans want instant gratification and satisfaction in knowing their team drafted a player who can produce and contribute now. Forget waiting.
While Satoransky remains a "draft and stash" possibility, Tornike Shengelia, Kostas Papanikolaou, and Furkan Aldemir are three second round guys who could fill a role heading into next season.
It really comes down to where they land.
Fresh off a workout with the New Orleans Hornets (who own the 36th overall pick) on Wednesday along with Dee Bost (Mississippi State), Marcus Denmon (Missouri), Larry Anderson (Long Beach) and John Surna (Northwestern), Shengelia is an interesting prospect who is a versatile 6-foot-9 forward with a high basketball IQ.
Coming from a winning organization like Charleroi in Belgium only supports the cause that Shegelia could be a serviceable option off an NBA bench.
The same goes for Papanikolaou from Olympiakos (Greece) and Furkan Aldemir Galatasaray (Turkey).
Papanikolaou provides championship experience and a dead-on shot from outside. He helped Olympiakos win the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague championship and the 2012 Greek national championship and at 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, he has the size and stroke to produce on the perimeter and in the paint.
While Papanikalaou will need time to adjust to the NBA game, there's no doubt his timely shooting will help ease the process.
As for Aldemir, you know what you get with his game. The 6-foot-9, 220 pound forward isn't going to blow anyone away with his athleticism, but he can bring toughness and rebounding to an NBA rotation. The comparisons Aldemir continues to draw to Omer Asik of the Chicago Bulls is pretty spot on and it's hard to argue against what Asik means to the Bulls.
Don't overlook Radosevic and Czyz late in the second round
When it gets into the final minutes of the 2012 NBA Draft, don't forget about Leon Radosevic and Olek Czyz. Both players could go late in the second round, with Czyz a player of interest on the draft bubble.
A 6-foot-7, 240 pound forward from Poland, Aleksander (Olek) Czyz played two seasons at Duke before transferring to the University of Nevada where he was a WAC All-Conference First team player and lead the Wolf Pack to a Conference Championship by averaging 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and shot nearly 60% from the field as a senior.
Unlike the other Euros mentioned above, Czyz has college experience to help usher him to the next level.
After playing well at the adidas Eurocamp last month, Czyz improved his NBA status and while he is still considered a guy on the outside looking in, it will be interesting to see if he sticks on an NBA radar in the late second round.
Radosevic is in a similar situation, however the 22-year old power forward and center from Milano is actually receiving run on mock draft boards as one of the final picks. The scouting report on the native Croatian resembles Furkan Aldemir's -- limited offensive output but also not afraid to do the dirty work.
There are also questions regarding Radosevic's overseas status as it has been reported that Milano will be loaning the big man to Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania, but this likely will have little bearing on his draft status.
In the end, it could be the old case of "draft and stash".