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According to Seattle Supersonics director of basketball operations Dave Pendergraft, the team, which picked Yotam Halperin 53rd overall in last week's NBA draft, is "ecstatic to have Yotam."
Pendergraft, whose selection made Halperin the third Israeli ever to be drafted by an NBA squad, told The Jerusalem Post that the Sonics were happy to get Halperin for many reasons.
"He is a tall, fundamentally sound combo guard who had the greatest chance of any player left [in the second round] to help an NBA club," Pendergraft said.
Initially, though, it was Halperin's mental understanding of the game that attracted the Sonics to the former Maccabi Tel Aviv player. "He has an extremely high basketball IQ," Pendergraft said on Friday.
So is Halperin ready to play in the NBA next year? Pendergraft noted that we'll all find out after this year's NBA summer league in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Yotam will join fellow Sonics' draft picks center Saer Sene of Senegal and Denham Brown from the University of Connecticut. "Yotam will play in the NBA one day," the Sonics official said. "We'll just have to wait and see how and when that day will come." One of the things that the Sonics like about Halperin is also what may keep him in Israel next year. Although "Yotam has great size" at 1.96 meters, he is "more mentally ready than physically ready." However, since Halperin "has a good frame," Pendergraft said the organization is not worried about Halperin's ability to fill out. Still worried that Halperin fell to the 53rd pick? Don't be. NBA All-Star Anthony Mason was selected 53rd overall in the 1988 NBA draft.