Eurobasket 2009: Players of Interest
With the Eurobasket 2009 complete, lets take a look at some possible future NBA players that shined over the last two weeks. We'll strictly deal with players who saw significant playing time at the Eurobasket '09.
We'll look at players who have their rights held by a NBA team or players who can be signed by any NBA team.
Players with rights held by a NBA team:
Omer Asik (Turkey): (Bulls own rights)
Euro '09--12.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg (2.4 off), 67% FG
The young center had a very solid showing this summer, averaging nearly 13 ppg. His 67% FG pct. led the tourney. Was Turkey's second leading scorer behind Ilyasova. Did most of his damage rolling to the rim or moving to open spots. Good finishing ability and showed nice body control to re-adjust for lay-ins on the move. Very mobile 7-footer who's known as a shot-blocker, but didn't block many shots in Poland. At this point, does not show much in the way of refined post skills. Did a good job on the offensive glass. Major liability at the free throw line--15 for 47 for Euro '09. Turkey had to pull him late in the 4th and all of OT in their quarterfinal loss vs. Greece. His shooting form needs more than just tweaking. Will play for Turkish power, Fenerbahce Ulker, this season.
Erazem Lorbek (Slovenia): (Pacers own rights)
Euro '09 stats--16.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.4 spg, 52.7% FG
Second best player in the tourney. Terrific all-around skill set that was on full display throughout the tourney. Showed off his face-up ability out to 20 feet (9 of 17 3pt.). Used his impeccable footwork to score on spin moves, lefty hooks, righty hooks, turnaround jumpers, and up/unders. Uses a fake spin effectively either on his post moves or driving the ball. Can drive the ball from the high post going both ways. Quality passer and rebounder. The 25-year-old is coming off a great season with CSKA Moscow. Will join Rubio & Juan Navarro in Barcelona this season. His lack of athleticism makes you wonder how well his game will translate to the NBA. Wonder about his strength as well. Can he be a starter in the NBA? Not sure. Probably a serviceable back-up at least.
Sofo Schortsanitis (Greece): (Clippers own rights)
Euro '09 stats--12 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 59% FG, 2.2 TOpg, 60% FT
The big fella came into Euro 2009 in the best shape he's been in since the '06 Worlds and played some of the best ball of his career. Sofo only played 19 minutes a game but still managed to be Greece's second-leading scorer. Always shoots a high percentage and shot nearly 60%. The moment he would enter the game, Greece would look to set him up on the block and utilize his nimble footwork & massive frame to carve out space. Can get deep position anytime he wants thanks to his prodigious flank cakes. As usual, drew plenty of fouls. Might seem like he plows his way to the rim, but really has light feet around the rim--effective drop-steps. Still an adventure when he goes to the free throw line (60%). Has a tough time staying on the floor because of fouls. Picks up fouls sometimes because he doesn't realize his own strength and width. Picks up offensive fouls this way, which leads to his turnover issues. Could be a back-up for Blake Griffin, though LA might not be the best atmosphere for Big Sofo.
Free Agent Targets in the Future: (Currently under contract in Europe, but no NBA team holds rights)
Giannis Bourousis (Greece):
Euro '09 stats--10.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 49% FG
Started off the tourney really well, but slowly tailed off his production. One of the top centers outside the NBA. Great touch that extends to 20 feet. Has some crafty moves around the rim where he can finish with a hook. One of the best rebounders in Europe. Can get rebounds out of his area. Not the best overall athlete--kind of reminds you of Divac when he runs. But does have sneaky hops and gets off the floor fast. Spurs were rumored to be after him earlier this summer, but Bourousis decided to stay with Olympiakos. Not sure he's a NBA starting center because of his subpar athleticism, but should have the goods to be a solid reserve.
Maciej Lampe (Poland):
Euro '09 stats--11.3 ppg, 6 rpg, 45% FG, 47% 3pt.
Teamed with Gortat to form a nice tandem up front for Poland. Nice showing in his home country that might have earned him a second chance in the NBA. Showed off a decent little post game in which he scored on turnaround jumpers and even a couple of righty hooks. Lampe can stretch the floor and moves well for a 7-footer. Runs the floor well. Has beefed up since he left the NBA. NBA GMs should keep an eye on him, he might warrant a training-camp invite down the road.
