"I have a lot of confidence in Bobi to come in and make a big contribution straight away."

13 Jun

He has been described as “everything NBA teams are looking for in a future-facing prospect”, but before he heads to the NBA, Swedish forward Bobi Klintman will touch down in Cairns to play a season with the Taipans.

The talented 6-foot-10 wing, who last played for Wake Forest University in the NCAA’s powerful Atlantic Coast Conference, is the latest recruit to join the Hungry Jack’s National Basketball League’s (NBL) Next Stars program and is already being touted as a first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

“We are thrilled to welcome Bobi to the NBL as part of our Next Stars program,” General Manager of Next Stars recruitment Liam Santamaria said.

“Possessing an impressive combination of size and skill, Bobi is an exciting NBA prospect, and it will be wonderful to watch him further develop under the tutelage of Adam Forde in Cairns.”

Klintman competed for Sweden in the U20 European Championships last year where he averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and over 2 steals per game. There, the talented forward improved his NBA prospects as he showcased his versatility as a two-way wing with excellent playmaking and ball-handling abilities.

“The Taipans have become renowned for their elite player development, and I have no doubt a season in Far North Queensland will help Bobi grow his game and enhance his NBA stocks,” Santamaria added.

“I also expect his smooth game and warm personality will make Bobi something of a favourite among NBL fans.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Terrific under-the-radar prospect to track: Wake Forest W/F Bobi Klintman. Hasn&#39;t gotten a ton of publicity, but a legit potential 2024 1st rounder.<br><br>All the tools modern NBA teams look for. 6-10 wing, can handle, shoot, really pass. Very fluid. Great upside bet. Super talented <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) <a href="">March 3, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Klintman, who recently withdrew from the 2023 NBA Draft in order to maintain eligibility for next year’s draft, has expressed his excitement about heading to the NBL and joining the Taipans.

Taipans’ head coach Adam Forde compared Klintman’s forecasted adaption to the league to that of former University of Miami standout Sam Waardenburg, who last season became the inaugural recipient of the NBL’s Next Generation Award.

“I have a lot of confidence in Bobi to come in and make a big contribution straight away,” Forde said.

“Having spent a year in the ACC is a great conditioner for playing in the NBL. Much like Sam last season, the transition for Bobi to adjust to the physicality and playing style of our league will be a quick one.

“Bobi fits my current obsession for tall athletic wings who you can plug-and-play. He is the NBA prototype for today’s game, a 6-foot-10 hooper with a 7-foot wingspan that defends one-through-five. He can push the break, shoot the three and find effective ways to score on and off the ball.”

Klintman, 20, was born in Malmo, Sweden, and moved to the United States in 2021 to play at basketball powerhouse Sunrise Christian Academy. From there he made his way to Wake Forest, where he demonstrated the versatile skillset that has NBA front offices excited about his potential. Across the final 11 games of his freshman season, Klintman averaged 8.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 45 percent from the field, 41 percent from three and 75 percent from the free throw line.

“I am very excited to get to Cairns and play in the NBL,” Klintman said. 

“The NBL is a great league that I have a ton of respect for. My conversations with coach Forde have been great and I know that he is an amazing coach who is going to help me continue to develop my game. I just want to win and coach Forde is going to put the team in a great position to do so.

“Over the past few months I was able to hear directly from NBA teams about what they thought about me and what I need to work on. I am excited to apply those things in Cairns and to learn.

“While my ultimate goal is to become a top-20 pick in the 2024 NBA draft, I truly just want to get to Cairns and do whatever I can to help the team win.”

NBA Draft analysts are gushing over Klintman's potential. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, for example, recently described him as “everything NBA teams are looking for in a future-facing prospect.”

“You can find 6-foot-10 shooters,” Vecenie explained.

“But you can’t find 6-foot-10 shooters who have also showcased the ability to handle the ball and pass at the level Klintman has shown… he epitomizes the direction of the NBA as it searches for players with size and skill.”

The Taipans first game of the 2023/24 season is on Saturday, September 30 against the New Zealand Breakers at Spark Arena.

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