In his first interview since being picked by the Nets with the 57th pick, Aleksandar Vezenkov said the Nets had contacted him and will provide him with a development program but that he will focus now on playing for F.C. Barcelona and the Bulgarian national team. As for the NBA, the 6’9” stretch 4, said that he will work with the Nets, but doesn’t see himself in the league for another year or two, maybe more.
The 21-year-old said he watched the Draft with friend and teammate Joro Davidov. He told a Bulgarian national team press conference Saturday that he was surprised to be selected.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect to taken. We waited a long time. After the 56th pick, I told Joro I wasn’t going to be selected but he said, ‘We still have a chance.’
“After hearing my name I was calm, but as I said, this is a recognition and nothing more. Nothing is guaranteed and I will need to work seriously to have a chance to play there.
“Brooklyn contacted me and said they were happy that I am part of their family. They said they would watch me and follow me, and they will prepare a program I can work on. They believe I need to stay in Barcelona and that’s right, because I have accomplished nothing with ‘Barca’ and my talent must be demonstrated first in Spain and the Euroleague before I get there. Now I only think about how to win at Barcelona, to win titles. What will happen then is unclear.
“As for the Brooklyn Nets, we will see after one to two years or more when they decide. “
Vezenkov is the first Bulgarian drafted in the NBA. Sean Marks described him as an “elite shooter” after the draft.
“Among the top jump shooters in any league in the world this season, but is far from one-dimensional. Feel for the game, shooting stroke, and aggressiveness allow him to score in a variety of ways. Uses his high skill level to make shots at a strong rate from all over the floor.”
However, he is not very athletic and it shows particularly on his defense, according to the profile.
“Lacks great potential on the defensive end due to his lack of quickness, length, and athleticism.”
Ironically, Vezenkov was ranked higher in 2015 when as a 19-year-old, rising as high as No. 32 in mock drafts before dropping out.
He’s played against NBA competition once. In an exhibition game vs. the Thunder last October, Vezenkov scored 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting from the NBA three point line.
He will play for Team Bulgaria in the FIBA World Cup European Pre-Qualifiers in Portugal, starting August 3.
In other “stash” news, Juan Pablo Vaulet was selected to the “short list” for the Argentine national team although he recently underwent ankle surgery and is expected to be out for three months. Argentina will play in the FIBA Americas Cup tournament which starts August 27 in JPV’s hometown of Cordoba, Argentina.