3D wing

Cedi Osman Scouting Report

CONTEXT

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported yesterday that Cleveland reached an agreement with Cedi Osman on a three-year, $8.3 million deal. The Turkish wing was the 31st pick of the 2015 Draft and has accumulated 4,860 minutes of EuroLeague and Turkish BSL[1] experience for Anadolu Efes over the last four years.

Efes always built expensive teams that sought to compete for titles[2] during his tenure there, so the 22-year-old[3] transfers to the United States accustomed to playing a complementary role, as he was not given much opportunity to expand his skill-set as a shot creator.

The six-foot-eight, 215-pounder was consistently used as an off ball floor spacer, who flashed some ability to make shots on the go but who was not moved around the floor to leverage the threat of his shot a whole lot. He was for the most part a standstill weak-side spot-up threat but merely a capable one at that.

The team did try stretching him a little defensively, using his combination of size, length and quickness to have him defend smaller players at the point of attack at times but he hasn’t yet developed into a real asset at that. He also lacks the strength to play up and defend bigger players at this point of his development.

Combining unimpressive shot making with defense that didn’t particularly move the needle, Osman’s on/off metrics were pretty bad among Europe’s elite last season. According to overbasket.com, Efes was -70 with him in the lineup and +49 with him on the bench against EuroLeague competition.

OFFENSE

Osman got the ball in the post against smaller wings and point guards from time to time, where he looked to back them down for short-range makes and even flashed a turnaround short jumper leaning into his defender.

Osman has also shown he can run a side pick-and-roll to keep the offense moving and even take advantage of a scrambling defense that allows him to the get to the middle, as he’s able to play with pace off the ball-screen and make a pocket pass.

If left unchallenged in emergencies late in the shot clock, he can step into an uncontested pull-up three-pointer off middle high pick-and-roll as well.

But for the most part Osman didn’t show much in terms of being able to create shots against a set defense. Having not shown a particularly diverse set of dribble moves yet, he is only a straight-line driver who doesn’t have an explosive first step to get by his man on speed and struggles to turn the corner.

As was the case, Osman had no shot creation responsibility, logging only 20% usage-rate and assisting on just 7% of Efes’ scores when he was on the floor last season – according to RealGM.

He sprinted around staggered screens some and proved himself able to make shots relocating to the next open spot around the perimeter but mostly acted as a standstill spot-up threat, providing floor spacing for Thomas Heurtel’s and Jayson Granger’s pick-and-rolls.

Osman releases the ball from the front of his forehead but gets good elevation and the ball comes out easy. His trigger seems reasonably quick but he struggles when he is rushed and his misses can look particularly gruesome.

Osman nailed 36.4% of his 735 three-point shots over the last four seasons but it’s questionable how much of that can translate to the United States right away, given the further out three-point line. He also still has room to improve in terms of getting open, sending his three-pointers up at a pace of 6.7 attempts per 40 minutes last season[4].

Osman looks fluid attacking closeouts and has some explosiveness elevating out of one foot on free paths to the goal, though the floater he’s shown to score over rim protection from the in-between area is perhaps for impressive. He hasn’t yet developed dexterity getting to the foul line, as he averaged just 3.5 free throws per 40 minutes last season, but converted his two-pointers at a 54.7% clip.

DEFENSE

Osman is a decent one-position defender who makes tangible contributions.

He can slide laterally to keep pace with similarly sized wings in isolation defense, lacking the strength to contain penetration but using his length to contest shots effectively, and he can run shooters off the three-point line a fair amount with his closeouts.

Osman can also execute the scheme — proving himself attentive to his responsibilities rotating inside to bump the roll man, looking to guard two players when Efes packed the strong-side against a pick-and-roll and getting to the front of the basket when he was called upon to act as the last line of defense.

