International players have fascinated me ever since we drafted Mehmet Okur and he proved to be an excellent player for our Pistons and later for the Jazz. Obviously there have been lots of other good players from Europe, Africa, South America, China, and other parts of the world that have made a mark in the NBA. The Pistons currently have two international players that should prove to have good future promise - Jonas Jerebko and Viacheslav Kravtsov.
We know something about JJ from the two seasons of play he's already given to the Pistons, and I think most people would agree that there seems to be solid potential for him to contribute much more.
A look at his international scouting bureau summary at http://www.usbasket.com/player.asp?Cntry=USA&PlayerID=72089 ranks his current skills level at 3.5 out of a possible 5. They give him a 4.5 out of 5 stars however for potential. His scoring skills seem to rank the highest of his immediate abilities with 3 out of 5, while his defense is given 2 out of 5, and rebounding 2 of 5 as well.
In a recent game in the European Championships, he seemed to demonstrate more of that potential as he appeared to be a dominate player against Bulgaria. He led all scorers with 26 points on 8 of 13 2-point shots, hitting 2 of 6 three point attempts, and 4 of 5 from the line. He also had 5 rebounds and 6 assists. The second leading scorer was his teammate Christian Maraker who had 15 points. Jerebko's 5 rebounds was 1 less than two other teammates, while Bulgaria's back-up player Hristo Nikolov led all rebounders with 10 boards. Jerebko's 6 assists were the most for any player, but his 7 turnovers were high for the game.
From written accounts of the game, Jerebko's performance appeared to be a very positive sign of his development. At the end of last season with the Pistons, he had promised to work on being quicker and more fluid in "picking and shooting," and it appears real progress has been made in this area.
It is also interesting to compare JJ's rating to that of newly signed Slava Kravtsov. Surprisingly the International Scouts rank him a bit higher than JJ, with the exception of potential where Kravtsov is given just a 4 star ranking. However, other than matching JJ's current skills rating of 3.5 out of 5, he is rated better with a 3.5 of 5 for scoring ability over JJ's 3 as well as half a star rating better for both defense and rebounding.http://www.usbasket.com/player.asp?Cntry=USA&PlayerID=77870