Vit Krejci Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Vit Krejci is currently the 16th-ranked prospect with European ties born in 2000[1].

In his first full year as a pro this past season, the six-foot-eight shooter logged 339 minutes in 37 appearances with Zaragoza, which played the Spanish ACB, the Basketball Champions League and earned a berth in the Spanish Copa Del Rey thanks to a good campaign through the first half of the season.

He has accumulated 878 minutes in FIBA youth competitions with the Czech Republic National Team over the last five years, showing some potential as a shot creator against a set defense against his age group, assisting on 25.8% of his team’s scores when he was on the floor at the 2019 U20 European Championship Division B[2], where the Czech National Team placed second.

Among the pros, the 20-year-old[3] logged just 15.8% usage rate as a floor-spacer in more of a minutes-eater role in the lower end of the rotation but earned his average of 13.8 points per 40 minutes via 62.5% true shooting[4], which is tied for the fourth-best mark among perimeter players on ESPN’s top 100.

He’s tricky to fit on the other end, though.

Listed at 167 pounds, which is quite skinny in the context of his six-foot-eight height, Krejci hasn’t yet developed the frame to matchup against wings. The Strakonice native has shown some promise against smaller players, especially in pick-and-roll defense, but it’s unclear if he can hold his own against speedy north-and-south types in isolation.

He puts in the effort to execute the scheme as a help defender and, given his quickness, there is some promise there, but for now Krejci stands out more for his excessive fouling rather than anything else.

He’s currently ranked 84th on ESPN’s top 100, at the time of writing, and seems like the classic example of an early entrant who ends up pulling his name off the draft at the deadline, but this year is weird.

SHOOTING

  • Stays read to shoot
    • Does shot preparation in a way that is noteworthy
  • Shooting approach looks quite solid
    • Catches it on the hop
    • Slight dip for rhythm
    • Quick weight transfer
    • Gets a good deal of elevation for someone his height
    • Fully extends himself for a high release

  • Hit 34.2% of his 35 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 4.1 such attempts per 40 minutes
    • Took 42.2% of his live-ball attempts from three-point range
    • Missed 11 of his 24 foul shots
  • Hit 38.8% of his 134 three-point shots in 37 appearances with the Czech National Team in FIBA youth competitions, at a pace of 6.1 such attempts per 40 minutes
    • Took 42% of his live-ball attempts from three-point range
    • Hit 62.4% of his 109 foul shots

SHOT CREATION

  • Flashes some astuteness passing ahead to speed up the pace of the game
  • Shows glimpses of good dexterity operating off a live dribble on double-screen pick-and-rolls off a dribble-handoff
    • Impressed with his flexibility delivering a two-handed pass against the momentum of his body to the roll man
  • Fairly resourceful creating separation to pull-up
    • Left-to-right crossover into fadeaway jumper in isolation
    • Side-step three-pointer in pick-and-roll
  • Adept passer on kickouts off a straight-line drive
    • Off drawing two to the ball
    • Engaging the last line of defense with his gather steps and then dropping-off to the dunker spot
  • Capable ballhandler in middle high pick-and-roll against a set defense but nothing all that special
    • Shows good feel for using or declining picks at the point of attack
    • Flashes savviness circling back to use the re-screen
    • Has a quick first step
    • Can attack either side of the pick with good balance
    • Looks to turn the corner decisively
    • Has long strides in a straight line
  • Decent passer out of the pick-and-roll
    • Can hit the weakside corner over the top
    • Launches no-look feeds to the roll man over the top
    • Assisted on 12% of Zaragoza’s scores when he was on the floor last season, with a 1.19 assist-to-turnover ratio

FINISHING

  • Hasn’t yet developed the explosiveness to go up with power off one foot in traffic regularly but has shown he has the lift, constantly acting as a rim-level finisher
  • Can adjust his body in the air
  • Has flashed a right-handed underhanded finish, though not much more than basic speed layups
  • Touch on runner leaves something to be desired
  • Shot 70.8% on 48 two-point attempts last season
  • Hasn’t yet developed the knack for drawing contact and earn shooting fouls in volume
    • Averaged just 2.8 free throws per 40 minutes last season
    • His 28.9% free throw rate is one of the 25 lowest marks on ESPN’s top 100

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSE

  • Inconsistent with his stance; at times bending his knees to get down in a proper stance, at others approaching the ballhandler in more a hunched down posture
  • Negotiates picks at the point of attack fairly well
    • Works to get skinny cleanly when he goes over
    • Shows good quickness going under and beating the ballhandler to the other side
  • Hustles in pursuit to bother the ballhandler from behind and manages to stay within range of being able to make a play on the ball
  • Matched up with smaller players a fair amount in lineups where he triggered offense
    • Prone to getting blown by speedier types
    • Slides laterally to stay in front of less threatening guards
    • Plays with active hands trying to poke the ball
    • Does not play with enough physicality to be able to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact
  • Generally matched up against wings
    • Showed some side-to-side quickness against shiftier wings
    • Lacks the physicality to hold his ground
  • Crossmatched onto bigger players in transition
    • Not averse to try bodying up the big man in the post but defends with a higher center of gravity, unable to offer any real resistance if the big man legitimately forces the issue
  • Puts in the hustle to chase shooters around the floor
    • Borderline anorexic 167-pound frame helps in these instances, as he’s able to negotiate screens cleanly

TEAM DEFENSE

  • Plays fast in off-ball defense
    • At times too fast
  • Has good energy in help defense
    • Helps the helper
    • Pretty active rotating to the area near the rim to challenge shots via verticality
    • Not yet a real threat to contribute to the rim protection process by blocking shots – blocked just four shots in 339 minutes last season
    • Fouls like crazy – averaged 6.7 personal fouls per 40 minutes
  • Averaged just 1.2 steals per 40 minutes
  • Attentive to his responsibilities switching on the fly against double-screen pick-and-rolls
    • Impressed with his hustle rushing to the arc to contest a pull-up
  • Hustle on closeouts stands out, though more in order to contest within the shooter’s personal space rather than running the shooter off the line regularly
  • Unimpressive rebounder, both in terms of joining scrums to boxout bigger players and flying after the ball off the rim
    • Collected just 11.2% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor

[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to RealGM

[3] DOB: JUN/10/2000

[4] According to RealGM

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Carlos Alocén Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Carlos Alocén is the third-ranked prospect with European ties born in 2000[1].

Developed on Zaragoza’s junior ranks through his late-teens, the six-foot-five lead guard scored a transfer to Real Madrid in 2019 by establishing himself as a rotation player on a team that won 18 of its 34 games in the 2018-2019 Spanish ACB, and earning All-Tournament honors at the 2019 U20 European Championship, where Spain placed second to hosts Israel.

He stayed on loan for another year and took yet another step further – logging 960 minutes in 45 appearances[2], as Zaragoza played the Spanish ACB, the Basketball Champions League and earned a berth in the Spanish Copa Del Rey thanks to a good campaign through the first half of the season.

The 19-year-old[3] averaged just 13.1 points per 40 minutes on 51.4% true shooting last season but assisted on 26.2% of Zaragoza’s scores when he was on the floor, exceling as a shot creator for others out of the pick-and-roll, with his 2.0 pure point ratio ranking third among those on ESPN’s way-too-early 2021 mock draft (where he ranked 49th) who played above the high school level this past campaign.

On the other end, Alocén is adequate but no difference maker. He negotiates screens well in the pick-and-roll but doesn’t stand out much in terms of contests. He slides and competes in isolation but doesn’t quite profile as a stopper against the speedier types. He executes the scheme away from the ball but doesn’t fly around to create events.

PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE

  • Plays with some flair
  • Very crafty looking to manipulate the on-ball defender while using the aid of the screen
    • Uses in-and-out dribbles to draw his man into the pick
    • Plays with pace to put his man in jail
    • Has a good feel for using or declining picks
    • Can attack either side of the pick, at times looking more comfortable handling with his left hand
    • Has shown a knack for using cross-screens and re-screens smartly
  • Pretty decisive looking to turn the corner when forced to the side
    • Good speed with the ball on a straight line
    • Prone to driving into a crowd at times
    • Averaged 3.6 turnovers per 40 minutes last season, turning the ball over on 21.9% of his possessions
  • Primarily looks to pass off dribble penetration
  • Has shown a good deal of versatility to his passing in pick-and-roll, proving himself capable of activating the weakside off a jump-stop, but tends to deliver to the roll man around the foul line rather than near the rim
    • Properly engages the big man before hitting the roll man
    • Pocket pass
    • Jump-pass to opposite corner
    • Left-handed shovel pass from under the rim to the corner
    • Left-handed wraparound pass to the big on a slower roll
    • Assisted on 26.2% of Zaragoza’s scores when he was on the floor last season, with a 1.84 assist-to-turnover ratio
  • Doesn’t put much pressure on the rim
    • Mixes in a hesitation move to get by the big man approaching him when he does try to make it all the way to the basket
    • Earned just 2.4 foul shots per 40 minutes last season
  • Not an explosive finisher in traffic, more commonly acting as a below the rim finisher in a crowd, but has shown glimpses of resourceful finishing
    • Can go to a pretty fluid euro-step to maneuver his way around a help defender stepping up between him and the rim
    • Tends to avoid going to his left hand when challenged by a rim protector, preferring to launch awkward off-balance right-handed finishes instead
    • Flashed some flexibility to adjust his body in the air but doesn’t yet complete acrobatic finishes on the regular
    • Hasn’t yet developed the strength to be able to finish through contact
    • Has a right-handed finger-roll to finish over length from the in-between area
    • Shot 55% on 151 two-point shots last season
  • Capable shot maker, though not yet a threat to burn the opponent from going under the pick all the time
  • Very crafty creating separation to pull-up out of the pick-and-roll
    • Step-back pull-up three-pointer
    • Between the legs into pull-up
    • Dribble-in three-pointer hiding behind the pick
    • Adept at getting to his spots for a foul line jumper
  • Not yet necessarily a killer against the switch but has shown some promise as a quality shot creator on a mismatch, not just someone who will just look to create separation for a weak pull-up
    • Can head fake into a quick first step
    • Employs stop-and-start moves
    • Flashed some shiftiness
    • Struggles to maintain his balance through contact

SPOT-UP SHOOTING

  • Pretty comfortable pulling the trigger aggressively on spot-ups, but the ball didn’t go in much last season
    • Hit just 28.5% of his 130 three-point shots this past year, at a pace of 5.4 such attempts per 40 minutes
    • Missed one third of his 58 foul shots
    • Hit 40% of his 75 three-point shots the year before, at a pace of 5.1 such attempts per 40 minutes
  • Overall shooting approach looks promising
    • Catches it on the hop
    • Dips for rhythm
    • Goes through compact mechanics with a low release from the side
    • Gets a good deal of elevation to be able to get his shot off over closeouts
    • Has shown a quick release with his feet set
    • Guide-hand discipline could use some work
  • Entirely an open-shot shooter for now, only showing potential on the move on the occasion corner three-pointer off a kickout-and-relocate

DEFENSE

  • Inconsistent with his stance; at times bending his knees to get down in a proper stance, at others approaching the ballhandler in more a hunched down posture
  • Puts in noteworthy effort on ball denial but hasn’t stood out as having a knack for disrupting handoffs
  • Negotiates picks at the point of attack pretty well
    • Ices ball-screens on the side of the floor
    • Works to get skinny cleanly when he goes over
    • Shows good quickness going under and beating the ballhandler to the other side
  • Not particularly impressive hustling in pursuit to make plays from behind when he goes over the screen in the pick-and-roll
    • Puts in the effort to chase but isn’t super quick, entirely dependent on the big man being able to stop the ball for him to be able to recover and make any sort of an impact
  • Picked up bigger players on switches in the pick-and-roll from time-to-time
    • Puts in the effort to body up the big man in the post but offers little resistance in post defense
    • Not tenacious enough to front the post or make it challenging to complete the post entry
    • Attentive to his responsibilities boxing out the big man on the switch and can do a good job if the big man half-asses the fight for the rebound but lacks the physicality to be expected to do well if the big man decides to push him out of the way
  • Prone to getting blown by the quickest north-and-south types in isolation
  • Has some side-to-side quickness to stay in front of less threatening guards and plays with some physicality, chesting up to contain dribble penetration through contact with his 185-pound frame[4]
  • Makes a little bit of an impact in the hidden areas of the game while executing the scheme away from the ball but lacks the athletic ability and the tenacity to fly around and create events
    • Helps the helper
    • Clogs driving lanes by standing in the way
    • Guards with his arms up near the rim
    • Averaged just 1.2 steals per 40 minutes last season
    • Blocked just three shots in 960 minutes in the Spanish ACB, the Spanish Copa Del Rey and the Basketball Champions League
  • Pretty ineffective with his closeouts
    • Hasn’t shown the speed needed to run the shooter off the line regularly
    • Hasn’t yet shown a knack for contesting within the shooter’s personal space
  • Doesn’t join scrums to help boxout bigger players and is only average chasing the ball off the rim himself but is attentive to his responsibility boxing out his own man
    • Collected just 12.9% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season

[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to RealGM

[3] DOB: DEC/30/2000

[4] According to Real Madrid

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Usman Garuba Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Usman Garuba is the top-ranked prospect in Europe born in 2002[1].

In his first full year as a pro, the six-foot-eight combo big logged 569 minutes with Real Madrid in the Spanish ACB and the Euroleague last season. No other prospect on ESPN’s way-too-early 2021 mock draft (where he ranked eighth) played as much against a higher level of competition.

His role was pretty small, as you’d expect from an 18-year-old[2] on a team expected to win every single game – averaging 15.0 minutes per game and 14.5% usage rate[3]. But Garuba earned his playing time because, besides being able to belong in the pros from a physical-standpoint with his 229-pound frame[4], he proved himself trustworthy to execute the scheme and an asset to unlock unorthodox lineups.

The Madrid native profiles as more of a center because he’s at his most threatening to score near the rim but Real Madrid most commonly played him with another center on the floor and he was often seen spacing out to accommodate others. Garuba didn’t shoot enough or well enough to look like a fit in that setup.

But the arrangement looked pretty good on the other end, where Pablo Laso really stretched his versatility, with the teenager asked to pick up smaller players on switches in the pick-and-roll and even chase wings through screens on three-center lineups, besides executing conventional coverage when he did play center.

HELP DEFENSE

  • Played a majority of his minutes with Walter Tavares, Trey Thompkins or Salah Mejri at center, and sometimes even with two of those three or Jordan Mickey out there with him, so for the most part he played a role as a weakside defender
  • Active clogging driving lanes, looking to swipe the ball from the side, as well as stepping in to block a shot from the side
  • Attentive to his responsibilities rotating to help crowd the area near the rim and stepping up the front of the rim as the last line of defense when he is the lowest man to the baseline
    • Quick leaper off two feet to challenge shots via verticality
    • Averaged 1.8 blocks per 40 minutes last season
    • Averaged 4.5 personal fouls per 40 minutes
  • Impressed with his quickness on stunt-and-recover’s, proving himself capable of running more hesitant shooters off the line while staying balanced enough to defend off the bounce
    • Not quick enough to stay in front and chest up to contain dribble penetration through contact but manages to stay attached
    • Prone to biting on shot fakes

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSE

  • Did well against stretch big men and stiffer wings in isolation
    • Bends his knees to get down in a stance
    • Plays with active hands, looking to poke the ball or reach around for a strip – averaged 1.6 steals per 40 minutes
    • Good side-to-side quickness to stay in front of upright types
    • Well-developed lower body strength in his 229-pound frame for someone his age – can chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact
    • Quick enough off the ground to block a shot while defending on the ball against lumbering types
  • Promising post defender
    • Puts in the effort to try pushing softer types out of deep position
    • Gets his length into entry passes
    • Vulnerable to getting beat by a quick turnaround move
  • Was asked to defend wings running through screens on occasion and surprised with his nimbleness
    • Really hustles to chase shooters around the floor
    • Showed noteworthy tenacity getting around poorly set screens
    • Quick enough off the ground and lengthy enough to block a shot
    • Might be too big to be asked to negotiate well set screens

