Two international players are facing serious challenges right now. France's Boris Diaw and Brazil's Leandrinho Barbosa are suffering from a major lack of exposure.
Diaw, the French League MVP, hit his stock peak about two months ago and has been on the decline ever since. Because of his team's playoff schedule, he's been unable to come over for individual workouts. Even though there's still a chance that he could be taken in the mid first round (the Celtics' Danny Ainge will make a quick trip to France to check him out) it appears he's slipping. The Jazz still like him at No. 19. The Hawks are a possiblity at No. 21. The Blazers at No. 23, Lakers at No. 24, Pistons at No. 25, Grizzlies at No. 27 and Spurs at No. 28 are all possibilities. But none is a lock, which has to have Diaw sweating it a bit.
The same goes for Barbosa. After a series of steady workouts, a hip flexor problem has caused him to miss too many workouts. Teams are a little bit scared off by his unorthodox shooting release (though he did shoot 45 percent from three in Brazil) and his lack of English skills. Barbosa had a group workout in Cleveland on Sunday in an effort to fortify his stock. Reps from the Raptors, Heat, Cavs, Blazers and Magic showed up. According to his agent, Michael Coyne, Barbosa did it as much to show off his growing proficiency in English as anything else. The English problem, in particular, seems to be a bit surreal. No one drafting Barbosa expects him to contribute much this year. By the end of the season, his English, especially his basketball English, will be just fine. So what's the worry? Barbosa could go as high as the Warriors at No. 11. The Sonics, Magic, Hawks and Blazers will also take a look, but again, no team is a lock to take him.