NBA Teams Turn to Europe for Several Draft Choices

Among the 162 players selected in Tuesday’s National Basketball Assn. draft was a 7-foot star center from the Soviet Union national team, perhaps the best forward ever to hail from Spain and a 7-3 center from West Germany who considered playing in the United States once before.

In short, the NBA draft went international Tuesday.

The Atlanta Hawks attracted the most attention when they drafted Arvidas Sabonis, a star on the Russian national team. Hawk General Manager Stan Kasten has little information on Sabonis. The Hawks believe his age is 21, but they aren’t sure.

“We don’t expect to have Arvidas in camp next year,” Kasten said. “I don’t have inside state department knowledge, but you never know. If the super powers ever turn their swords into plowshares, then we would be glad to provide him an opportunity to play in the NBA.”


If Kasten doesn’t expect Sabonis to play, why did he select him?

“Why not pick him? What are the chances of getting a good player in the fourth round, anyway.”

New Jersey expects 6-8 Fernado Martin from Spain’s national team to come to camp. The Nets used a second round pick to take Martin, considered the best player in Spain.

Cleveland picked Gunthar Behnke, a 7-3 center from West Germany, in the fifth round. Behnke once enrolled at the University of Kentucky and planned to play, but left school before basketball season and returned home.


The other international selection belonged to Phoenix, who drafted Bulgarian forward Georgi Glouckov in the seventh round.