PICK-AND-ROLL DEFENSE

  • Was asked to pick up smaller players on switches from time-to-time
    • Prone to biting on shot fakes, leaving his feet and getting blown by
    • Recovers quickly but prone to getting turned around defending out in space
    • Can stay attached to north-and-south types on a straight line
    • Unclear how dependable he is against shifter types who can really shake him side-to-side
  • Was paired with Anthony Randolph in the second quarter of the game against Barcelona in the Supercopa final last weekend, which shifted him to center; dropped back in conventional pick-and-roll coverage during that stretch
    • Nimble enough to extend coverage above the foul line
    • Pretty fluid sliding laterally and backpedaling to stop the ball while dropping back
    • Flashed noteworthy quickness and hustle on multiple effort plays where he defended a pick-and-roll, lost the roll man on the pocket pass but recovered in a split-second to help the helper when the roll man dropped-off out of a short roll

REBOUNDING

  • So-so attention to his boxout responsibilities, at times acting more like a pogo-stick rebounder, at others putting a body on whoever is close by and trying to do so with some physicality
  • Has pretty good quickness chasing the ball off the rim
    • Collected 22.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season
  • Impact player on the offensive glass
    • Rumored to have a seven-foot-two wingspan to rebound outside of his area
    • Haven’t stood out in terms of being able to set inside position in the pros but quick and instinctual chasing the ball off the rim
    • Collected 12.4% of Real Madrid’s misses when he was on the floor last season

PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE

  • Hasn’t yet exceled as a screener in the pros
    • Widens his stance to increase his screening area but hasn’t really shown the arsenal of advanced techniques he did in the junior ranks
  • So-so hands catching the ball on the move
  • Needs to load up to go up off two feet in traffic
  • Good scorer on non-dunk finishes
    • Up-and-down leaper
    • Good touch
    • Employed a power move to dislodge the opponent and create separation to go up under the rim
    • Shot 64% on 96 two-point attempts last season
  • Capable passer out of the short roll but doesn’t yet profile as a connective tissue who can be relied on to create for others on the move
    • Assisted on 5.2% of Real Madrid’s scores when he was on the floor last season

SHOOTING

  • Given the fact he was often paired up with another center, was asked to space out to the three-point line quite a bit, not just the corner, but the wing as well, though he didn’t pull the trigger aggressively
    • Just 16.5% three-point rate
  • Overall approach looks quite projectable on open spot-ups
    • Elevates off 1-2 footwork
    • Gets little elevation off the ground
    • Has worked on not needing to dip for rhythm
    • Has some weight transfer built into his process
    • Goes through compact mechanics with a low release out in front
    • Touch is a bit suspect
  • Hit 31.6% of his 19 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 1.3 such attempts per 40 minutes
    • Hit just 53.3% of his 45 free throws

DRIVING

  • Adept at head-faking into putting the ball on the floor but not really a threat to do much on a drive
    • So-so coordination
    • Loose handle
    • Can’t maintain his balance through contact – turned it over on 22.9% of his possessions
    • Can deliver a drop-off but doesn’t yet profile as a playmaker who can be relied on to create for others off the dribble
  • Showed some ambition to develop into someone comfortable to grab-and-go off a defensive rebound in garbage time
    • Can run a break and hit a shooter if left unimpeded through the length of the court
    • Generally iffy coordination bringing the ball up

POST OFFENSE

  • Took smaller players to the post on switches
    • Hasn’t yet been able to shown the deep arsenal of moves he did in the junior ranks
    • Can’t employ power moves in the pros yet, unable to maintain his balance through contact
    • Most often looked for a quick turnaround move into a two-foot leap with power at the rim
    • Doesn’t yet profile as a post-up-to-pass option who can be relied on to create for others operating with his back to the basket

[1] According to ID Prospects

[2] DOB: MAR/9/2002

[3] According to RealGM

[4] According to Real Madrid

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Mario Nakic Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Mario Nakic is currently the 14th-ranked prospect with European ties born in 2001[1].

In his first full season as a pro this past year, the six-foot-seven wing logged just 94 minutes with Real Madrid[2], with the vast majority of his 12 appearances taking place in garbage time.

It’s, of course, extremely difficult to crack Real Madrid’s rotation. For the most part, this is still the same group that entered the season having won two of the previous five Euroleague titles and four of the previous five Spanish ACB championships.

That said, there were quite a few times where Pablo Laso opted to play three-center lineups during some of the games Gabriel Deck missed. Developing new group combinations and trying something out of the box to try seeing through on an expensive signing who just isn’t working in his conventional role (Jordan Mickey) take priority over integrating a prospect but it also signaled to the 19-year-old[3] that a path to the rotation just wasn’t under consideration in Laso’s mind.

Nakic opted to leave Madrid this offseason and signed with Oostende, for whom he’ll compete in the Belgium Scoorne League and the FIBA Basketball Champions League, where he’s expected to be handed a clearer path to playing time.

Former teammate Amar Sylla took this same route a year ago and, though the perception of the Senegalese big man has declined due to poor play and injury, he logged 658 minutes in 31 appearances last season, so the expectation is that Nakic will see a similar uptick in opportunity with the move.

Based on his prolificacy in the junior ranks, previously profiled here, the Belgrade native enters the season ranked 49th on ESPN’s way-too-early 2021 mock draft.

SHOOTING

  • Played primarily off the ball, even with the overwhelming majority of his minutes coming in garbage time
  • Really improved his release, to the point where he now looks like a legit threat on open shots, though it’s tough to confirm it due to low volume of attempts last season
    • Elevates off 1-2 footwork
    • Little weight transfer built into his approach
    • Slight dip for rhythm
    • Elevated the launch point in his release; fully extends himself now, when before he used to release it low out in front
    • Trigger seems noticeably quicker, though overall process didn’t hold up as well when he was rushed

  • Took some shots on the move, in terms of springing to a spot in transition and side-stepping into his shot off an escape dribble, but wasn’t given the chance to show if he’s able to work through screens or launch quick bombs off dribble-hands at this point
  • Nailed six of his 12 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 5.1 such attempts per 40 minutes
    • His 42.9% three-point rate was a top 10 mark among those on ESPN’s top 60 who played above the high school level last season

DRIVING

  • Really only attacked out of triple threat position or on side pick-and-rolls within the flow of the offense
  • Showed glimpses of a quick first step but for the most part struggled to create separation in isolation
    • Didn’t show anything in terms of dribble moves and side-to-side shake to try getting by his man on craft, often seen getting stuck driving into the defender’s chest
  • Impressed with his body control, in terms of euro-stepping his way through traffic and managing his pace to avoid crashing into a help defender stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense
  • Hasn’t yet developed explosiveness elevating off one foot in traffic, most often acting as a below the rim finisher
    • Up-and-down leaper who really only flashed a right-handed push shot as his most impressive advanced finish in the half-court
    • Missed 10 of his 16 two-point shots last season
    • Knack for seeking contact previously shown at the junior level didn’t translate in his first year as a pro, as he earned just four foul shots in 94 minutes
  • Seemed more capable to do some meaningful off the bounce as a shot creator for others, flashing a hook pass to the opposite corner off a live dribble in pick-and-roll and a nifty move euro-stepping into a drop-off, though those were few and far between
    • Five assists in 94 minutes
    • 11 turnovers in 12 appearances

WEAKSIDE DEFENSE

  • Showed to be attentive to his responsibilities rotating to the rim, not just to help crowd the area near the basket or to tag the roll man but to try making a play on the ball, though the events weren’t really there in his first year
    • Leaves his feet to bat away lobs and challenge shots
    • Not really a threat to come up with steals in volume or block a shot in help defense (his two blocks were on a pull-up and in a post-up)
    • Hasn’t yet developed the discipline to challenge shots via verticality, more likely to pick up a foul contesting near the goal – averaged 3.0 personal fouls per 40 minutes)
  • Prone to overhelp and lose his man drifting to the corner
  • Flashed some pretty good quickness on stunt-and-recover’s
  • Impressed with his body control on closeouts, proving himself capable of running more hesitant shooters off the line and staying balanced to defend off the bounce