Timofey Mozgov (Russia):
Euro '09 stats--11 ppg, 4.5 rpg (2.7 off.), 1.3 bpg, 59% FG
If you can pick anyone who had a coming-out party at Euro '09, you might have to go with Timo. The 7-0 Mozgov was an imposing interior presence at both ends of the floor. Mozgov is a pretty good athlete for his size and has a nice frame that can handle more weight. Powerful finisher, might have led the tourney in dunks. No real signs of much of a post game, did most of his damage rolling to the rim. But there were a few glimpses of a decent touch on some short jumpers. Attacks the offensive glass. Did a pretty good job defensively protecting the painted area and wasn't too bad on ball screens. Dealt with constant foul trouble which limited him to 23 mins/game. His potential is enticing, and have to imagine most NBA front offices are keeping close tabs on the 23-year-old.
Bostjan Nachbar (Slovenia):
Euro '09 stats--12.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 48% FG, 38% 3pt.
Second-best player for Slovenia, the team that I thought was the second-best team in the tourney. Very consistent from game to game. Shot the ball very well for Slovenia and hit some jumpers off the dribble. Good rebounder at the SF position. Can play the 4-spot in a small-ball lineup. Underrated athlete who can finish. Was a solid reserve for the Nets for a few years and think he can be a valuable reserve in the NBA once again.
Juan Navarro (Spain):
Euro '09 stats--13 ppg, 2.5 apg, 1.3 spg, 38% 3pt.
Spain ran him off countless screens to free him for his jumper or patented floater (Barcelona uses Juan the same way). Did a nice playing the passing lanes alongside Rubio & Rudy. One of the best guards in Europe. Will be playing next to Rubio in the FC Barcelona backcourt. Could be a quality combo guard off the bench for any NBA team. Already proven he can be a reliable scorer off the bench. Not sure of his interest in coming back to the States. La Bomba is treated like a god in Spain and has a very lucrative contract with Barca.
Vasilis Spanoulis (Greece):
Euro '09 stats--14 ppg, 4.2 apg, 1.4 spg, 45.8% FG, 43.6% 3pt
One of the top playmakers in the tourney and was named to the 1st Team All-Eurobasket. Led Greece to the semifinals and drilled some big shots throughout the tourney. One of the better guards in Europe. He loves to attack the rim going either direction and draws fouls. He's extremely dangerous as a pull-up shooter, but less effective when forced to be a standstill shooter. He's just better when he gets a little rhythm into his shot. Defensively, moves his feet well laterally to stay in front of his man. Has the speed to hang in the NBA. Wasn't given much of a chance with Euro-averse Jeff Van Gundy. Possibly starting material in the NBA--at worst, a solid combo guard off the bench. Though, not sure he wants to come back to the NBA. Is in good situation with Panathinaikos (reigning Euroleague Champs). Still has an issue with turnovers (led Euro '09 with 4 per), tries to forces passes too much.
Milos Teodosic (Serbia):
Euro '09 stats--14 ppg, 5.2 apg, 1.3 spg, 49% FG, 44% 3pt.
Was instrumental in Serbia's run to the finals. Arguably the best PG in tourney (slightly better than Spanoulis & Parker) and named to 1st Team All-Eurobasket. First time the 22-year-old Teodosic has really impressed me. Everytime I've seen him before, he left me rather non-plussed. Ran the pick/roll with patience, often making precision passes on the move. Shot the ball very well in the tourney (61% eFG), including a six 3pter. barrage in the semifinal win vs. Slovenia. Will see if Milos can keep up this type of play or if it was an aberration. It might be difficult for Milos to really break out considering minutes and touches are hard to come by playying for Olympiakos. An all-right athlete for Europe, but subpar in the NBA, could get torched defensively. Though he's a big (6-5) PG and does have a quick release on his jumper where you could play him with an undersized 2-guard.
Novica Velickovic (Serbia):
Euro '09 stats--11 ppg, 5 rpg, 1.4 spg, 38% 3pt
Mutli-skilled 6-9 combo forward who does a little bit of everything for Serbia. Pretty solid outside shooter, can put the ball on the deck, can post up, can pass out of the post, good overall passer and solid rebounder. Did a nice job on the defensive end as an active helper. Not a great athlete, but he's not a bad athlete either. Think his combo of size, skills & smarts could make up for the fact he's not a tremendous athlete. Saw him play with Partizan multiple times and always came away impressed with his all-around game. The soon to be 23-year-old moves to Real Madrid this season to play for Ettore Messina. Surprised NBA teams passed on him as a 2nd-round stash pick. Some team needs to consider offering him a short contract. Could be a combo forward off the bench.