Osman’s shot blocks are mostly of the exciting chasedown variety in transition but he can make plays in the half-court using his length in the passing lanes and pitching in on the defensive glass, averaging 1.9 steals per 40 minutes and collecting 14.8% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

He hasn’t yet developed a lot of versatility, though.

Osman was asked to defend smaller players at the point of attack from time to time but didn’t show to be particularly good at it. He puts in the effort to go over ball-screens and recover to his man quickly but struggles to navigate picks cleanly. As is the case, he stresses his big man to extend to the top of the key to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away or pulling up from deep range uncontested, increasing the chances of a breakdown behind the play. Olympiacos went out of its way to seek him and put him in the pick-and-roll in the fourth quarter of game three of the EuroLeague quarterfinals.

In individual defense, Osman kind of hunches rather than bends his knees to get low in a stance, so smaller players have been able to go around him despite his lateral agility – something that figures to be a bigger problem in the US.

Given his height and length, Osman has room to develop into someone who can play as the second biggest player for his team in smaller lineups but lacks the strength and toughness to do so at this point of his development.

[1] Which Next-Step Basketball ranks as the second best domestic league in Europe

[2] Though they haven’t been particularly successful at that

[3] Who only turns 23 next April

[4] Osman will have a great opportunity at that watching Kyle Korver work from up close

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

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Catch&Score Finisher, Stretch Big

Daniel Theis Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Boston is said to have agreed on a deal to import German center Daniel Theis to the United States. The 25-year-old[1] accumulated 3,995 minutes of EuroLeague and German Bundesliga[2] experience playing for Brose Baskets of Bamberg in Deutschland the last three years, helping the powerhouse earn three straight domestic titles, leading the league in individual defensive rating last season.

Andrea Trinchieri runs a diverse offense that relies on swinging the ball around the perimeter to move the defense in order to find an opening to attack off pick-and-roll. Therefore, the six-foot-nine, 215-pounder didn’t have much shot creation responsibility and is adapted to the defined role as a finisher and floor spacer that he’ll be asked to play in the US.

But whether or not he has a legitimate chance of cracking the rotation will depend on what level of defense he brings to the table. Theis is quite athletic, challenged a lot of shots near the basket at the European level and posted very strong defensive rebounding numbers in each of the last three seasons. The concern regards his ability to extend coverage beyond the foul line.

DEFENSE

Ball handlers who are threats to pull-up from three-point range off the pick-and-roll are in vogue these days, stressing the need for big men to become more of an asset defending the perimeter.

Brose Baskets asked Theis to hedge-and-recover beyond the arc. He is not a stiff by any means but also didn’t impress with his agility defending out in space, able to defend stretch big men on straight line drives but ineffective closing out to three-point line[3].

Theis doesn’t figure to be an option picking up smaller players on switches either. He flashed some ability to keep pace with less athletic, less resourceful types on straight line drives in Deutschland but doesn’t bend his knees to get down in a stance, which makes him vulnerable to getting shook side-to-side.

Theis makes most of his impact defending close to the basket. He is attentive to his responsibilities coming off the weak-side in help-defense and goes up off two feet with ease to challenge shots via verticality or play above the rim as a shot blocker – averaging 2.2 blocks per 40 minutes over the last three years.

More impressive, perhaps, is how Theis often does preventive work as well, slowing down the development of plays by using his mobility to slide laterally and put his big body in the way to discourage immediate drives to the basket by opposing ball handlers turning the corner or attacking downhill off pick-and-roll.

Theis will be considered undersized for a center in the US but held up well from a physicality-standpoint in Europe. He showed to have a strong base to hold his ground in the post and boxing out opposing behemoths under the defensive glass – collecting at least 24% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor in each of the last three years, according to RealGM.

OFFENSE

Despite not being a post player, Theis logged 23.2% usage-rate last season. That’s the case because Brose Baskets spaced the floor really well, which afforded him many good looks for finishes near the basket out of the pick-and-roll and from three-point range as a floor spacer. He should enjoy similarly healthy conditions in Boston if he gets some burn.