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSE

  • Bends his knees to get down into a soft stance
  • Decent isolation defender against similar-sized players
    • Showed some side-to-side quickness to stay in front
    • Hasn’t yet developed the physicality to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact
    • Defends with his arms up to wall up near the basket
  • So-so pick-and-roll defender
    • Works to go over a pick but can’t get skinny cleanly
    • Hustles in pursuit but depends on his big man being able to stop the ball in order for him to have a real shot at making a play from the side or from behind
    • Can block a pull-up from the side, if the ballhandler is held up above the foul line
  • Not suited to chase shooters around the floor
    • Puts in the effort in pursuit but struggles to negotiate multiple picks in sequence
  • Showed glimpses of tenacious post defense against other wings
    • Tries to front the post to deny an easy entry pass
    • Held his ground reasonably well
  • Hasn’t stood out in the rebounding process, in terms of joining scrums to boxout bigger players or chasing the ball off the rim, but is attentive to his responsibilities boxing out his own man

[1] According to ID Prospects

[2] According to RealGM

[3] DOB: JUN/14/2001

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Boris Tisma Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Boris Tisma is currently the 10th-ranked prospect with European ties born in 2002[1].

The six-foot-eight wing spent last season with Real Madrid’s U18 squad, which competed in the Spanish Liga EBA (Spanish fourth division) and the Munich round of the 2019-2020 Adidas Next Generation Tournament. He didn’t participate in Germany but established himself as the go-to guy in that roster against pro competition, with his 195 shots standing as the highest mark on the team[2].

The lefty averaged 21.2 points per 40 minutes in the Spanish fourth division, often operating as a second side option who took 46.7% of his live-ball attempts from three-point range but also had some opportunities to isolate, post up and run pick-and-roll against a set defense.

Previously, the 18-year-old[3] had been outshined by more highly touted prospects on Real Madrid’s pipeline, like Luka Doncic, Usman Garuba and Mario Nakic.

As was the case, his most prominent moment to date was being named to All-Tournament team at the 2018 U16 European Championship, where he averaged 22.4 points per 40 minutes[4] and helped Croatia win the title. But even then, he was outshined by teammate Roko Prkacin, who won MVP honors.

The efficiency wasn’t quite there against fourth division competition (36% shooting on 19.8 field goal attempts per 40 minutes) and neither was the defensive impact, as the Zagreb native is neither an ace defender on the ball, nor an asset flying around to create events in help defense.

Nonetheless, given his time in the program, Pablo Laso rewarded him with a 44-second debut with Real Madrid’s senior team during a 15-point win against Estudiantes in the Spanish ACB in January.

He’ll be carried with the senior roster this upcoming season but considering all the stalwarts on the wing (Jeffery Taylor, Gabriel Deck, Jayce Carroll, Rudy Fernandez and Fabien Causer) have all been retained for another season, and Real Madrid even added Alberto Abalde to boot, Tisma is likely to end up filling the spot vacated by Nakic at the end of the bench.

SHOOTING

  • Overall approach looks projectable but needs to refine mechanics to develop into a legit shooter rather than just a volume shot taker
    • Elevates off 1-2 footwork
    • Pretty good weight transfer built into his process
    • Compact mechanics with a low release out in front
    • Doesn’t have a terribly slow release but needs time and space to load up his shot due to a pronounced dip for rhythm
    • Struggles with guide-hand discipline, which tends to spray out on the follow-through
    • Gets a great arc on his best attempts
    • Tends to miss to the side
  • Has shown the footwork and the quickness to establish a shooting base needed to take shots on the move, though he needs time to load up his shot and the ball doesn’t go in much in these more challenging attempts
    • Off staggered screens
    • Off dribble-handoffs
    • Off roll-and-replace
  • Nailed just 29% of his 91 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 9.2 such attempts per 40 minutes
    • Hit 76% of his 54 free throws
  • Nailed 43.2% of his 37 three-point shots at the 2018 U16 Euro
  • Good dexterity to shot-fake into a side-step three-pointer against a flyby closeout
    • Flashed some savviness drawing shooting fouls on that escape dribble as well

POST OFFENSE

  • Regularly had plays called for him to take his man into the post, often receiving a cross-screen in order to get a deep seal
  • Has shown light feet operating with his back to the basket
  • Hasn’t yet developed a deep arsenal of post moves or finishes but is not limited to a basic turnaround fadeaway jumper either
    • Has shown a right-handed hook with decent touch
    • Employs shot fakes to try baiting the rim protector out of the way or drawing a shooting foul
    • Looked at his most comfortable facing up and jab-stepping into a no-dribble jumper
    • Even went to a power move trying to bully a weaker defender at one point to create separation for a right-handed push shot
  • Can’t really be relied on to create for others in volume at this point of his development but showed glimpses of intuitive passing out of the post

ISOLATION OFFENSE

  • Adept at grabbing-and-going off a defensive rebound but mostly to take it end-to-end or run a break, having not shown much dexterity at triggering offense in the half-court
    • Willing passer on the break but doesn’t engage the last line of defense properly before dropping off
  • Has a quick first step out of triple threat position but not particularly impressive speed on a straight-line, mixing in a spin move to gain ground
  • Hasn’t yet developed much in terms of handle, dribble moves or side-to-side shake to get by man his man in isolation
  • So-so at playing through contact
    • Often managed to maintain his momentum forward through contact against fourth division competition but tended to lose his balance a fair amount as well
    • Not averse to seeking contact but also prone to getting stuck driving into the defender’s chest
    • Averaged 2.9 turnovers per 40 minutes last season
  • Hasn’t yet developed enough strength and explosiveness to go up with power through contact
  • Most often looks to gallop into a two-foot leap in a crowd
  • Up-and-down leaper who has shown a little bit of versatility to his finishing
    • Good touch on left-handed underhanded finishes
    • Left-handed scoop
    • Comfortable going to his right hand at the rim
    • Not adept at finishing through contact
  • Showed glimpses of a decent-looking off-balance runner to finish over length from the in-between area
  • Shot 43% on 109 two-pointers last season

PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE

  • More capable of running side pick-and-rolls within the flow of the offense but had some chances to run a middle high pick-and-roll against a set defense as well
  • Employs behind the back moves to change directions and create separation to pull-up
    • Good footwork on step-back pull-up
    • Smart use of off arm to create separation
    • Low release off the bounce
  • Can deliver a pocket pass to the foul line area in rhythm and flashed a jump-pass to the opposite corner but hasn’t yet shown much in terms of handle, playing with pace or making more advanced reads to create the most valuable types of shots at the rim or from the corner
    • Averaged just 1.6 assists per 40 minutes last season
  • Has shown a loose handle in traffic and hasn’t shown much in terms of change of pace or court vision to account for the help shrinking the floor

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSE

  • Bends his knees a little but mostly gets into a soft stance
  • Has shown some side-to-side quickness to stay attached to stiffer wings but lacks the strength and doesn’t play with enough physicality to contain dribble penetration through
  • Upper-body strength still seems underdeveloped for someone his height, but Real Madrid currently lists him at 200 pounds[5], suggesting he bulked up during the offseason
    • Has broad shoulders that suggest he can add even more bulk to his strength as he gets into his mid-20’s
    • Might develop into a team’s best option to check the opponent’s biggest wing, if the physicality develops as well
  • Crossmatched onto smaller players on occasion
    • Can stay attached to more north-and-south types in short areas but gets beat out in space
    • Unclear if he’s a good option to check shiftier types who can shake him side-to-side
  • Unable to get skinny over a screen at the point of attack and doesn’t have the sort of quickness to be asked to hustle in pursuit to make plays from behind
  • Face-guarded his man coming to the top for a potential handoff
    • Prone to overplaying said handoff and getting burned backdoor
  • Not suited to chase shooters around the floor
    • Prone to crashing into the pindown screen
  • Flashed some good position defense to stop the ball sliding laterally and dropping back when put in the pick-and-roll as the screener’s defender

HELP DEFENSE

  • Executes stunts but not very adept at getting his length into driving lanes and making plays on the ball from the side
    • Had just 10 steals in 394 minutes last season
  • Attentive to his responsibilities rotating in to pick up the roll man but mostly to tag him, having not shown much dexterity or tenacity to act as a regular threat to bat away lobs, deflect pocket passes or block shots
    • Prone to biting on shot fakes at the rim
    • Had just four blocks in 15 appearances last season
  • Iffy closeouts, for the most part
    • Has shown decent hustle but doesn’t get into the shooter’s personal space, so rarely contests effectively
    • Doesn’t have the quickness to run the shooter off his shot regularly
  • Fairly soft with his boxouts but pitches on the glass with his reach, either collecting the ball at higher point than the competition or just tapping to a teammate close by
    • Averaged 5.4 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes

[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to the Spanish federation’s website

[3] DOB: FEB/20/2002

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Real Madrid’s official website

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Matteo Spagnolo Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Matteo Spagnolo is currently the eighth-ranked prospect with European ties born in 2003[1].

