Pick 31: Atlanta get at least five minutes to make the 31st pick, although it's nearer fifteen minutes by the team deputy commissioner Adam Silver makes it out. When he does, Silver is greeted to the biggest cheer of the night, and takes it well with a wave and a big grin. The man who looks like a freshly goosed Henry Abbott then announces that Atlanta, who obtained the 31st pick from New Jersey in the Damion James/Jordan Crawford swap, use it to draft German big man Tibor Pleiss.
Pleiss takes almost the full two minutes just to make it to the podium. He waits twenty seconds before even standing to acknowledge his selection, and then is forcefully dragged to the stage by an angry looking official that kind of looks like Dale Davis. Before he's even got to the stage, Pleiss has been sold; the Hawks have decided to sell his draft rights to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Fittingly, the Thunder (in their Sonics guise) were the team that drafted Peter Fehse back in 2002.
Pleiss should be an obvious draft and stash candidate. He is underdeveloped, both physically and skill-wise. Now that he has "drafted in the NBA" on his CV, Pleiss should be able to score a move to a better on-NBA league; the Spanish ACB, for example, should be easily able to toughen him up a bit. His highlight montage involves only six clips from the same game, two of which are uncontested routine dunks with no defensive players in the paint. Must Improve: Highlight video.
There are only 51 seconds on the clock before the next pick when Pleiss finally gets to the podium to receive his drain-unblocking handshake from Silver. This doesn't bode well for his chances of keeping up with the speed of the NBA game.
I hereby demand that Pleiss's name should be shouted in the voice of an angry German every time he dunks. And I even volunteer to do it, if we can't get this guy.
Silver also announces, as expected, that the Hawks have traded the rights to Tibor Pleiss to Oklahoma City for "financial considerations." The word "considerations" seems unnecessary there. Makes it sound like they'll think about paying them in the future. And that's not how it works.
In his first half an hour in the NBA, T-Bone has already been on three teams.
- T-Bone is one of the best players on a Brose Baskets Bamberg team that is absolutely blowing away the rest of the German Bundesliga. Since the end of the ALBA Berlin dominance, there have been six champions in the past seven Bundesliga seasons, including Bamberg, who won it last season. Casey Jacobsen was a big part of why, as was Pleiss, and they've both been key cogs again this year as Bamberg have stormed to a 27-2 record. (They also put up a decent fight in their first Euroleague season for three years, winning 4 games and losing some very close ones.) On the season, Pleiss averages 9.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 21 minutes of Bundesliga games, shooting 52% from the field and 75% from the line. Dirk Nowitzki comparisons are both inevitable and terrible, but Pleiss has the talent to make it, and will inevitably outgrow the Bundesliga. He may have already done so.
Chances of making the NBA expressed as an arbitrary percentage: 50%
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.