German forward Isaac Bonga is declaring for the 2018 NBA draft, a source told ESPN.
The 6-foot-9 point-forward of Congolese descent has long been considered among the top prospects of his generation in Europe. He garnered significant attention upon making his FIBA debut as a 14-year-old at the 2014 FIBA Under-16 European Championship in Latvia, before averaging 8.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game at the same event the following year -- solidifying himself as an NBA prospect with his combination of positional size, length, basketball IQ and versatility.
After a strong season splitting time between the junior level and the German fourth division, Bonga joined the Fraport Skyliners in Frankfurt, where he’s spent the past two seasons splitting time between their senior and junior teams. Appearing at the 2017 Adidas Next Generation Tournament, the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp, the Adidas Eurocamp and the FIBA Under-19 World Championship, Bonga was among the most well-traveled prospects in European basketball last year, despite being too young to declare for the NBA draft.
Bonga has broken through at the club level this season, emerging as a rotation player in the German first division. He’s averaging 5.6 rebounds, 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 21.9 minutes per game, shooting 44 percent from 2 and 30 percent from 3, and starting several games amid a handful of productive outings for Frankfurt’s second team in the German third division. Bonga is a versatile player who often functions as a facilitator from the point guard spot, despite having the size to play power forward. A fluid athlete with a 7-0 wingspan, Bonga is a long-strider who gets his teammates involved unselfishly and can make intelligent reads out of the pick-and-roll. He recently made his debut with the German senior national team as part of their FIBA World Cup qualification roster.
The missing pieces for scouts are his lack of jump shooting ability and shiftiness with the ball in his hands, two things that hamper his ability to impact games offensively and contribute playing off the ball at the professional level at this point in his career. Averaging 4.2 turnovers per 40 minutes while shooting 14-of-50 from beyond the arc this season, Bonga is still early in his development in both areas, but he is the second-youngest prospect to declare for the 2018 NBA draft thus far, leaving significant room for optimism that he can grow into a more capable scoring threat down the road.
Bonga is currently rated the No. 56 prospect in the ESPN Top 100. As a 1999-born international player, he will have three more opportunities to go through the NBA draft process should he elect to withdraw his name at the early-entry deadline on June 11.