This past season was quite the eventful one for the six-foot-four combo guard.

In the European summer, he led the Italian National Team to a third-place finish at the 2019 U16 European Championship, where his average of 22.2 points per 40 minutes was the sixth-best mark among qualified players[2].

In his second year with Real Madrid, having arrived from Stella Azzurra in 2018, the 17-year-old[3] ran the offense as the U18 squad competed in the Spanish Liga EBA (Spanish fourth division), leading the team in total minutes and total assists, while ranking second in total scoring[4].

Real Madrid won 17 of its 23 games and was a couple of games behind first-place Alcobendas, which earned promotion to the Spanish LEB Plata (Spanish third division) because the league ended up not returning for a sprint to the finish after the pandemic break.

The U18 squad also participated in the Munich round of the 2019-2020 Adidas Next Generation Tournament last January but in that setting, Spagnolo adapted to a smaller role, playing more off-ball to accommodate Juan Nuñez, who emerged as the driving force that weekend and earned MVP honors, as Real Madrid cruised to a first-place finish and looked like the favorites to repeat as champions in the final round in Cologne, had the pandemic not caused the cancelation of the event.

Nonetheless, his form with the Italian U16 squad the previous summer and against fourth division competition in Madrid got him selected to the senior roster the Italian National Team sent to participate in the first couple of games of the Eurobasket qualifiers in February, when he logged 15 minutes across two appearances against Estonia and Russia.

To reward a strong season, Pablo Laso subbed him in for a 36-second debut with Real Madrid’s senior team during a blowout win against Zaragoza in the Spanish ACB in March.

PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE

  • Crafty operating around the pick
    • Good feel for circling back to use the re-screen
    • Splits double teams at the point of attack
    • Showed flashes of playing with pace while waiting for slower-developing driving lanes to materialize
    • Looks for drag-screens in transition
    • Employs in-and-out dribbles to manipulate his man into the pick
    • Good instincts to use or decline the pick
    • Handle generally withstood pressure against hard hedges and blitzes
  • Not a genius passer who anticipates passing lanes a split-second before they come open but has shown a good deal of versatility to his passing in pick-and-roll
    • Basic deliver to the roll man over the top
    • Jump-pass to opposite wing off a live dribble
    • Assisted on 19.5% of Real Madrid’s scores when he was on the floor at the ANGT
    • Averaged 4.2 assists per 40 minutes in the Liga EBA
  • Not very decisive looking to turn the corner and put pressure on the rim
    • Prone to picking up his dribble before he should
  • Sure handed, for the most part
    • Averaged just 2.0 turnovers per 40 minutes in 17 appearances against fourth division competition
  • Most often looks for separation to pull-up off the bounce and has shown a knack for getting to his spots in mid-range
    • Rises in good balance on stop-and-pop pull-ups from the elbow
  • Capable of taking the occasional pull-up three-pointer if the opponent goes under or gets completely stuck on the pick but doesn’t hunt for these shots often and hasn’t yet developed into a legit threat to make them on the regular

ISOLATION OFFENSE

  • Not very adept at playing through contact in isolation against wings, but looks to power through against smaller guards
  • Speed doesn’t stand out much against pure perimeter players but capable of blowing by bigger players on switches
  • Not quite shifty but employs hesitation moves and change of directions by going behind the back or mixing in a spin move to gain ground
    • Flashed a floater off a spin move
  • Quick first step out of triple threat position and fast with the ball on a straight line
    • Tucks the ball to protect it in traffic
  • Not an explosive leaper off one foot in traffic but flashed some flexibility to adjust his body mid-air around rim protectors and comfort going to his left hand at the rim
    • Not adept at finishing through contact regularly
    • Has a runner to finish over length from the in-between area
    • Shot 52% on 138 two-point attempts against fourth division competition
    • His 31 two-point makes in seven appearances was a top 10 mark at the 2019 U16 Euro
  • Not averse at drawing contact near the goal
    • Averaged 4.9 fouls drawn per 40 minutes in the Liga EBA
    • Averaged 5.1 foul shots per 40 minutes in the Liga EBA
    • Averaged 8.0 foul shots per 40 minutes in the 2019 U16 Euro
  • Showed glimpses of good suddenness with a pull-back move to create separation for a pull-up
  • Good passer against a scrambling defense
    • Properly engages the last line of defense before dropping off
    • Spots cutters on the move

POST OFFENSE

  • Looks to take smaller/weaker guards to the post quite a bit when playing against his age group
  • Pretty comfortable operating with his back to the basket, with a fairly patient approach
  • Adept at creating separation for turnaround fadeaway jumpers off a hiked leg over the defender’s right shoulder
  • Mixes in some power moves as well, before launching a right-handed hook

SHOOTING

  • Capable open-shot shooter on spot-ups who hasn’t yet shown much versatility to his release
  • Nailed 36% of his 70 three-point shots in the Liga EBA, at a pace of 5.7 such attempts per 40 minutes and a 33.6% three-point rate
    • Hit 85% of his 62 free throws

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSE

  • Bends his knees to get down in a proper stance
  • So-so pick-and-roll defender
    • Works to go over a pick at the point of attack and gets skinny through it reasonably well
    • Hasn’t stood out in terms of tenacity and quickness hustling in pursuit to make plays from behind
  • Not an ace stopper of any kind but puts in good effort in isolation against similar-sized players and some smaller guards as well
    • Slides, competes, and contests pull-ups against stiffer types
    • Can stay attached on a straight-line
    • Has some side-to-side quickness to stay in front of guards
    • Has a reasonably strong 189-pound frame[5] in the context of his height and his age but doesn’t play with enough physicality to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact

HELP DEFENSE

  • Has shown a knack for making plays in the passing lanes, especially via deflections
    • Averaged just 1.3 steals per 40 minutes against fourth division competition but 1.8 steals per 40 minutes at the ANGT and 4.1 steals per 40 minutes at the 2019 U16 Euro
  • Active helping at the rim, not just to help crowd the area near the rim but to challenge shots via verticality
    • Not a threat to block shots on the regular (four blocks in 488 minutes in the Liga EBA)
  • Not particularly quick rushing back to the three-point line but impressed with his body control when he did manage to run a shooter off the line, managing to stay balanced and attached while defending off the bounce
  • Solid contributor to the rebounding process for someone his size, not quite in terms of joining scrums to boxout bigger players but chasing the ball off the rim
    • Collected 21.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor at the 2019 Euro U16
    • Collected 14.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor at the ANGT
    • Averaged 5.2 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes in the Liga EBA

[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to RealGM

[3] DOB: JAN/10/2003

[4] According to Spanish federation’s website

[5] According to Real Madrid’s official website

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Konstantin Kostadinov Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Konstantin Kostadinov is the 28th-ranked prospect with European ties born in 2003[1].

Yet another promising recruit in Real Madrid’s junior ranks, the six-foot-eight combo forward joined the club in 2016 and through his development there, he’s already become a mainstay with the Bulgarian National Team at the junior level – having logged 656 minutes in FIBA youth competitions over the last three years[2].

