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Alexis Ajinca
SI Rank
6
Position: Country: Ht., Wt.:
7'0, 220

BIOGRAPHY: Due to his legitimate 7-foot frame and rare athleticism, Ajinca's stock has risen since it became clear he would enter the 2008 draft. Having just turned 20 years old and lacking experience, he may not be ready to immediately help an NBA team, but his long arms and raw skills at both ends of the floor make his potential impossible to ignore. Ajinca probably needs to put on more weight - although he's steadily bulked up the past few years - to handle the physicality of the NBA. Still, the Frenchman can already score inside, knock down jumpers and effectively pass the ball. His best skill might be as a shot-blocker, due to good anticipation and a wingspan that approaches eight feet. Ajinca hasn't played much against top competition and has seen only sporadic action for his French squad - averaging just 11 minutes - but he did lead the international team at the 2008 Nike Hoop Summit with 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks against top prospects. He also helped the French under-19 team to a bronze medal at the 2007 world championships, averaging nearly three blocked shots in that tournament. He might make the most sense for a team late in the first round that doesn't need an impact player for the 2008-09 season, but could look at him as a long-term investment.

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