Just last year, in Satnam Singh Bhamara, India found its first ever basketballer to feature in an NBA Draft, when he eventually got selected by the Dallas Mavericks as their 52nd pick. Now in an unprecedented development for the sport in the country, three more Indian international players are vying for a club in the upcoming NBA Development-League Draft on Sunday.
Amjyot Singh Gill, Amritpal Singh and Palpreet Singh Brar are among the 182 probables looking for a spot in the NBA’s second flight. To be organised at the NBA headquarters in New York, the first four rounds of the six round Draft is compulsory for each of the 22 teams to make picks, while the last two are optional. As such, a maximum of 132 players can be picked from the list of 182. Even if selected, the trio of Punjab players will have to undergo a further week-long training program with their employing team to vie for a spot in their roster for the upcoming season that starts on November 11.
Stalwarts Amjyot (24) and Amritpal (25) are the more recent entrants into the list despite being rated as among the best the country has ever produced. The pair has been a permanent feature in the national team ever since they came into the limelight after impressive performances at the FIBA Asia Cup in 2014 — an event that even saw the pair lead the team to a historic 65-58 win over hosts China.
Since then, the 6-foot-8 Amjyot and 7-footer Amritpal have spent a year playing in the Japanese professional league, leading Tokyo Excellence to the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) Championship as well earlier this year. Palpreet meanwhile, at 22, is the youngest of the three and was the first to enter the draft.