Theis is a so-so screener who likes to slip the pick to get a head start diving down the lane but has good hands to catch the ball on the move and can play above the rim as a target for lobs. He also has pretty good touch on non-dunk finishes in instances where he had to catch, get down and go up again, showcasing second jump-ability that also manifests itself as he fights for tip-ins and 50-50 balls in the offensive glass – where he collected 12% of Brose Baskets’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

Theis has a decent looking catch-and-shoot jumper from mid-range off the pick-and-pop. He even flashed some ability to hit such a shot from three-point range when the ball handler sucked in the defense long enough for him to have time to set his feet. But his three-pointers tended to come from spot-ups for the most part and he showed to be only a capable open shot shooter who needs some time to get his shots off – nailing 36.4% of his 321 three-point shots over the last three years.

He is fluid enough to attack closeouts on free straight-line paths from beyond the arc to the basket and even flashed some ability to take an escape dribble and rise for a stop-and-pop mid-range pull-up. But Theis is by no means a playmaker off the bounce and struggles to protect the ball in traffic due to his high dribble, turning it over on 14% of his possessions last season – a high mark for someone with his role.

He has decent enough ball skills to help facilitate offense on dribble handoffs but didn’t show much in terms of particularly instinctive passing – assisting on just 7% of Brose Baskets’ scores when he was on the floor last season.

[1] Who only turns 26 next April

[2] Which Next Step Basketball ranks as the sixth best domestic league in the continent

[3] Which was shorter than the distance he’ll face in the US

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

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3D wing, Pure Shooter, Shot Creator, Tall Passer

Darius Miller Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Darius Miller is said to have agreed re-joining New Orleans after spending the last two-and-a-half years at Brose Baskets of Bamberg in Deutschland. In that time, the 27-year-old[1] earned 3,754 minutes of EuroLeague and German Bundesliga[2] experience for a team that won the last three domestic titles.

The six-foot-seven wing got the opportunity to improve his skill-set in Europe, playing a key role within Andrea Trinchieri’s diverse offense. He was relied on to create shots within the flow and also in emergency situations late in the shot clock and late in games as well. But Miller won’t return to the United States totally unaccustomed to what his role will be there, as he logged only a 20% usage-rate in his two full seasons in Deutschland.

His playing time should still depend on what he does on defense, though, and that’s something Miller didn’t improve. He remains a disappointing defender for someone who looks like the prototypical 3&D wing every team is looking for these days, given he is not an asset defending the point of attack, chasing shooters around the floor, creating events as a weak-side defender or toughening up against big men.

OFFENSE

Miller’s top skill remains his catch-and-shoot three-pointer, as he nailed 44.4% of his 616 three-point shots over the last two-and-a-half seasons. He’s flashed some ability to get shots sprinting around staggered screens but proved himself able to make shots relocating to open spots around the wing and coming off pin-down screens. His release is not lightning-quick but it’s quite fluid.

His average of 6.5 three-point shots per 40 minutes over his time in Deutschland is a reasonably disappointing figure, though. He should be a more aggressive shot taker off the catch on spot-ups rather than opting to stop the ball and taking a one-dribble pull-up or at times transitioning into an isolation that decreases the expected value of a given possession.

He’s developed into someone who can run a side pick-and-roll, not just to keep the offense moving but also a reliable asset to create a good shot. Miller has proven himself able to play with pace and make drop-offs or kick-outs to the strong-side, assisting on 15.2% of Bamberg’s scores when he was on the floor last season — according to RealGM.

But rather than consistently attacking off the ball-screen, Miller often walks it back and transitions into one-on-one play. He lacks an explosive first step to blow by his man on speed but has shown some shiftiness to shake him side-to-side, a hesitation move to go around him and strength in his 225-pound frame to maintain his balance through contact.

