Tuesday, June 22, 2010

International 1st Round Prospects: Scouting Tibor Pleiss and Kevin Seraphin

Like last year, the pool of viable international draft prospects is rather shallow. When Jan Vesely and Donatas Motiejunas passed on this year's NBA Draft, the field of int'l 1st round candidates dwindled further.

Below we take a look at two possible int'l first round prospects, Tibor Pleiss and Kevin Seraphin. Neither player is likely lottery-bound and both European bigs project to be chosen in the late 1st/early 2nd round. And after watching these guys multiple times, we agree Pleiss and Seraphin are correctly pegged as late 1st round material.

Tibor Pleiss
Brose Baskets Bamberg (German League/Bundesliga)
7-0 Center
20 Years Old

Pleiss just recently wrapped up his 2009-10 season in fine fashion by helping his team to a German League (Bundesliga) title. Brose defeated Deutsche Bank 3-2 in the final round, and Pleiss was a key contributor to the title run. Tibor had 10 pts, 12 rebs & 2 blks in the deciding Game 5 and averaged 6.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg & 1.4 bpg in 22 mins per for the series.

In 45 Bundesliga games this season, Tibor averaged 8 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.3 bpg and 57% shooting in 19 mins per game (he put up nearly identical stats in Brose's 14 EuroCup games).

An average athlete for a center in Europe, but probably a subpar athlete for NBA. However, moves well enough that he shouldn't be a major liability. Does get pushed off his spots a little and needs to add strength. But does have a frame that can definitely handle more muscle.

Pleiss' offensive game is a work in progress. Casey Jacobsen is Brose's main option, so Tibor doesn't get his number called that often. Has to look for most of his offense moving to open spots off the ball. In general, a pretty good finisher when receiving passes close to the basket. Good hands and shows ability to catch on the move & finish in one motion.

Not much of a post game at this point. Likes to try a sweeping righty hook on occasion but his footwork is not highly developed right now, so this leads to awkward attempts.

The strength of his offensive game has to be his jump shot. Showcases a nice balanced jumper that he can take out to 18 feet. Looks like he could be effective in pick/pop action in the NBA. Interesting to see if he can take his jumper out a few more feet and become a threat like Okur or Frye. Though, currently Pleiss doesn't get much of legs into his shot.

Solid pick/roll defender and a terrific shot-blocker (2nd best in Bundesliga). He seems to recover well to get many shots from behind. Excellent rebounder.

Tibor is definitely a few years away from being NBA-ready and have to imagine he will be a stash pick. Not sure he's starting-caliber center in the NBA but has the skills to be at least a quality reserve. If he works on his post game and his body, a starting spot could be in his future because his shooting, rebounding, shot-blocking and hands are already quality.

Kevin Seraphin
Cholet (French Pro A League/LNB)
6-9 PF/C
20 Years Old

The first thing you notice about Seraphin is his thick frame. When initially watching him, had to do a few double-takes because it seemed I was watching a 30-year-old veteran. He's built like a man, not a developing 20-year-old (so much so that you wonder if his birth certificate is fudged). The kid ain't roly-poly either--he's tightly packed onto his frame.

Not quite on the level of Derrick Favors athletically but still very good. Combine an athletic, bulky build with long arms (9-1 standing reach) and you start to understand why NBA front offices are intrigued. Puts his long arms to good use as a strong rebounder, particularly on the offensive glass--averaged 2 off. rpg in only 15 mins/game.

Cholet won the French Pro A (LNB) title but Seraphin missed the last few games with a knee injury. Seraphin would usually start but only averaged roughly 15 minutes a game. In 32 LNB games this season, Kevin averaged 6 ppg on 53%, 4.2 rpg & 1 bpg.

Still has a lot of rough edges to his game that need to be sanded down. Seems to be still figuring out the nuances of the game on the fly. Has very little in the way of ball-handling or passing skills.

Like Pleiss, his post game is fairly limited right now. He does sometimes unleash a nice righty hook on the left block that looks fluid. Also, can be effective with a drop-step on the left block. Just don't expect any smooth countermoves or sweet turnaround jumpers on the block. Really likes to try to finish with hooks around the basket as much as possible. He's not comfortable with shooting jumpers on his post moves.

Not much of a threat when facing the basket. Has some excess motion in his shot, not quite as elaborate as Marcus Camby or Bill Cartwright, but his awkward mechanics kind of remind you of those guys. No surprise he has difficulties from the free throw line--56% in the LNB.

Not quite as good a finisher as one would hope. By no means a bad finisher, just expected him to be more dominant with his great physical skills. Sometimes does not go up with enough force.

He seems like he does not fully realize the physical advantages at his disposal. He does not power through guys as much as he should. Does not affect the game at the defensive end as much as he could either. He's not a bad defender--effective guarding his man in the post--just wish he showed more signs of being a consistent disruptive force. Basically, needs to learn how to use his body to his advantage.


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