Olympic basketball will crown a gold medalist very soon, and some foreign players are about to cash in with contracts to NBA teams. The Charlotte Bobcats don’t look like a team that’s going to grab a guy off a foreign roster, but there are players out there who could help now, and in the very near future.
First, why don’t we start off with a guy from the team that almost shocked the world (and once did) when it nearly beat team USA.
Lithuania’s Mantas Kalnietis, aside from having an awesome name, is a 6’5″ point guard who’s in the top five in assists per game at the Olympics with 5.4 (in just a little over 20 minutes). He plays pro ball in the VTB United League (most recent league I could find him tied to), and this season he’s averaged 21.4 minutes, 8.4 points on 41.9 percent three-point shooting, and 3.2 assists per game.
I don’t pretend to know much about European basketball, but if Kalnietis can improve over the year and become available, a 6’5″ 42 percent three-point shooting point guard wouldn’t be a bad addition to anyone’s roster, let alone the Bobcats’.
A player that’s turning heads in London is 7’2″, 26 year old, Salah Majri from Tunisia. In 32.4 minutes per game at these Olympics, Majri has scored 10.4 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 3.4 shots. Yes, 3.4.
He was almost as good in the African Championships, scoring 8.9 points, with nine rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 24 minutes a game. With his pro team in Belgium he scored 9.2 points, grabbed 7.4 rebounds and blocked 2.5 shots in 26 minutes a game. He also shot above 30 percent from behind the arc.
He worked out for a few NBA teams this summer and played with the Utah Jazz in the summer league, but failed to impress.
If Charlotte doesn’t draft a center next year (or if they can find a way to get him on the cheap this season?!), this guy could be a good addition.
Mehdi Ben Ghnia is another Tunisian who could find his way on to an NBA squad in the future. In these Olympics, the 6’8″, 25 year old power forward has scored 15 points, grabbed 8.6 rebounds and dished out 2.6 assists in 33.8 minutes per game.
He obviously has room for improvement, but, it would be worth it for Charlotte Bobcats management to keep an eye on him and at least give him a summer league invite next year.
Those three guys are players to keep an eye on. I took them from the leader boards in Assists, blocks and rebounds, and all are getable for Charlotte.
If I missed anyone of your favorite Euroleague players, or if you think any of my picks are bat-shit crazy, feel free to let me know in the comments section!