NBA Interest High at the Spanish King’s Cup

NBA Interest High at the Spanish King’s Cup
Feb 05, 2007, 10:04 pm
The annual edition of the Copa Del Ray, the Spanish King’s Cup, kicks off this Thursday once again, and with it comes plenty of interest from NBA teams looking to take advantage of being able to watch the eight best teams in Spain together in the same arena. This year’s King’s Cup will be held in the small, but beautifully modern arena in Malaga, and will be well supported once again from the very tight Spanish basketball community. The competition itself doesn’t mean much except for just a few points towards the guaranteed Euroleague 3-year contract, but teams take it very seriously regardless because of the prestige involved in taking home the trophy. The most intriguing NBA prospects we find here include three potential lottery picks in Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez and Tiago Splitter, one potential first rounder in Marc Gasol, and a couple of players who have a decent chance of being selected in the 2nd round in Marko Tomas and Mirza Teletovic. Our Director of International Scouting Luis Fernandez, who will be here to give you a full scouting report on the event at its conclusion, tells us that over 50,000 eager Spanish fans tried to buy tickets for the Cup at once the moment they went on sale, causing the website to crash. was gracious enough to post a list on their site of NBA personnel who are credentialed for the event, something that gives us a little glimpse into the way teams conduct their international scouting. 39 scouts from 23 teams will be present according to what the list tells us, but we are aware of at least a few more that will make it in on their own accord. We went in and corrected some of the spelling errors we caught, and added titles to the ones we could figure out.

Portland Trail Blazers: Jason Filippi (International Scout)
Dallas Mavericks: Amadou Fall (Director of Scouting)
Denver Nuggets: Simon Cote (International Scout), Rex Chapman (Vice President of Player Personnel), Masai Ujiri (International Director of Scouting), Bret Bearup (Consultant/General Manger)
Sacramento Kings: Andrea Gracis (International Scout), Wayne Cooper (Assistant GM)
Milwaukee Bucks: Jacinto Castillo (Director of European Scouting), Scott Roth (Scout)
Los Angeles Clippers: Neil Olshey (Director of Player Personnel), Fabrizio Besnati (Director of International Scouting)
Atlanta Hawks: Mark Crow (International Scout), Mike McNeive (Director of Basketball Operations), Bob Connoval (??)
Houston Rockets: Dean Cooper (Director Of Scouting), Gianluca Pascucci (International Scout)
San Antonio Spurs: Robert Hennigan (Basketball Operations Assistant)
Minnesota Timberwolves: Pete Philo (International Scout)
Philadelphia 76ers: Courtney Witte (Director Of Player Personnel), Danko Cvjeticanin (European Scouting Coordinator)
Washington Wizards: Milt Newton (Director of Player Personnel), Lino Frattin (International Scouting Consultant)
Detroit Pistons: Tony Ronzone (Director of International Scouting), Scott Perry (Director of Player Personnel)
Phoenix Suns: David Griffin (Assistant General Manager)
Chicago Bulls: Ivica Dukan (Supervisor of European Scouting), Gar Forman (Director of Player Personnel)
Toronto Raptors: Maurizio Gherardini (Assistant General Manager)
Golden State Warriors: Kosta Jankov (Director of International Scouting), Chris McNealy (International Scout)
Memphis Grizzlies: Rich Sheubrooks (Director of International Scouting), Jerry West (General Manger)
Orlando Magic: Sam Foggin (International Scouting. Coordinator), Dave Twardzik (Assistant General Manager)
Indiana Pacers: Joe Ash (Director of Scouting)
Charlotte Bobcats: Kenny Williamson (Director of Scouting)
Boston Celtics: Leo Papile (Assistant Executive Director of Basketball Operations)
Utah Jazz: Alberto Dal Cin (International Scout,)


The 7 missing teams on this list are the Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Seattle Supersonics. We can immediately cross off the Nets being absent, because they will certainly be represented by their International Scout Rob Meurs, who does more than just scout for the NBA. The Cavaliers will also have a representative there in Chico Averbuck, their Director of International Scouting. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that the other teams will have people there as well.

-The demise of Jerry West looks to have been greatly exaggerated considering that he’s still hot on the scouting trail for the Grizzlies.

-The Nuggets are sending more eyeballs than any other team-- eight, likely in order to check out the progress of their draft pick Axel Hervelle with Real Madrid. They do not have any picks in either round this year, but will have a great opportunity to collectively smack themselves on the forehead when they watch Nikoloz Tskitishvili play, although we must certainly mention that he was drafted under a different regime.

-The Magic are sending their co-General Manager Dave Twardzik, almost certainly to check up on former lottery pick Fran Vázquez.

-Ditto for the Wizards sending two representatives to watch Juan Carlos Navarro. Considering how many times he’s proven that he’s an NBA player, though, they should be sending a lawyer to negotiate his buyout instead.

- Maurizio Gherardini was never going to miss the King’s Cup as the GM of Benetton Treviso, and he certainly isn’t going to miss this event as the Assistant GM of the Toronto Raptors. This is a good opportunity for him to check out Raptors draftee Roko Leni-Ukic, who is playing solid minutes these days for Barcelona.

-With likely three first round picks, the Suns are sending a key decision maker in Dave Griffin to ensure that they are well represented in Spain.

-The Hawks have money to spend this summer, and are sending three representatives over to see what the Spanish market has to offer. We can’t say we know who Bob Connoval is, though.

Who they’ll be looking at…

The eight teams are ranked by their position in the standings in the ACB League.

1) Real Madrid- Marko Tomas (Draft Eligible), Axel Hervelle (Denver Nuggets draftee)

2) TAU Cerámica - Tiago Splitter (Draft Eligible), Mirza Teletovic (Draft Eligible), Luis Scola (San Antonio Spurs draftee),

3) Akasvayu Girona - Marc Gasol (Draft Eligible), Marko Keselj (1988 prospect)

4) DKV Joventut – Rudy Fernandez (Draft Eligible), Ricky Rubio (1990 prospect), Henk Norel (1987 prospect), Charles Gaines (Free Agent)

5) Unicaja - Jiri Welsch (Free Agent)

6) Winterthur F.C. Barcelona – Roko-Leni Ukic (Toronto Raptors draftee), Fran Vázquez (Orlando Magic draftee), Juan Carlos Navarro (Washington Wizards draftee)

7) Gran Canaria Grupo Dunas – Joel Freeland (Portland Trailblazers draftee), Jimmie Hunter (Free Agent)

8) Caja San Fernando- Nikoloz Tskitishvili (Free Agent)

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