- Lucky #13 for Papagiannis at NBA Draft -
Georgios Papagiannis makes history at the NBA Draft! The Greek center was the 13th pick by the Sacramento Kings, becoming the highest ever draft pick by a Greek Player. Papagiannis will play with his countryman Kostas Koufos in Sacramento.
Papagiannis was predicted to go late in the first round, but surprisingly was picked much higher than expected. The rights of the pick originally belonged to the Phoenix Suns, but through a trade with the Sacramento Kings, they were granted the 13th pick. Its is a historic selection as Papagiannis becomes the highest picked Greek player to be selected at an NBA draft. Milwaukee Bucks star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, held the record with the 15th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
The Panathinaikos center will be with his countryman Kostas Koufos, who plays the same position as Papagiannis. Koufos is a backup to the Kings’ starting center, DeMarcus Cousins, so Papagiannis’ place in the roster is unclear. Many European players that are selected in the draft are loaned out back to Europe for a year or two to further develop their game. With the Kings having alternative options in Papagiannis’ position, a loan back to Greece is probable. According to ESPN, the Kings see this pick as a “pick for the future.”
Papagiannis is a 7’2” big man that began his career in the Greek A1 Basket League at the age of 14. He later came to the United States to play prep ball in Pennsylvania. He decided to not play in the NCAA and went back to Greece to join Panathinaikos. With the Greek Cup Champions, he put up average numbers while being behind more experienced players in the roster. He is considered one of Europe’s biggest prospects as he has performed well in FIBA’s International Youth competitions. After being selected Papagiannis said “I would like to play in the NBA as soon as possible. Ι can't wait to play for Divac, Ι like Demarcus Cousins and I would like to learn a lot from him and his game. I want to become better while playing next to him.”