The 17-year-old[3] spent last season with Real Madrid’s U18 squad, which played the Spanish Liga EBA (Spanish fourth division) and the Munich round of the 2019-2020 Adidas Next Generation Tournament.

Perhaps a bit lost in shuffle due to being surrounded by more prominent teammates Boris Tisma, Matteo Spagnolo, Juan Nuñez and Tristan Vukcevic, Kostadinov usually screened and spaced out on offense, mostly picking up his scoring in the margins; in transition, on cuts and putbacks.

Garbage time played a role in it, but he exceled at manufacturing scoring against his age group in Munich, averaging 25.7 points per 40 minutes. His 60.7% true shooting was a top 10 mark in the event[4].

Among the pros, the opportunities were fewer and far between, as he averaged 14.4 points per 40 minutes on 11.6 field goals attempts per 40 minutes[5].

On the other end, the Burgas native proved capable of executing the scheme and holding up in individual defense. Given his strong frame for someone his age, he might develop into a team’s best option to check the opponent’s biggest wing and maybe steal some time at center, though European teams, especially at the top level, have regressed in terms of rightsizing lineups for specific circumstances.

SHOOTING

  • Launches three-pointers via a catapult release but gets decent elevation for someone his height off 1-2 footwork and fully extends himself for a high release, flashing some impressive guide-hand discipline on the follow through
    • Despite the unorthodox release, shoots an easy ball on his best attempts, when left unbothered
  • Capable open-shot shooter at this point of his development, mainly on spot-ups, having not yet shown much versatility to his release
    • Hit 30% of his 44 three-point shots in the Spanish Liga EBA, at a pace of 3.7 such attempts per 40 minutes
    • Hit 70% of 23 free throws

FINISHING

  • Adept at grabbing-and-going off a defensive rebound to take it end-to-end
    • Not yet adept at triggering offense in the half-court
    • High steps his way through traffic in transition
    • Flashed some explosiveness off one foot when left unimpeded on his way to the rim
  • Has a quick first step out of triple threat position
    • More of a straight-line driver, having not shown much side-to-side shake yet, relying more on his ability to play through contact
  • Can go up with power off one foot in transition but hasn’t shown much lift rising in traffic, acting more as a rim-level finisher in the half-court
  • Not a very advanced finisher at this point of his development but has flashed some resources and a good touch around the basket
    • Can hang in the air but hasn’t yet developed flexibility to complete some of the more acrobatic finishes
    • Employs head fakes to bait the rim protector out of the way
    • Right-handed finger-roll
    • Floater off a standstill from the dunker spot
    • Doesn’t seem very comfortable going to his left hand
    • Shot 61% on 96 two-point attempts in the Liga EBA
    • Hit 20 of his 33 two-pointers at the ANGT
  • Has shown glimpses of advanced screening
    • Slip screen
    • Moving screen
    • Screening with his butt
  • Flashed some versatility to his rolling
    • Rolls into post position every once in a while
    • Rolls hard down the middle on occasion
    • High leaper on the move, without needing to load up to go up

OTHER AREAS OF OFFENSE

  • Promising passer
    • Reliable to make the extra pass around the horn to keep the ball moving
    • Also flashed some quick passing against the momentum of his body on a cut, which suggests he should be explored as an option to act as a connective tissue on short rolls more often
    • Showed glimpses of quick post-to-post passing
  • Turnover prone
    • Turned the ball over on 20.1% of his possessions at the ANGT
    • Averaged 2.2 turnovers per 40 minutes in the Liga EBA
  • Can run a side pick-and-roll within the flow of the offense to keep it moving
    • Can deliver a pocket pass to the foul line area in rhythm
    • Hasn’t yet shown much in terms of handle, playing with pace, creating separation to pull-up or making more advanced reads to create the most valuable types of shots at the rim or from the corner
  • Looks to take smaller/weaker matchups into the post on occasion
    • More often looks for a basic turnaround fadeaway jumper without working his defender much
    • Hasn’t yet developed a patient approach operating with his back to the basket
  • Smart cutter
    • Had a finish on a wheel route cut around a screen at one point – couldn’t dunk but hung in the air to finish on a rim-level layup
  • Legit contributor in the offensive glass
    • Flashed a quick second jump
    • Real threat to sneak in for a few tip-ins
    • Flashed a surprising putback dunk at one point
    • Collected 17.9% of Real Madrid’s misses when he was on the floor at the ANGT

PICK-AND-ROLL DEFENSE

  • Flashed some good position defense to stop the ball sliding laterally and dropping back when put in the pick-and-roll as the screener’s defender
  • Was asked to pick up smaller players on switches from time-to-time
    • Bends his knees to get down in a stance
    • Puts in the effort to move his feet
    • Holds up decently enough
    • Unclear how good an option he is to pick up shiftier types more capable of shaking him side-to-side

HELP DEFENSE

  • Rotates to pick up the roll man
    • Not just to tag but to bat away lobs as well
  • Stunts in to try digging from the side but lacks the length to make plays on the ball on the regular
  • Attentive to his responsibilities switching on the fly to make up for breakdowns against people movement, as well as pre-switching the pick-and-roll to get a teammate out of an unfavorable matchup
  • Shows decent urgency on his closeouts but prone to flying by and getting blown by when he forces the shooter to put the ball on the floor
  • Attentive to his boxout responsibilities but only average in terms of quickness chasing the ball off the rim himself
    • Collected 17.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor at the ANGT
    • Averaged 4.7 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes against fourth division competition
  • Steps up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense when he’s the lowest man to the baseline
    • Not a threat to block shots in volume (had just five blocks in 479 minutes against fourth division competition), most commonly challenging shots via verticality
    • Hasn’t yet shown the quickness needed for multiple effort plays where he forces a drop-off and then turns around to challenge his man at the dunker spot

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSE

  • Bends his knees to get down in a proper stance
  • Can slide laterally a few times in one direction, able to stay in front of similar-sized wings
  • Plays with some physicality to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact
    • Listed with a 200-pound frame[6]
  • Guards with his arms up near the rim to wall up and discourage opponents from attempting to finish over him

[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to RealGM

[3] DOB: MAR/25/2003

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to the Spanish federation’s official website

[6] According to Real Madrid’s official website

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Tristan Vukcevic Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Tristan Vukcevic is the 10th-ranked prospect with European ties born in 2003[1].

A main curiosity regards his nationality, as the six-foot-eight stretch big could apply for as many as five passports. He was born in Italy, the son of a Swedish mother and a Serbian father who also has Greek citizenship, acquired during his seven years playing in Greece. Having joined Real Madrid’s junior ranks in 2018, Vukcevic is said to be eligible for Spanish citizenship as well.

The 17-year-old[2] hasn’t yet appeared in a FIBA Tournament but has apparently opted to play for the Serbian National Team[3].

He spent last season with Real Madrid’s U18 squad, which played the Spanish Liga EBA (Spanish fourth division) and the Munich round of the 2019-2020 Adidas Next Generation Tournament.

Vukcevic had an excellent appearance in Munich, posting averages of 37.0 points per 40 minutes on 61.8% true shooting and 11 rebounds per 40 minutes in four appearances[4].

His statistical profile was perhaps equally as impressive among the pros, as he averaged 24.1 points per 40 minutes on 55% shooting and 9.0 rebounds per 40 minutes against fourth division competition. His 277 points in 460 minutes led the team in total scoring[5].

Real Madrid dominated on its way to a first-place finish in Munich and would have arrived at the final round in Cologne as the heavy favorites to repeat as champions, had the pandemic not caused the cancelation of the event.

That same roster won 17 of its 23 games in the Spanish Liga EBA Conference B and was a couple of games behind first-place Alcobendas, which earned promotion to the Spanish LEB Plata (Spanish third division) because the league ended up not returning for a sprint to the finish after the pandemic break.

