Theo Maledon Declares For Draft

Potential lottery pick Theo Maledon has submitted paperwork to become eligible for the NBA draft, writes Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Ranked as the 15th best prospect in ESPN’s Top 100, Maledon, 18, plays in the EuroLeague and the French LNB for ASVEL. He is averaging 7.1 points and 2.3 assists in 17 minutes per game and is considered a top candidate for the EuroLeague Rising Star award. Givony notes that Luka Doncic is the only other 18-year-old in the past decade to start the majority of his team’s games in the EuroLeague.

Maledon already has an impressive resume that includes winning a gold medal in the U16 European Championship and serving as captain of the French junior national team that captured a silver medal at the FIBA U17 World Cup. Like the rest of the world, his season is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, but he had ASVEL on top of the league at 21-4 when the shutdown began.

“Before COVID-19 stopped basketball, I was looking forward to finishing the EuroLeague season and hopefully winning the LNB Championship,” Maledon said. “Normally, the championship would have run until the second week of June so I would not have much time to train in the U.S. before the draft. Now the landscape has changed, but I have to wait like everyone else to see when and what we are able to do.

“Right now I am doing everything possible at my house to maintain my conditioning. Really all I can do is listen to the experts, the officials, and my team and stay at home. I know this is not what I expected, but knowing I will be in the NBA next year is what I am focused on. One day I will shake Commissioner Silver’s hand.”

Givony notes that Maledon’s assets include exceptional size for at point guard at 6’5″ with a 6’9″ wingspan. He’s considered a good shooter and versatile defender and may have more experience playing against top-level competition than anyone else in the draft.

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