BallinEurope was consulted in making up the individual player entries along with Euroball-reporting luminaries like Slam and Freaknick of ELA; Alejandro Gonzalez of Net Scouts Basketball; and Simas Baranauskas of The Lithuanian Perspective and Lithuanian Basketball.
While only the entry on Jonas Valenciunas is up at present at the ‘Adventures, BiE today provides his unadulterated superbrief takes (plus YouTube clips, natch) on a baker’s dozen of European prospects, soon to be incorporated on the Darkometer. Enjoy!
Robin Benzing F, Ratiopharm Ulm
In a word: defense. As in, “Robin Benzing still doesn’t seem to play any.” While we all know Benzing has an astonishing three-point shot for a 6’10” (2.09m) dude, he’s essentially a defensive *liability*, though you’d hardly notice amidst the porous Ulm D giving up the second-most points per Bundesliga game. Nice 33-point game there in February, though.
Bismack Biyombo C, Fuenlabrada
BiE hasn’t seen too many Fuenlabrada games this season, but who needs it after that Nike Hoop Summit performance in which Biyombo proved himself the class of his generation with a ridiculous 10 blocks? Who knew? Scary athletic, Biyombo’s 18 and NBA eligible, which makes BiE believe he’s a second-round sleeper for some insightful team willing to wait a season or two.
Bojan Bogdanovic SG/SF, Cibona
As Bogdanovic continues to run up the numbers in the Adriatic League, BiE gets more excited about – and more assured of – seeing this guy in the NBA sooner rather than later. Bogdanovic brings a complete swingman’s game with admirable abilities to drive, pull up and/or create shots. You just have to wonder what he’d do on a winning team.
Nihad Djedovic SF, Lottomatica Roma
BiE likes what Djedovic’s doing in Italy, wasn’t so impressed with his Euroleague play. Djedovic is often (read: basically almost always) foiled by bigger opposition on both ends of the court, a weakness the 6’6” (1.98m) “SF” doesn’t need to face in Serie A. Most believe Djedovic would/should play at the no. 2 spot in American ball; BiE’d like to see that, as it would surely improve his game.
Augosto Cesar Lima PF, CB Granada
Lima brings much flash and excitement to the backcourt … also some questionable ball-handling and too many turnovers. He looks pretty good in ACB play, particularly in rebounding, but Lima’s spare minutes with Unicaja Malaga in the 2010-11 Euroleague season also indicate that some in-the-know feel that he’s not quite ready for prime time.
Milan Macvan PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
If there’s one young guy in European basketball blessed with NBA poundage a la Barkley, it’s gotta be 6’9”, 265-pound Milan Macvan – plus he’s got that “European skill set” (i.e. as a power forward, he can shoot from beyond 8 feet out) that attracts NBA draftniks. Macvan brings some nice aggression on the boards and is willing to take the tough shots; he could use some work on turnovers, however, and probably will invest 2011-12 in staying on The Continent.
Nikola Mirotic PF, Real Madrid
If there’s one guy who doesn’t want the 2010-11 season to end (necessarily), it’s Nikola Mirotic. This guy seems to grow by leaps and bounds by the match, as his passing is especially notable along with his clutch play in a couple of games for Real Madrid in 2011. Mirotic says that he’s not so interested in playing NBA ball, but if he’s a top 15 pick, how would he resist?
Donatas Motiejunas PF, Benetton Treviso
It’s been a nice season of development for Motiejunas and he even seemed to have gained some of that elusive upper-body strength so badly needed by European big men who wish to jump to the NBA.
Leon Radosevic PF, Cibona
One of the rare bright spots for Cibona Zagreb (Bojan Bogdanovic is the other), Radosevic suddenly appears on the radar of European prospect hunters. The first thing they probably notice, however, is that Radosevic is absolutely pigeonholed into that no. 4 spot. He’s often victimized (or posterized) in post play and cannot outmuscle a typical power forward on the boards. On the offensive side, Radosevic has good speed and a nice jumper; he’s been living and dying by the pick-and-roll quite a bit in 2010-11.
Giorgi Shermadini PF, Union Olimpija
Shermadini could be the next Vlade Divac. Or not. It’s just so damn hard to tell because of the limited court time he’s seen in both Euroleague and Adriatic League play. From the slivers of time, we’ve seen a nice defensive presence in the paint, a good ability to post up, and anywhere-from-competent-to-above-average passing. BiE’d say more, but BiE’d rather see more.
Jonas Valanciunas C, Lietuvos Rytas
You gotta love the aggression in the paint by Lietuvos Rytas’ center, but there’s still one pernicious bugaboo for this Lithuanian: Fouls. While Valanciunas is a machine on the offensive glass, he’s also (still) more than a bit of a hacker. Can he clean up his game in the paint? Can he shoot a 12-foot jumper? What would be the reaction to his, let’s say, physical game in the NBA? Answers: Possibly, not yet, and whoo boy one can only imagine.
Jan Vesely F, Partizan
Vesely’s development has been impressive enough in 2010-11 to earn him FIBA Europe’s “Rising Star” award, a believable accolade for him – seriously, over 65% on twos? Scary to think how good he might have been, had Dusko Vujosevic stayed coaching Partizan this season. Vesely will once again be projected as a top 10 pick and why not? This is one talented player in the Nowitzki mold.