SHOOTING

  • Has impressed with the fluidity of his release
    • Catches it on the hop
    • Slight dip for rhythm
    • Standard weight transfer built into his motion
    • Gets a good deal of elevation for someone his size
    • Fully extends himself for a high release
    • Shoots an easy ball on his best attempts
  • Looked to space out all the way to the corner midway through the possession, not just when a play called for him to do so
  • Has flirted with quick shots on the move
    • Jogging to the foul line around a pindown screen
    • Popping to the arc in the pick-and-pop
  • Missed all 10 of his three-point shots at the Munich round of the 2019-2020 Adidas Next Generation Tournament
    • Hit 24 of his 29 free throws in the event
  • Nailed 45% of his 58 three-point shots in the Spanish Liga EBA, at a pace of 5.0 such attempts per 40 minutes
    • Hit 70% of his 70 free throws against fourth division competition

SCREENING

  • Has shown glimpses of advanced screening techniques
    • Moving screen in the pick-and-pop
    • Slip screens
    • Drag screens in transition

FINISHING

  • Adept at grabbing-and-going off a defensive rebound and slow transitioning into an isolation
  • Smooth putting the ball on the floor out of triple threat position
    • Good coordination and ball skills on a straight line
    • Struggles to play through contact
    • Generally, looks to gallop into a two-foot leap off the bounce
    • Not an explosive leaper in traffic
  • Can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense
  • Good hands catching the ball on the move on rolls and cuts
  • Hasn’t yet developed much lift through contact but has flashed the ability to finish through contact on occasion and earned the benefit of the whistle quite a bit in Munich
    • Averaged 16.8 free throws per 40 minutes in Munich, with his 74.4% free throw rate a top 10 mark, among players who logged a minimum of 50 minutes
    • Averaged 6.1 free throws per 40 minutes in the Spanish fourth division
  • Doesn’t seem very comfortable going to his left hand at the rim
  • Good touch on non-dunk finishes
    • Hit 20 of his 29 two-pointers in the tournament
    • Shot 59% on 127 two-point attempts in the pros

POST OFFENSE

  • Doesn’t play with particularly impressive toughness or tenacity attempting to get a clean seal but moves comfortably for someone his size and has shown to have the combination of ball skills and dexterity to dribble into his own post-ups
  • Decent passer out of the post
    • Showed glimpses of quick post-to-post passing
    • Had a moment where he hit the opposite corner on a face-up from the low post
    • Hook pass over the top on big-to-big action foul line down
    • Helped facilitate offense from the high post spotting backdoor cutters on occasion
    • Assisted on 12.9% of Real Madrid’s scores when he was on the floor at the Munich round of the 2019-2020 Adidas Next Generation Tournament, but on a 0.56 assist-to-turnover ratio
  • Most commonly looked for a basic right-handed hook
  • Doesn’t seem very comfortable going to his left hand in the post
  • Averaged 3.8 turnovers per 40 minutes in the Spanish Liga EBA

DEFENSIVE REBOUNDING

  • Not all that attentive to his boxout responsibilities, most often acting as a pogo-stick rebounder
  • Good quickness reacting to the ball at the junior level
    • Collected 20.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor in Munich
    • Averaged 6.3 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes in the Spanish fourth division

PICK-AND-ROLL DEFENSE

  • Was asked to defend the pick-and-rolls a few different ways
    • Show-and-recover at the three-point line
    • Hedging
    • Dropping back
  • Approaches the ballhandler flatfooted
  • Puts in the effort to contest pull-ups
    • Goes for an unorthodox two-hand contest at times
  • Did not prove capable of stopping the ball while dropping back
  • Flashed the ability to stay attached to east-west guards who looked to snake the pick-and-roll and proved capable of contesting at the rim via verticality
  • Had a moment where his influence jumping the ballhandler on a hedge stood out but, for the most part, hasn’t yet developed into an impact player defending pick-and-rolls above the foul line
    • Hustles to recover back to the lane in a timely manner

HELP DEFENSE

  • Slow running back in transition defense in a way that stands out
  • Really impressed with his execution of off-ball switches
    • Switches on the fly to reverse unfavorable matchups and pre-switches against the pick-and-roll
  • Not very proactive stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense
  • Can act as a clear shot blocking threat on clear rotations coming off the weakside in help defense
    • Had four blocks in 69 minutes in Munich, which averaged out 2.3 blocks per 40 minutes
    • Averaged 1.8 blocks per 40 minutes in the Liga EBA
  • Guards with his arms up near the rim
  • Has shown decent urgency closing out to the three-point line but gets blown by when he manages to run the shooter off the line

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSE

  • Does not bend his knees to get down in a stance defending in isolation out on the perimeter
    • Not quick enough to stay in front of smalls out on an island
  • Leverages length into deflections some post entries and able to hold his ground in post defense
    • Defends with a high center of gravity, which sounds that stout post defense at the junior level might not hold up as he moves up through the level, if his technique doesn’t improve
  • Averaged 5.2 personal fouls per 40 minutes at the ANGT

[1] According to Eurospects

[2] DOB: MAR/11/2003

[3] According to Blic Sport

[4] According to RealGM

[5] According to Spanish Federation’s official website

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Juan Nuñez Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Juan Nuñez is already perceived as the next potential star developed by Real Madrid’s junior ranks.

After playing a prominent role with the Spanish National Team that won the 2019 U16 European Championship, the six-foot-three point guard built upon it during the season, leading Real Madrid’s U18 squad to a first-place finish at the Munich round of the 2019-2020 Adidas Next Generation Tournament last January with averages of 16.3 points per 40 minutes on 59.4% true shooting and 8.6 assists per 40 minutes[1], earning MVP honors along the way.

He was also a key cog during the team’s campaign in the Spanish Liga EBA (Spanish fourth division), averaging 15.3 points per 40 minutes and 5.9 assists per 40 minutes[2]. Real Madrid won 17 of its 23 games in the Spanish Liga EBA Conference B and was a couple of games behind first-place Alcobendas, which earned promotion to the Spanish LEB Plata (Spanish third division) because the league ended up not returning for a sprint to the finish after the pandemic break.

To reward a strong season while playing above his age group, Pablo Laso called the 16-year-old[3] to practice with the senior team during preparation for the Spanish ACB’s Exceptional Phase, which served as a 13-day sprint to finish the season in a single site after the pandemic break, in June.

The lefty plays with flair, at times to a fault, and excels as a shot creator for others out of the pick-and-roll, already capable of hitting the pocket, the stretch big hanging back at the three-point line, both wings and both corners, off a live dribble and with either hand, in a multitude of angles and with a multitude of ways.

As a scorer, he is fast and crafty off the bounce, but hasn’t yet developed much explosiveness lifting off the ground in a crowd and, though he can make a pull-up here and there, Nuñez is not really a threat to score in volume away from the immediate basket area at this point.

He competes on the ball defensively but figures to be more capable of making an impact executing the scheme away from it, having shown a knack for jumping passing lanes.

PASSING

  • Has already developed into a very good shot creator for others out of the pick-and-roll thanks to a diverse arsenal of passes
    • Plays with pace to engage the help properly before delivering to the roll man over the top
    • Lefty hook pass to the roll man off a live dribble
    • Good awareness to hit the right window with the roll man slipping the pick against the switch
    • Lefty skip pass back to the stretch big in pick-and-pop
    • No look, over the head two-handed pass back to the stretch big in pick-and-pop
    • Lefty shovel pass to the strong side wing
    • Hook pass to the weakside corner
    • Righty hook pass to the weakside wing
  • Can deliver basic drive-and-dish’s and drive-and-kick’s off drawing two to the ball in isolation or operating out of triple threat position
  • Hasn’t yet developed a knack for passing ahead to speed up the pace of the game but flashed court vision to launch the occasional full court pass
    • Had an awesome outlet pass from one end to the other in the game against Alba Berlin at the Munich round of the Adidas Next Generation Tournament
  • Assisted on 35% of Spain’s scores when he was on the floor at the 2019 U16 European Championship, which was a top 10 mark among players who logged a minimum of 50 minutes
  • Assisted on 30.1% of Real Madrid’s scores when he was on the floor at the Munich round of the 2019-2020 Adidas Next Generation Tournament, which was the eighth-best mark in the event among players who logged a minimum of 50 minutes
  • Plays with a flair that is generally positive but is also extremely overaggressive in his attempts to launch style passes and turns the ball over a ton as a result
    • Averaged 6.4 turnovers per 40 minutes at the U16 Euro
    • Averaged 4.7 turnovers per 40 minutes at the ANGT
    • Averaged 5.1 turnovers per 40 minutes in the Liga EBA

