Ryan Broekhoff's red-hot European form continues to draw NBA interest.
Following his victory in the 2018 VTB United League All-Star three-point competition, the Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Basketball Australia sharpshooter has drawn increased attention from NBA officials, with a number making a trip to Russia for a closer look as reported by David Pick.
Broekhoff has been enjoying what could be viewed as his best season in Europe to date across the VTB United League and the EuroCup. In the largely Russian-based competition, Broekhoff has averaged a solid 8.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1 assist and 1.3 steals per game, and last week helped them win the Russian Cup. In the more prestigious EuroCup intercontinental competition, Broekhoff's numbers are all the more impressive for a side that has progressed to the quarterfinals with an unblemished 16-0 record. His numbers increase to 12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.9 steals per game--quality numbers on a team that has yet to taste defeat in one of the most competitive leagues in Europe.
With good size (6'7) and athleticism for wing, he is an excellent defender and an above average rebounder for his position, backed up by his numbers this season. However what is sure to be attracting the most interest from NBA front office staff is his three-point shooting capability and ability to hit big shots.
Broekhoff is an elite three-point marksman. The numbers do not lie either. In the VTB United League, the Rio Olympian is shooting 45.8% from beyond the arc on 3.2 attempts per game. His numbers increase to an amazing 50.6% from distance on 5.2 attempts per game in the EuroCup. Those are numbers that will make anyone sit up and take notice, and has certainly attracted increased NBA interest.
In the modern day NBA, two key attributes are now highly sought after: defensive versatility and three-point shooting. There is no doubting that Broekhoff fits this NBA archetype, and the EuroCup rankings back it up. Following the EuroCup Top 16, he’s ranked 1st for true shooting percentage (76.7%), 3rd in three-point shooting percentage (50.6%), 4th in three-point field goals made and 8th in three-point field goal attempts and 17th for rebounding.
More recently, Broekhoff has drawn comparison with fellow Australian Joe Ingles who has been starring for the Utah Jazz and made the transition to the NBA after playing in Europe. Broekhoff shares an ability to shoot the three-ball at a consistently high clip. Yet, while Ingles is more accomplished play maker, Broekhoff is a superior rebounder and arguably a better defender. There is no denying that Broekhoff has all the tools and capability to be a "3 & D" type player in the NBA
Broekhoff's fellow Australian team-mates are well aware of his capability and have previously expressed no doubt that the Melburnian will soon be joining them in the NBA.
“I definitely think [Broekhoff] is an NBA player and I’m trying to get him to Milwaukee because I think shooting in the NBA is so valuable and he is an elite shooter. The Bucks definitely know who Broekhoff is, so we will see what happens," shared Matthew Dellavedova last year. “I’m trying to get him over there, it will be really fun.”
Broekhoff explained at the time that he would love to play for the Bucks in speaking with The Pick and Roll.
“I’m not sure how much pull he has [Dellavedova at Milwaukee], but it is good to have his support and putting my name out there," Broekhoff explained. "Of course, I’d love to play for the Bucks. They already have a couple of Aussies, plus Milwaukee is not too far from where I went to college [Valparaiso, Indiana], and one of my best friends lives not too far away either.”
“There has definitely been some [NBA] interest from a number of NBA teams, similar to the last few years,” Broekhoff shared last year.
In 2015, Broekhoff played for the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Summer League, but that stint did not eventuate into a contract. With his current contract at Lokomotiv set to expire at season's end and his red-hot form across Europe, the time may now be right for Broekhoff to finally make the transition to the NBA.
While the Bucks may well be a realistic option, if Broekhoff continues his outstanding form, he is unlikely to be short of potential NBA suitors.