Bogut: The NBL stars who are NBA ready
NBL players being good enough to play in the NBA.
That is a statement nobody would have said only five plus seasons ago, but the Australian league has significantly improved since those days.
Now I can confidently name a number of guys who have the ability to make a big impact in the world's best basketball competition.
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That is a credit to the league and how competitive it has become. It is also something that should be commended and the NBL should be very proud of.
WILL MAGNAY (BRISBANE BULLETS)
Within our league, I think Will is the best prospect to have a chance to one day play in the NBA.
If Will can get his 3 point shot to a more consistent percentage, he has every chance to make the leap. He has not shot the ball well over the course of the season, but as we found out a month or so ago when we played Brisbane, he can get hot. He made numerous big 3's for them and really influenced the game on both ends.
I firmly believe that if he continues to work on his three ball as a big, with his already elite ability to block shots he can make the NBA. There aren't as many of those guys around.
Usually bigs that shoot three's are not physical bigs, who can rebound and block shots. It usually is one of the other.
He has got skillsets from a both a physical point of view and also as a shooting big. if he can hone that three ball at a consistent level then he has a chance to be a very special player.
Will has a good vertical jump, but I don't think it is out of this world.
A lot of people don't understand that shot blocking isn't about how high you can jump; it is about how quick you can get up and Will gets up very quickly.
A lot of times you will think that you've got an open lane or layup but he just gets there so quickly.
Along with great timing, In my opinion that is what makes shot blocking.
Will certainly has that quality - his timing is very good. Plus, at the end of the day he isn't scared to get dunked on.
If you are a shot blocker you are going to get hammered on every now and then and you are going to be on a highlights reel.
But more often than not you are going to get the ball and Will isn't afraid to get up there and potentially get embarrassed every now then if it is helping his team.
JOHN ROBERSON (SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX)
This guy is a phenomenal three-point shooter off the dribble. He is doing stuff that we haven't seen in this league before with the way that he shoots threes.
I haven't seen that level of shooting off the bounce from 3 before in the NBL.
Steph Curry is the first one that comes to mind of nailing a three off the dribble from my time in the NBA, but Roberson almost likes to come off the dribble more than he likes to shoot a wide open three.
That is a pretty hard thing to guard.
BRYCE COTTON (PERTH WILDCATS)
Cotton is pretty similar to Roberson when it comes to shooting a three off the dribble.
The Kings have run into him a few times when he has got hot in a short amount of time.
When you play a team like Perth, you are never safe no matter how many points you are winning by because Cotton can rattle off 10 points in a minute or so.
It would be great to have him in the Boomers squad if he can get his Australian citizenship finalised, but you do have to remember that the guys playing in his guard position are hardly easy beats themselves. We are talking Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Ben Simmons, Dante Exum and Joe Ingles.
Bryce is definitely in the conversation.
There are a lot of great players that he has to contend with. I'd like to see him in camp and have a good punch at it and see what happens. Scorers of his calibre are always valuable, especially in international basketball.
CASPER WARE (SYDNEY KINGS)
We all saw against Melbourne United last week just how good Casper can be.
He has a remarkable ability to turn empty possessions into big baskets that we probably shouldn't have scored on, but just because he shoots the ball so well he can get you a three before the end of the shot clock to break the back of the other team.
Casper hasn't shot the ball as well as he has in the past this season but to me it doesn't matter. Even if he is 2 for 15, I'm not too worried because he plays his arse off defensively and makes us so much better with the attention he creates offensively, even in a bad shooting night.
LAMAR PATTERSON (BRISBANE BULLETS)
He has a chance with his skillset, but obviously there were some questions about his conditioning level coming into training camp. He looks to have gotten better as the season has gone on and he is definitely a high-level talent. Capable of playing in the big league.
JAE'SEAN TATE (SYDNEY KINGS)
If Jae'Sean was 6'10 he would be in the NBA right now, but his motor is the big thing that gets him to where he is. In saying that, he plays much bigger than his height.
He does a really good job of putting pressure on the defence. He pushes the ball, he is physical.
People know that he is going left for the most part, but he still gets to his left hand because he is so strong and physical.
He is a Bulldog in there, which is something that we really missed last year at the Kings. David Wear was a great shooter, but he wasn't really a paint or physical threat.
Now we have Jae'Sean and myself in the paint banging people around. We are very lucky to have him and he deserves all the accolades he is getting. Most of all, much like Casper Ware, he is a great person.
DANE PINEAU (SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX)
Dane is one from left field but I needed to mention how great of a year he has had. He isn't an NBA player. I think he knows that, but it just goes to show that he was a guy that didn't get much of an opportunity last season at the Kings.
Yours truly played most of the minutes at centre.
Dane spent the off-season in the NBL1 league, and worked his way to be a valuable player for SE Melbournes first season in the NBL. Dane is an all energy, all effort guy. I couldn't be happier for him because he is a great guy and he really cares about the game and playing well.
Dane has a chance to be a great player in the NBL for many years to come.
And it would be hard to finish any basketball-related article this week without mentioning Kobe Bryant.
A true mark of how much influence Kobe had on the basketball world would be the fact that people who have never met the man, cried on the disastrous day the news broke.
He is quite easily the most competitive professional athlete I have ever faced.
I still remember a game in Milwaukee when I was with the Bucks where we had the Lakers on the ropes.
He made a run late in the game, and you guessed it, hit a walk-off buzzer beater to win the game.
My view was from directly under the basket. Once it left his hand, I knew, we knew, the world knew. Game OVER! That was Kobe. RIP Kobe Bryant.