News Article

Hukporti ‘should be drafted’ says NBA Draft expert

28 Feb
3 mins read

Written By

Melbourne United Media

Sam Vecenie believes Ariel Hukporti should hear his name called come the 2024 NBA Draft

Despite his age, Ariel Hukporti has established himself as one of the most physically imposing players across his time in the NBL.

After leading the entire league in defensive rating as a teenager in NBL22 and sitting out all of NBL23 with a torn achilles, Hukporti has come back stronger than ever this season.

Having been on NBA radars since he was 16, the prospects of being drafted into the league loom large as the big-man approaches United's upcoming Finals campaign.

Speaking on The Extra Pass podcast, senior writer at The Athletic and host of the Game Theory Podcast, Sam Vecenie, gave his thoughts on Hukporti and how he can make an impact in the NBA.

“I like him as a second rounder, I think he should be drafted,” he said.

“He has real NBA size, he has real NBA length, pretty real NBA athleticism… he runs the court, plays incredibly hard, plays more of a drop-coverage big style which a lot of teams will be very comfortable with in the NBA.

“He blocks shots, is a real physical defensive force on the interior, he’s willing to throw his weight around. You can get away with a lot as long as you have that and you have real NBA size and real NBA athleticism.”

Vecenie, who has attended a number of Melbourne United games across the past few years, has watched Hukporti’s journey back to the court closely.

He believes the ups and downs that the Next Star has been through while playing in Australia will go a long way in helping him fit into any NBA environment.

“The thing I’ve been most impressed with that I think is translatable to any level is work ethic and resilience,” he explained.

“On a real level with Ariel, that dude deserves an immense amount of credit for coming in and being willing to put in the work to the point where I heard about the Hoop City runs last summer against the Boomers and heard that he looked amazing in those.

“For him to bounce back the way that he did, that is the biggest, most important tick that you can make for somebody.”

Vecenie has Hukporti projected to be drafted at Pick 54 in the 2024 NBA Draft.

The only way to make sure you’re there to see the rest of his games with Melbourne United is to secure your seat to our Playoff Games.

Tickets are on sale now!


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