Georgian big a nice fit at No. 27 for Nets
Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks had some success drafting from the international ranks in 2018, landing a scoring wing with potential in Bosnian Dzanan Musa at No. 29 and getting the steal of the draft in Latvian forward Rodions Kurucs at No. 40.
With the first-round pick acquired from the Denver Nuggets, the Nets — in this NBA mock draft, at least — dip back into the international pool to take center Goga Bitadze from Georgia.
Listed at 6-foot-11 and 251 pounds, Bitazde has been with Buducnost in the Adriatic League this season, his fourth year as a pro. He will turn 20 on July 20, a month after the draft, and has been solid in both domestic and Euroleague play this season.
In 40 games thus far this season, Bitazde is averaging 14.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 24.0 minutes per game, shooting 59.2 percent overall and a solid 39.7 percent on 1.5 3-point attempts per game.
In the tougher Euroleague, he’s at 12.1 points and 6.4 boards with 2.3 blocks in 24.2 minutes, shooting 54.8 percent overall and 31.2 percent from deep.
He has the look of another lumbering Euro big, but Bitazde is a quick jumper, but will not be a good switch defender at the NBA level — the perimeter is a foreign land — but he can protect the rim.