Go ask the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings if they’d like to change their mind on the 2018 draft.
With the No.1 overall pick Phoenix selected DeAndre Ayton out of Arizona and Sacramento followed that up by picking Marvin Bagley from Duke. Both are really nice players who should go on to have excellent careers. However, with the No.3 pick Luca Doncic was selected by Atlanta and then immediately traded to Dallas.
Doncic has proven to be a future MVP candidate and a player that is destined for global superstardom on the basketball court.
Memo to every NBA team ahead of the draft; spend more time scouting the Europeans.
There are a handful of International players slated to be high first-round picks including Deni Avdija from Israel, Leandro Bolmaro from Argentina as well as Killian Hayes from France.
However, the best European available in the 2020 NBA draft is another Frenchman; Theo Maledon.
Maledon is a 19 year-old who has played professionally for ASVEL Basket in the Euro League over the past three years and was named the 2019 Finals MVP as well as being named Best Young Player in the League.
Maledon is an electric athlete with incredible court vision who plays with a certain je ne sais quoi.
While many NBA scouts become enamoured with former five-star recruits and guys who play under Mike Krzyzewski or Tom Izzo, players like Maledon can often get overlooked in favour of the latest player who helped lead his team to an NCAA Final Four.
With the current political situation happening around the world it’s going to be difficult for NBA teams to have an international player into their facilities for workouts and interviews leading up to the draft and so that may hinder Maledon’s ability to climb the draft board in the coming months.
However, whoever does decide to select Maledon is going to get a draft day steal.
The best NBA player comparison for Maledon would be Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors.
Maledon is a little bigger than Lowry at 6-foot-3 but he plays with a similar flare and has similar court vision as the NBA champ and All-Star.
Lowry was unheralded early in his career and he had to earn the respect of the league which is a similar path that Maledon will have to follow.
Lowry was selected No.24 overall in the 2006 draft and look for Maledon to land somewhere in that range into the early second-round.
Fellow Frenchman Tony Parker owns the team that Maledon plays for in France and he has been a mentor to the youngster which should be an immense help in his transition to life in the NBA.
Maledon could end up being the steal of the draft when we look back in three years.