Miller doesn’t often explode off one foot to finish strong at the basket but has flashed some ability to hang and adjust his body in the air to score around rim protection going up off two feet. He is not a consistent rim attacker, though, more often than not pulling up from three-point range if his defender dies on the screen or getting to the elbow for a mid-range pull-up and getting to the foul line very little — averaging just 2.4 free throws per 40 minutes last season.

Miller proved himself a pretty good shot maker at the European level, averaging 1.33 points per shot last season, despite his uninspiring shot selection. His jumper also made him an asset in the post, as he showed an inclination for taking smaller defenders down low. It’s unclear how much of his off dribble diet can translate to the NBA level, though.

DEFENSE

Miller is a decent individual defender, as he has the resources to be. He can slide laterally to keep pace with his man side-to-side, has a thick build to contain penetration when he puts in the effort and has an eight-foot-five standing reach to contest pull-up jumpers effectively.

But he struggles if the opponent forces him to be a part of a team-oriented effort. Miller works to go over ball-screens when he finds himself defending at the point of attack but is too big to be able to slide around them cleanly. He also struggles to negotiate screens when he’s chasing shooters around the second side and doesn’t consistently manage to run shooters off their shot.

Despite his size and length, he has not shown to be an asset playing as the second biggest player on his team in smaller lineups, as he is not tough enough to hold his ground against bigger players in the post and boxing them out under the glass.

He is also not a productive weak-side defender. Miller is an iffy-to-poor helper, often late or ineffective acting as the last line of defense crowding the area near the basket and rarely leverages his athleticism into creating events. His contributions through steals and blocks are marginal and his 12.7% defensive rebounding rate is an unimpressive figure for a big wing.

Brose Baskets had lower defensive ratings without him on the floor in the both the EuroLeague and the German Bundesliga.

[1] Who only turns 28 in March

[2] Which Next Step ranks as the sixth best domestic league in the continent

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

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3D wing, Pure Shooter

Furkan Korkmaz Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Misko Raznatovic announced today Furkan Korkmaz signed his rookie scale contract and is now a part of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 26th pick in the 2016 Draft is coming off his most productive season yet as a pro, after transferring mid-year on loan from Anadolu Efes to Banvit, where the Turkish wing averaged 24 minutes per game in 29 appearances for a team that reached the championship game of the FIBA Champions League. Thanks to the opportunity that transfer afforded, he managed to log a career high 828 minutes.

The soon-to-be 20-year-old didn’t make any substantial improvements to his physical profile[1] or show many flashes of star potential but at least started to gain some experience and there’s now a clearer picture of what sort of player he is at this point of his development.

Korkmaz operated mostly as a floor-spacer whose shooting was not leveraged by having him move all over the floor to stress the defense, instead getting his looks on spot-ups for the most part. He got opportunities to make plays off ball reversals and even initiated some offense at times but is far from being considered a good option to create against a set defense as of now.

His defense was a lot more encouraging than what he had shown in his spot minutes with Efes in the previous year-and-a-half, though.

His thin 190-pound frame in the context of his six-foot-seven height consistently puts him at a position of disadvantage against opposing wings at the pro level and he doesn’t play with enough energy or toughness to make any sort of a positive impact. But Korkmaz proved that when he puts in the effort and executes the scheme, he can be reasonably well hidden.

OFFENSE

Korkmaz’s top skill remains his ability to nail open shots. He’s a sick spot-up shooter with a pure stroke, a high release and a quick trigger who turns in the air and can get his shot off without needing to dip for rhythm in occasions where the pass isn’t perfectly thrown — hitting 43.7% of his 142 three-point shots last season, according to RealGM.

Banvit didn’t put him on the move, having him run off staggered screens or as the back-screener on Spain pick-and-rolls, so his unimpressive pace for a gunner of 6.8 three-point shots per 40 minutes is partly on the team but Korkmaz also needs to learn how to get himself open working the second side. Hopefully he can learn from JJ Redick by watching him up close.

