| USA TODAY
The New York Knicks selected Leandro Bolmaro with the 23rd pick in the 2020 NBA draft on Wednesday, then traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
From Cordoba, Argentina, the 6-foot-7 small forward spent the last two seasons with Barcelona. The 20-year-old is creative on offense and works hard on both ends of the court.
Here are some things you should know about the Argentine’s arrival to the NBA:
Bolmaro helped guide Argentina to a silver medal in the 2017 FIBA South America Under-17 Championship, where he averaged 13.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
He began his pro career with Estudiantes (Argentina) at the age of 16 in 2017. Following the 2018 Nike Hoop Summit, Bolmaro signed with Barcelona and moved through the youth ranks and made his senior team debut in the 2019-20 season.
Bolmaro attended the 2017 NBA Basketball Without Borders America camp, and was placed on Team Blue, which was coached by current Charlotte Hornets Coach James Borrego.
Passing the torch
Fellow Argentine and former Spurs center Fabricio Oberto, a 2007 NBA champion, has hailed the 20-year-old as a “tremendous talent” who has a future in either the NBA or should he continue to play in Spain, Oberto told NBA Mexico.
“He has to be calm, that everything he is doing now works for him. He is with great coaches, great players and without a doubt that the team that chooses him will have the chance to continue improve him. He has a lot of talent, physical condition and sees basketball very well.”
Messi of basketball
Spanish newspaper Marca reported back in October 2019 of Bolmaro’s rise from Barca’s youth teams to first team, with then-coach Svetislav Pesic referencing another famous Argentine in Barcelona.
“Soccer has its Leo [Messi] and now basketball does too,” Pesic said in reference to Lionel Messi, who also came from Argentina at a young age and broke into the first team as a teenager.
‘I’m sure that he will have a great future and he is already respected by other professionals,” Pesic said.