Hawks draft pick Lucas Nogueira was named Best Defender in Spain’s ACB League Monday. Nogueira is currently playing for Asefa Estudiantes Madrid.
“I am very happy with this award,” Nogueira said in a translated statement released by the team. “Did not expect, so it’s even more special. I have to share this achievement with my teammates, coaching staff and fans, who have always helped me, supported me and encouraged me. I was very pleased with my 2013 season , matured and grown a lot as a player . This trophy comes at an important moment . I returned to the court a few weeks ago after a few months out because of the bruises on her knees , and this further strengthens me.”
Nogueira suspended his contract with Estudiantes in December to come to the United States to have both knees treated for severe tendinitis. He split is time between Los Angeles and Atlanta. He has appeared in 10 games with Estudiantes and is averaging 6.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 17 minutes.
The 7-foot center was taken with the 16th overall selection in June’s NBA draft by the Celtics and traded to the Hawks. A native of Brazil, Nogueira returned for another season in the Spanish League to continue his development and add muscle to his 225-pound frame. He appeared in five summer league games for the Hawks and averaged 6.4 points and 6.0 rebounds.
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