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Few players have worked harder than Yotam Halperin leading up to Wednesday's NBA Draft. The 22-year-old combo-guard worked out with six NBA teams over a nine-day stretch. It seems that the traveling around America at a grueling pace has been worth it.
Halperin has gone from not knowing when he began the draft process back in May whether he would be drafted at all to now having a legitimate shot at being the first Israeli player ever taken in the first round of the draft.
Any doubt that the experts originally had about Halperin being selected in this year's draft has disappeared, as they now scramble to figure out which of the 60 picks in the draft will be set aside for him. If Halperin makes history by being picked in the first 30, he will be rewarded with a guaranteed contract from an NBA club.
ESPN expert Chad Ford's draft Web site has Halperin being picked somewhere in the 27-33 range, placing him between the late first and early second rounds, while InsideHoops.com has him going in the early second round, considered to be picks Nos. 30-35.
According to Ford, Halperin, who has worked out for Washington, Phoenix, Indiana, Detroit, Portland and Seattle, has excelled in his workouts "against higherranked players."
Throughout his workouts, Halperin continually surprised teams who had not previously been familiar with him, while showing that he is in fact NBA-ready.
Apparently, the NBA is as ready for Halperin as he is for them.
According to Ford, "Israelis are NBA fanatics," and Halperin being drafted could "provide a boon in the form of a new market to the team that drafts him."
Halperin hopes that when the draft begins on Wednesday night, a team in the first round wants him as much as he wants to be in the NBA.