He did show some smart cutting, though, and can play above the rim as a target for lobs.

He is very smooth attacking closeouts and can be an explosive leaper off one foot with some space to take flight but struggles to get all the way to the basket with help defense in his way and is a very poor finisher against rim protection.

That’s also the case when he’s attacking one-on-one or in the pick-and-roll. Handling the ball against a set defense, Korkmaz hasn’t shown many dribble moves or change of direction suddenness to shake his defender side-to-side and doesn’t have an explosive first step to turn the corner. He also hasn’t yet developed a tight handle and is prone to getting the ball stripped in traffic — averaging 2.3 turnovers per 40 minutes last season.

When he was tasked with getting a shot off, Korkmaz proved himself able to make uncontested pull-up three-pointers when the on-ball defender ducked under the screen but most often sought to hang dribble into a pull-up or step-back fade-away when his man played up on him in isolation. He struggled to get much separation and these tended to be contested looks. He’s a good enough shot maker to be able to hit some of them but these are considered to be low percentage shots nowadays.

Korkmaz generally looked to pass off dribble penetration and proved himself able to make nice kick-outs to the strong-side and drop-offs against the defense collapsing to his drive, also flashing some very appealing court vision on a few cross-court passes against a scrambling defense — assisting on 15.3% of Banvit’s scores when he was on the floor last season. He didn’t show anything in terms of passing across his body to the weak-side or lobbying it up in traffic, though.

DEFENSE

Korkmaz has a habit of leaking out before his team secures a defensive rebound but for the most part put in the effort to execute the scheme as mostly an off-ball defender hidden on the weak-side.

That said, he didn’t show particularly impressive instincts making plays in the passing lanes or well timed rotations to crowd the area near the basket as the last line of defense and didn’t often run shooters off their shots with his closeouts. His contributions through steals and blocks were marginal.

His tangible impact on this end is pitching in on the defensive glass, where he collected 14.9% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season, which mostly a so-so mark for someone his size.

But Korkmaz proved himself attentive to his responsibilities chasing shooters off screens and did a decent job. His lean frame, which makes him vulnerable to getting posted up by big wings, actually helps in these instances where he has to slide around screens, even when he finds himself defending the point of attack.

Korkmaz is no George Hill yet but has shown decent quickness going over ball-screens and could develop into someone who provides his team lineup flexibility by being able to defend smaller players regularly down the line, as long as he has a big who prevents the ball handler from attacking downhill right away.

He has flashed some enticing side-to-side sliding to keep pace with smaller players out on an island as well and has the length to contest these types effectively, though he needs to develop strength and toughness to be able to contain dribble penetration.

[1] Banvit listed him at 190 pounds

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

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7-footer, Catch&Score Finisher, Chinese 7-footer, Stretch Big

Zhou Qi Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Zhou Qi is said to have agreed joining the Houston Rockets for next season. The terms of the deal haven’t been reported yet but it’s rumored to be a four-year pact.

The seven-foot-two center arrives from China after helping Xinjiang win the CBA title last season — averaging 32.8 minutes per game, posting a 20.3 PER and often finishing games.

The 21-year-old wasn’t given much opportunity to show substantial improvement to his skill-set, though. Zhou had no shot creation responsibility, wasn’t fully utilized as a floor-spacer or vertical threat and generally didn’t have a meaningful role on offense – logging a 19.9% usage rate in his 1,443 minutes, according to RealGM.

He also hasn’t improved his physique much. In fact, sina.com lists him at 209 pounds, down from the 218 pounds he measured at the 2016 NBA Combine. As was the case, Xinjiang continued to hide him on the lighter opposing big man and he remained a liability in post defense and in the defensive glass.

Nonetheless, Zhou’s combination of length and agility continued to help him create many events, which led to the team defending better with him on the floor rather than on the bench, despite the limitations caused by his lack of strength.

