Kupchak in Istanbul, Morey in Athens
By Antonis Stroggylakis/
Two NBA GMs were present in Euroleague games this week. We are talking about Mitch Kupchak, of the L.A. Lakers and Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets who traveled overseas in order to see some of the top prospects, and not only, that European basketball has to offer.
After visiting Tel Aviv in order to scout Dragan Bender, Mitch Kupchak, went to Istanbul. The reason? To observe Furkan Korkmaz in live action. The 18-year old super-prospect of Anadolu Efes has been extremely noticeable for his outstanding athleticism and airborne qualities which are making a strong combination with his height, talent and increasingly enriched skill-set. Kupchak watched him playing for 14 minutes in his team’s victory against Cedevita.
On Thursday, Daryl Morey was at the OAKA arena in Athens to watch the game between Panathinaikos and Lokomotiv Kuban. The roster of the Greek team includes two of the most interesting talents in Europe right now, Vassilis Charalambopoulos and Giannis Papagiannis, who were both protagonists of the Greek national team that won the U18 European Championship last summer. Charalambopoulos was actually the MVP of the tournament.
While these youngsters didn’t play in the game (since it held quite the large importance for Panathinaikos) Morey had the chance to take a look at some players with whom he is familiar since they have already played in the NBA. Chris Singleton, Victor Claver and Anthony Randolph have been key characters in Lokomotiv Kuban’s impressive performances that will most likely lead the Russian team to the playoffs. What they all share in common is the fact that their contracts expire at the end of the season. Singleton has already mentioned that he would want to return in the best league in the world, something that could appear as an option for the other two as well. And not only…
The indisputable MVP for Lokomotiv Kuban so far in Euroleague, and one of the absolute top performers in the competition, Malcolm Delaney, has also stated numerous times that his ultimate goal is to play in the NBA. Right after the game, the 27 -year old combo guard expressed his desire once again in front of the camera of the Greek national channel. Quite the timing, since some minutes before, the GM of the Houston Rockets, was watching him play from up close.
But the coincidences don’t stop there. In 2013, Daryl Morey brought Patrick Beverley to Houston while ten days ago he re-called Andrew Goudelock back to the NBA, adding him in the Rockets’ roster. Both these players are guards who spent some seasons overseas before joining the Texan team. Obviously there’s a pattern forming up here. Will Delaney be next?