From Turkish Airlines EuroLeague newcomers to mid-level contributors until now, some players seemed poised to be difference-makers for their teams this season even if they have not been tagged as stars. Here are 10 would-be impact players who may not be on everyone's radar yet, but whose talents could very well complete the puzzles for their teams. They shouldn’t be sleepers for long!
Top 10 sleepers before the 2023-24 EuroLeague starts
10. Nate Sestina, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
Sestina proved a steady contributor at power forward as Turk Telekom reached the EuroCup Finals last season, averaging 10.4 points and 4.0 rebounds off the bench. If he can approach those numbers in the EuroLeague, Fenerbahce fans will be delighted.
9. Derek Willis, Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Willis made leaps in quality in each of his three EuroCup seasons, peaking with 12.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and a 15.0 PIR last season in Venice with great shooting accuracy: 58.8% on two-pointers, 47.5% on threes and 90.7% at the foul line. If he can replicate even some of that as a EuroLeague rookie, Efes will have gotten a steal.
8. Jerian Grant, Panathinaikos Athens
Last season's EuroCup MVP did it all with finalist Turk Telekom, ranking in the top 15 in scoring, assists, steals and PIR. A season removed from seeing sparse time in his EuroLeague debut, Grant will get the chance at Panathinaikos to show the full range of his talents.
7. Jasiel Rivero, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
The Cuban center averaged 9.4 points in under 19 minutes as a EuroLeague rookie with Valencia. His low-post game and offensive rebounding will be welcome at Maccabi, where he should find plenty of easy baskets as defenses focus on the team's high-scoring backcourt.
6. Naz Mitrou-Long, Zalgiris Kaunas
After averaging 12.4 points in his first seven EuroLeague games last season, Mitrou-Long tailed off to 4.9 per game for Milan. With Ignas Brazdeikis having left for Olympiacos over the weekend, however, he'll get another chance with Zalgiris to show he can be consistent.
5. Ognjen Dobric, Virtus Segafredo Bologna
Dobric has been a double-digit scorer over the last two seasons of his seven with Crvena Zvezda, but even then his live-wire all-around game should get another boost with Virtus, his first team outside of Serbia.
4. Mike Tobey, Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade
Tobey has started rarely and never averaged more than 19 minutes in any of his three EuroLeague seasons, but his mid-range and baseline game fit well amid Zvezda's other strengths, so expect Tobey to fill an important role in balancing his new team's offense.
3. Andreas Obst, FC Bayern Munich
Considered by many to be a pure sharpshooter before starring in Germany's World Cup gold medal run, Obst has diversified his game heading into the prime of his career. Under new Bayern boss Pablo Laso, who perfected the deployment of a similar player in Jaycee Carroll, Obst should be an even bigger threat than his 9.9 points per game last season.
2. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne
In his first, truncated EuroLeague season, Luwawu-Cabarrot's flashed of an ability to dominate by scoring 14 points or more in 10 of his 22 games, including all but one in which he played 25 minutes or more. Don't be surprised to see him become a force for ASVEL, where he can expect plenty of court time.
1. Jared Harper, Valencia Basket
After averaging 10.4 points and 3.3 assists for Valencia in his first taste of European basketball last season, ranking 11th among all EuroLeague players on a per-40-minute basis in both categories, Harper stands to get even more of an opportunity to use everything he learned in his second season with the Spanish club.