FINISHING

  • Employs a mix of shiftiness and dribble moves to get all the way to the basket in pick-and-roll and operating one-on-one
    • Low dribble to split double teams at the point of attack
    • Change of speeds to put the defender in jail
    • Crossover into a quick first step to blow by big men on switches
    • Good speed with the ball in a straight line
    • Going behind the back in a pinch
    • High stepping his way through traffic
    • Tucks the ball to protect it in traffic
  • Not an explosive finisher off one foot or two feet in traffic but gets decent lift with a head of steam, acting as a rim-level finisher
  • Has shown a good deal of versatility to his finishing
    • Lefty finger-roll
    • Lefty underhanded
    • Righty reverse
    • Righty speed layup
  • Hasn’t yet grown comfortable going to a floater to finish over length from the in-between area
  • Seems to be developing a knack for getting to the foul line
    • Had a 9.3% free throw rate at the U16 Euro but a 32.1% free throw rate at the ANGT and a 30.6% free rate against fourth division competition

SHOOTING

  • Not really a threat to pull-up in volume at this point but has shown glimpses of advanced footwork to create separation
    • Step-back pull-up
  • Comfortable launching three-pointers on spot-ups but only an open-shot shooter and more of a shot taker than a shot maker at this point
    • Missed 13 of his 19 three-point attempts (27.9% three-point rate) at the U16 Euro
    • Missed all eight of his three-point shots (28.6% three-point rate) at the ANGT
    • Did hit 15 of his 32 three-point shots (32.6% three-point rate) in the Liga EBA
  • Approach looks projectable
    • Pronounced dip for rhythm
    • Little elevation but fully extends himself for a high release
    • Great guide hand discipline on the follow-through
    • Misses short
  • Hit 14 of his 21 foul shots at the U16 Euro, six of his nine foul shots at the ANGT and 21 of his 30 foul shots in the Liga EBA

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSE

  • Puts in the effort to execute when asked to heat up opposing ballhandlers full court
  • Bends his knees to get down in a stance
  • So-so pick-and-roll defender
    • Ices ball-screens
    • Has the quickness to go under the pick and beat the ballhandler to the other side
    • Has not stood out much in terms of hustling in pursuit to make plays from behind when he does go over the pick
  • Picked up big men on switches on occasion and impressed with the tenacity shown in his attempts to prevent an easy entry pass or box them out
  • Has a couple of lateral slides in him and plays with somewhat surprising physicality to chest up north-and-south types but doesn’t have enough continuous slides to stay in front of shiftier types and gets beat eventually
    • Tenacious enough and long enough against opposing point guards to reach around for steals on occasion

HELP DEFENSE

  • Rotates to pick up the roll man
    • Unable to assist the rim protection process by acting as a threat to block shots but guards with his arms up near the rim
    • Overaggressive helping off the strongside corner
  • Lacks the length to clog driving lanes by digging from the side
  • Doesn’t have superior length but has shown a knack for flying around in the passing lanes
    • Averaged 4.4 steals per 40 minutes at the U16 Euro
    • Averaged 5.2 steals per 40 minutes at the ANGT
    • Averaged 1.77 steals per 40 minutes in the Liga EBA
  • Decent contributor to the rebounding process for someone his size, not necessarily in terms of joining scrums to boxout but chasing the ball off the rim
    • Collected just 7.7% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor at the ANGT but 17.4% at the U16 Euro
    • Averaged 3.5 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes against fourth division competition

[1] According to RealGM

[2] According to Spanish Federation’s official website

[3] DOB: JUN/4/2004

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

Alexandre Sarr Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Almost no team in the world recruits new talent like Real Madrid right now.

One of the latest additions to their pipeline is Alexandre Sarr, a six-foot-eight center born in France, who arrived in Madrid from Toac midway through 2019.

The 15-year-old[1], a younger brother of Kentucky’s Olivier Sarr, spent most of his first season with the U15 team and should get a more prominent role next season with Henri Veesaar moving up to the U16 team.

RIM PROTECTION

  • Hustles back in transition defense in a way that stands out
  • Active rotating off the weakside in help defense
  • Impressed on multiple effort plays in which he stepped up to force a drop-off and then turned around quickly to challenge a shot by his man at the dunker spot
  • Guards with his arms up near the rim
  • Shadows post-ups hunting for opportunities to intervene at the last second
    • Proved quick enough and to have the dexterity to leap over the teammate to be able to block a shot in these instances
  • Prone to biting on shot fakes

PICK-AND-ROLL DEFENSE

  • Was most commonly asked to show a couple of steps above the foul line and drop back in conventional coverage
  • Has fluid slides laterally and backwards to stop the ball
  • Was a bit uneven in terms of keeping pace with ballhandlers getting downhill but showed glimpses of superior quickness recovering back to block a shot from behind and quick leaping ability to block a shot on the ball when he did manage to stay attached
  • Loses the roll man behind him at times
    • Showed glimpses of superior quickness recovering back to contest at the rim if the pocket pass isn’t well timed
  • Adept at leveraging his length into getting some steals and deflections on passes to the roll man
    • Seems to have an above average wingspan
    • His brother is rumored to have a seven-foot-three wingspan as a seven-footer[2]
  • Lacked urgency closing out to a stretch big at the three-point line
  • Can’t stay in front of stretch big men on drives out of the pick-and-pop
    • Gets turned around

POST DEFENSE

  • Gambles for steals on post entry passes from time-to-time and gets out of position
  • Struggled to hold his ground
    • Has an underdeveloped 171-pound frame[3] in the context of his six-foot-eight height
  • Guards with his arms up

REBOUNDING

  • Fairly consistent with his attention to his boxout responsibilities
    • Lacks strength but tries to get physical
  • Showed good quickness and instincts in the offensive glass
    • Quick second jump to fight for tip-ins or 50-50 balls
    • Flashed the combination of reach, dexterity and quick thinking to tap-out misses back to the perimeter

FINISHING

  • Decent screener
    • Widens his stance and plants his feet to try maximizing his screening area
    • Hasn’t yet developed advanced techniques (flipping the screen, slipping the pick, developing a feel for re-screening, setting moving picks that don’t get called)
  • Has good coordination and decent ball skills in instances where he catches the ball around the foul line and takes a dribble for balance in order to go up in a position of strength
    • Not an explosive leaper off two feet in traffic
    • Can’t go up with power in a crowd
    • Can’t finish through contact
  • Impressed with his quick second jump in instances where he had to catch in the air, go down and then go back up
  • Good touch on non-dunk finishes
  • Toyed with a grab-and-go at one point and tried taking it end-to-end but hasn’t yet developed the fluidity needed handling the ball

POST OFFENSE

  • Struggles to get a good seal, often getting pushed out of deep post position
  • Hasn’t yet developed much in terms of post moves
    • Did go to an ambitious spin move into a short jumper at one moment
  • Can’t maintain his balance through contact
  • Can’t finish through contact
  • Flashed some post-to-post passing

SHOOTING

  • Took a one-dribble foul line jumper in emergency isolation at one point
    • Flashed enough coordination, balance and dexterity to get a decent attempt off
  • Faced up into a long-two in one occasional from the baseline
    • Unusual base: doesn’t point all 10 toes towards the basket
    • Fluid weight transfer
    • Fully extends himself for a high release
    • Soft-ish touch on the jumper
  • Spaced out to the corner at one point but looked to attack out of triple threat position instead of pulling the trigger on a three-pointer
    • Not very smooth putting the ball on the floor
    • Didn’t show much in terms of speed with the ball, handle or dribble moves
    • Struggles to play through contact
  • Foul shooting looked solid, both in terms of his comfort launching the set shot and his touch

[1] DOB: APR/26/2005

[2] According to Eurospects

[3] According to Real Madrid’s official listing

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara