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American players stashed overseas, it doesn’t work out all that often

Aug 16, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT

Raptors Heat Basketball AP

At least six players American college players drafted in the second round — including James Ennis of Miami and Colton Iverson of the Boston Celtics — and as many as 11 total could sign their first contract overseas.

It’s a full blown trend — for a long time NBA teams had drafted European players then stashed them overseas, but now they are trying it more with Americanized players. Some players prefer it. Ennis, for example got six figures to play in Australia, if he had gone to the D-League he would have made $25,000.

But does it work?

Not all that often. Then again second round player don’t pan out all that often in the NBA anyway (yes, there are exceptions, but look back to like 2010 and only a handful of the 30 guys drafted in the second round are still in the league, while 11 never played in the NBA at all).

Our man Scott Schroeder dug into the numbers over at SB Nation and found 27 American players drafted in the second round who signed their first contract overseas.

Thirteen of those 27 players are still plying their trades in Europe, with their rights still held by the NBA team that drafted them, while five others were released by their NBA teams after failing to earn a roster spot upon their return to the states. There are therefore just nine of 195 players (drafted in the second round in the past 10 years) that have succeeded with what this year’s draft-and-stash second rounders hope to accomplish.

Who are the success cases? Matt Bonner and Ronny Turiaf are the names you know. After that it’s guys like Kyle Singler, Jerome Jordan, Jarvis Varnado and Nick Calathes.

Looking at the evidence, it’s difficult to think that all of this year’s second-round picks currently signed overseas are going to someday have successful stateside returns. Players like Singler, Songaila, Turiaf and Bonner have shown it’s possible, however, to go overseas and return to the team that drafted you, thereby proving that the non-international draft and stash process can sometimes work out for the player.

Which is to say, what Iverson, Ennis and guys like Pierre Jackson (New Orleans), Mike Muscala (Atlanta Hawks), Erick Green (Denver Nuggets), and Alex Oriakhi (Phoenix Suns) are trying to do can be done. But I’d be careful betting on it working.

  1. casualcommenter - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Yep. In general, an American player is only going to be “stashed” overseas if he’s not good enough to make the 15-man roster.

    So if the pool of American players overseas only includes prospects not good enough to be the 15th man on a roster, then that explains why many of them never make a roster. While it’s true that many can improve with an additional year overseas to work on their games, the fact is that every year, more prospects try their hand at the NBA, so there’s new (and younger) competition every year that they’re up against to make a roster.

    • miamatt - Aug 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      Casually perfect.

  2. spursareold - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Jeez, Kurt. Ronny Turiaf is FRENCH. He was a starter for the French NT for the London Olympics.

    • Kurt Helin - Aug 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      He’s an Americanized player who played his college ball at Gonzaga.

      • spursareold - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:08 AM

        He was never “stashed”, either. He never played in Europe until he was a well established NBA player with seven seasons under his belt, and then only because there was an NBA work stoppage.

  3. tjr324 - Aug 16, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Does singler even really count as an American player “stashed” overseas? He chose to sign a contract in Spain during the lockout, rather than wait for the lockout to be over, and then came back to DET the next year. Without those extenuating circumstances, he would have been on the Pistons roster the year he was drafted.

  4. mauropiat - Aug 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Jonathan Givony ‏@DraftExpress 1h
    Hit rate on players drafted 40-60 is poor in general. RT @ScottSchroeder Americans stashed overseas doesn’t work out: http://dlvr.it/3ppV0m

  5. Filipe Furtado - Aug 16, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Yes, but how those numbers compare to #2 that sign on their teams straight out of college? Whats the % of them that stick to year 2 and 3? That’s the comparision that needs to be made.

  6. louiespoon - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Jacob Pullen…..

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