10. Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
2013 Draft: No. 15 pick by the Milwaukee Bucks
International players were previously viewed as total unknowns, even if they played for the most recognizable names in the European basketball scene. Giannis, on the other hand, was unknown with a capital “U.” The Greek Freak, along with his brothers Thanasis and Kostas, molded his craft at Filathlitikos, a team that was in the fifth tier of Greek basketball a decade ago, but made it as high as the second division with the Antetokounmpo’s at the helm. There, Antetokounmpo found his way to scout’s radars, and he was billed as an incredibly raw athlete, a player with the potential size to play power forward but the game of a player who could slide to point guard. The sky seemed to be the limit for Giannis, but no one could be sure if he would get there. After all, Antetokounmpo hadn’t shown much in the way of NBA-ready skills, and hadn’t even found his way onto the Greek national U20 team yet. That’s why, despite his physical profile and upside, it was a slight surprise to some for him to land at the No. 15 pick by the Bucks.
Since, Antetokounmpo has proven himself to be a very solid building block for Milwaukee. Showing the ability to play all three perimeter positions comfortably, the 6’9″ Antetokounmpo landed on the All-Rookie 2nd Team in 2013-2014, and this past season he made the leap to potential future All-Star, averaging 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game while even handling point guard duties for stretches. He’s still not the best shooter (25.7 percent from three), and he can be undisciplined at times, but he’s one of the most exciting players in the league, which our friends at The Friendly Bounce have cataloged nicely. He doesn’t have an All-Star appearance yet, but at just 21 years old, Giannis is on this list because he appears to have the brightest future of any young international star in the NBA today.
Next: 9. Andrei Kirilenko