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How Newly Drafted Foreign Players Are Adapting To NBA Life

How Newly Drafted Foreign Players Are Adapting To NBA Life

At the beginning of the 19/20 NBA regular season there were no less than 108 players on franchise rosters who are classified as internationals, having plied their trade in foreign leagues and competitions before catching the eye of NBA scouts.

Moving stateside has its unique challenges at the best of times, so jumping on a plane to join the biggest league in the world in 2021 is daunting, to say the least, with the odds very much against foreign draftees making it.

Here are how the current crop of foreign NBA rookies are faring, with some coming under intense scrutiny and others rising to the challenges they face to exceed the expectations placed on them for the 20/21 season by betting punters and sports analysts.

Some of these ballers come from as far afield as France and Israel, but all have the same drive and determination to make it big in the NBA.

Deni Avdija

There are chinks of light in the poor start that the Washington Wizards have made to this new NBA season, and one of them is undoubtedly the steady rise of Israeli stand-out Deni Avdija, who is doing everything he can to put his team on the radar of sports betting tipsters.
Making an impact while playing for a struggling franchise is always a test. But so far, this young 20-year-old is showing he can upset the odds by making up for what he lacks in scoring power by registering countless assists and big defensive plays.

This has all been evidenced by the Wizards statistically performing so much better when he is on the court, tending to be 24.6 net pts better off when Avdija is active rather than warming the bench. Those NBA betting tipsters with a keen eye for a young player who is going places are already sitting up and taking note, especially seeing as his positive team-orientated attitude appears to be rubbing off on the whole Washington locker room.

Killian Hayes

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Of all the foreign players who were shipped into the NBA this season, Killian Hayes came with the most hype, ultimately being selected seventh overall by the Pistons.

While such a move is a dream situation for any player, it also comes with sky-high expectations, and in the case of Hayes, he is struggling to shoulder them.

Back at his French club Cholet and German outfit Ulm, he was consistently named the MVP of every competition he featured in, as well as doing the same for the French junior national teams.

For a man unaccustomed to being a small fish in an ocean of talented sharks, it makes sense that Hayes has labored for Detroit thus far. To make matters worse he recently picked up a hip injury which will keep him in rehab for a number of weeks. Hopefully, he can use that time away from the spotlight to regroup and come back stronger.

Having started the first seven games of the regular season, despite posting below-par stats, it is clear that the Pistons have faith that their rookie will come good eventually.

Aleksej Pokusevski

Sometimes a rookie needs a special moment on or off the court that shows them the way, be that a chat from the coach, or a pep talk by a more experienced player.

However, in the case of 7ft Serbian giant Aleksej Pokusevski, it was a good old bump on the head that provided the kick-start he needed.

Having sat out a couple of games due to concussion protocols, he has since returned to wow Thunder fans with his defensive game, racking up a good number of rebounds and blocks, as well as improving his own three-point shooting.

Another thing that has impressed keen courtside observers in Oklahoma is that even during games where defeat is inevitable, with his team trailing by 20+ pts in the fourth quarter, Pokusevski continues to fight tooth and nail for every point and rebound he can muster. It is that attitude that should see him thrive in the NBA if he is given adequate time to do so.