One of the savviest picks of last year's NBA draft was made by the Milwaukee Bucks, when they grabbed Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th overall pick. The Greek Freak was just a bundle of springy limbs and a fresh face at the time, but he quickly became a player who matters. There is another baby-faced, athletic freak from Europe lurking at the bottom of this year's draft boards, and he may very well end up becoming this year's answer to Antetokounmpo. Call him the Swiss Freak, if you'd like.
His name is Clint Capela. He's a 6-foot-11, 20-year-old power forward who plays in the French Pro A League, and he's projected to be selected somewhere in the 20s during tonight's draft. You should begin orienting yourself with Capela by checking out this article by Kevin Pelton, whose WARP projections have Capela as the second-most valuable player in the draft.
Pelton is high on Capela because the young forward has shown himself to be an elite rebounder (rebound rate: 26.4 percent), shot blocker (block percentage: 7.5), and finisher at the rim (field goal percentage: 63.8) against European competition. Those gaudy numbers are expected to translate into the kind of NBA stats that would put Capela on par with a 20-year-old Tyson Chandler or Andre Drummond.
You don't need to rely solely on stats to get excited about Capela, though. Spend a few minutes watching the highlight reel at the top of the page, and you'll come away convinced that he'd be a top-1o pick in a less-loaded draft.
Sure, he's not playing against NBA talent, and there are a lot of easy alley-oops in that clip, but there's also a lot of footage of a 6-foot-11 dude running the floor like a guard, swallowing layups whole, and dunking on fools with impunity. And that nifty little off-hand tip-in he converts off the alley-oop at the 1:30 mark isn't a move that a guy who is destined to be a stiff can pull off.
And here he is proving that he can just about touch the rim with his head:
There's also this:
On Mem-Tor deal @ESPNSteinLine reported. Look for Raptors to target Clint Capela at 22. Spurs were hoping he fell to 30.
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 26, 2014
The Raptors front office is helmed by one of the smartest GMs in the game, and the Spurs have a perennial habit of drafting guys that make NBA fans say things like, "How the hell did that guy fall all the way to the Spurs?!" come December. If one of those teams wants him, there's a good chance that Clint Capela is going to be an NBA player to be reckoned with.