NBA rumors: Pistons to scout Giannis Adetokunbo (and Zeljko Obradovic?)

David Ramos

The Detroit Pistons will be one of eight NBA teams scouting 18-year-old prospect Giannis Adetokunbo in a second-division game in Greece, according to Eurohoops.net. It's not clear who from the Pistons are actually making the trip, but, If you read between the lines, Adetokunbo might be only part of the draw:

And to add a little more intrigue to the game, the Pistons will be present and also Zeljko Obradovic with his longtime assistant Dimitris Itoudis will be in the stands. As you may have heard it is rumored in Europe that the legendary Serbian coach may be the new head coach of Detroit, so this is an interesting subplot.

Update: Vince Ellis clarified who made the trip:

(Also, credit where it's due: Vince reported early this morning the Pistons were headed to Greece to see Adetokunbo.)

For background, Adetocunbo (or "Adetokoubo," or "Adetokunbo," depending on where you look) plays for Filathlitikos, who will be playing a road game at Nea Kifisia's quaint, 400-person gym. Who? Yeah, I don't know either -- it's all Greek to me (groan), but I'm guessing some of DBB's international readers might be familiar and able to share details about the level of competition in the comments.

In any case, let's turn to Wikipedia for more about Adetocunbo:

[Adetokunbo] is a Greek professional basketball player of Nigerian descent. He is a 2.07 m (6 ft 9½ in) tall point guard that can also play as a point forward. His older brother, Thanasis Adetokoubo, is also a professional basketball player. His nickname is, "The Greek Freak".

[...] Adetokoubo started playing basketball with the youth teams of Filathlitikos in Greece. He began his professional career in the Greek Second Division, with the senior men's club of Filathlitikos in the 2012-13 season. When he turned 18, in December 2012, he signed a five-year contract with the Spanish League club Basket Zaragoza 2002.[2] The contract with Zaragoza runs through the 2016–17 season, and includes affordable NBA buyout clauses after each season.

He stayed with Filathlitikos on loan, for the remainder of the 2012-13 season.

Both of his parents are Nigerian, emigrating to Greece in 1992. Giannis and his brother Thanasis were born in Greece, and Giannis has played for Greek junior national teams. He doesn't yet officially have Greek citizenship, but if he acquires it, DraftExpress reports he may receive an invitation for the senior national team. More from DraftExpress:

Thanasis and Giannis began to play basketball casually together around 2003. As fate would have it, the two were spotted one day by Spyros Veliniatis, a coach from Filathlitikos academy who is an avid cycling enthusiast and happened to biking by their local basketball court. Veliniatis was immediately taken aback by the immense physical gifts the children displayed, and invited the two to join the academy, the only club in Athens that does not charge a membership fee to participate. Considering the family's financial background, this was fortunate.

Click through to read DraftExpress' full scouting report -- it sounds like he's still growing (he's grown three inches in the last year) and especially shines on the defensive end. DraftExpress currently has Adetokunbo going No. 25 in their latest mock draft.

In any case, Adetokunbo sounds like a legitimate prospect, but perhaps too much of a reach for the Pistons' current draft position in the first round (No. 7 heading into the lottery).

Which makes you wonder: are the Pistons making this trip to scout the player, or to have more facetime with Zeljko Obradovic, aka, the Serbian Phil Jackson? Right now it's impossible to say, but I prefer to think its the latter -- especially considering the current candidates lined up for interviews on the side of the pond are so underwhelming.

Now your thoughts.

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