Australian basketball trailblazer Chris Anstey says Brisbane centre Will Magnay "will play in the NBA next season" as teams prepare to swoop on the free agent after Thursday's draft that could see NBL poster boy LaMelo Ball chosen with the first pick.
Illawarra Hawks import Ball is widely projected to be taken first by Minnesota while New Zealand Breakers recruit RJ Hampton could also go in the top 15 in a wide-open draft pool.
Not since Anstey was plucked from the NBL by Portland with pick No. 18 in 1997 has anyone made the direct transition from Australia through the draft so effectively.
Emerging Australian Josh Green is likely to be among the first 20 selections after the athletic wing displayed his NBA-ready game in college basketball with Arizona this season.
Sam Froling (Illawarra) and Kouat Noi (Cairns) have also nominated and have NBL contracts to return to if passed over.
In 22-year-old Magnay and guard Josh Giddey (18), who is expected to enter the draft next year, Anstey sees a wave of Australian talent destined to join veterans Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova and Aron Baynes in the NBA.
"Will's going to play in the NBA next year and he'll have a choice as to where," Anstey told AAP of Magnay, who had a potential NBA deal scuppered by injury last season.
"Some NBA people I keep in touch with (at Anstey's former club Dallas) have him rated among the top three centres in the draft and no doubt others have as much interest.
"That's why he's such a coveted acquisition to teams looking at a left of centre pick that they can bring in as a free agent (after the draft).
"The world's shrunk (since Anstey was drafted in 1997); back then any international that came over was considered soft and it took a long time for that stereotype to change."
Ball and Hampton validated their status as the faces of the NBL's Next Stars program last season, bypassing the usual college route to prepare for the NBA in Australia.
"We (the NBL) played a part; it was a tune-up for Ball but he was always going to be a high pick," Anstey said.
"But both of those players allowed the spotlight to shine on the NBL to the extent where the NBA had to invest in their own development league to keep other young talent in the United States under people's eyes."
What Anstey saw in Ball he sees in Giddey, who became the youngest Boomers players since Ben Simmons in February and will ply his trade with Adelaide this season.
"If LaMelo Ball's a top-three pick then Giddey is a lottery pick (top-14) for sure," Anstey said.
"He's 6'8, passes around and over defenders with both hands ... he's special and it's an easy comparison to watch what he does compared to what LaMelo did last year."