DEFENSE

He has the resources to develop into a very good defender down the line.

Zhou is very agile and bouncy for someone his size, able to rotate off the weak-side in help-defense quickly and get off the ground off two feet in a pinch to protect the basket — averaging 2.8 blocks per 40 minutes last season.

He wasn’t stressed to extend pick-and-roll coverage way above the foul line but doesn’t seem uncomfortable hanging out way high on the perimeter and showed some flashes of terrific pick-and-pop defense.

Zhou also proved to have enough foot speed to keep pace with smaller players attacking downhill so he is within reach to use his massive standing reach to block shots or deflect passes chasing them down at the CBA level, which is full of guards with recent NBA experience.

But, overall, his defense was quite disappointing.

Zhou blocked a lot of shots when he found himself well positioned or had simple rotations to make but hasn’t yet developed into the type of center who can anticipate rotations and prevent the opponent from getting to the rim in the first place. He also consistently sells out for blocks.

Zhou is almost always flat-footed, which makes him slow reacting to what’s going on around him. When he was put in the pick-and-roll and the ball-handler played with pace, Zhou often seemed lost, just standing there, which could be an effective strategy, except for the fact he doesn’t position himself well enough and isn’t active enough to take away the pull-up or the pass away from the opponent.

As he pretty much never bends his knees to get down in a stance, he is not an option to pick up smaller players on switches either, since he’s vulnerable to getting shook side-to-side.

The biggest issue is below the foul line, though.

Zhou’s massive nine-foot-four standing reach is an asset for him to contest turnaround jump-shots effectively in the post but he lacks to strength to hold his ground, consistently getting knocked back and giving up an easy short look.

That problem also manifested itself in the defensive glass. Zhou collected 23.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor but that’s not being a particularly impressive mark for a seven-foot-two player who can get off the ground with ease. And those were mostly of the uncontested variety, given he didn’t always seek a body to box out and was consistently pushed out of the way when matched up against opposing behemoths.

OFFENSE

Zhou just existed out there on offense, without much of a purpose other than crashing the offensive glass.

Xinjiang let Andray Blatche do pretty much whatever he wanted. Zhou set some ball screens for him on the side of the floor from time to time but Blatche either slowly moved into an isolation after them or kicked out to the perimeter. Despite his willingness to pass, hitting the roll man isn’t a part of his game.

When Blatche was off the floor, usually in the beginnings and ends of games, Zhou set quite a few ball screens as well but his teammates never really looked for him as a vertical threat. He is a so-so screener whose thin frame isn’t a chore for on-ball defenders to navigate around but should be able to play above the rim as a target for lobs, given how easy he gets off the ground for blocks or rebounds and his massive standing reach, if not necessarily in traffic, at least sneaking behind the defense.

Zhou still doesn’t post up much either, even against smaller players on switches, as he’s unable to set deep position. When he manages to get the ball down low, he still relies on his rip-through move to draw contact, which remains effective, as he averaged 7.1 foul shots per 40 minutes based for the most part on that and his involvement in scrums on the offensive glass. Zhou also flashes a reasonably well coordinated face-up drive here and there.

He has gone farther away from the basket over time, which helps explain why his effective field goal percentage has declined season over season in his three years of pro experience — down to 58.1% last season. That said, Zhou didn’t get many looks out of pick-and-pop or played a role as a pure floor-spacer either — as he averaged just 1.5 three-point shots per 40 minutes.

His unorthodox release, with the guide hand coming down very quickly, is a bit quicker but he still takes a while to load up his near standstill shot, featuring a very pronounced dip. Nonetheless, he’s proven himself capable to hit open shots, nailing 36% of his 55 three-point shots last season.

The passing skills he’s flashed in the past remained underutilized, as he assisted on just 5.2% of Xinjiang’s scores when he was on the floor last season, not given much chance to show his ability to pass out of the short roll and used very little as a hub to facilitate offense from the high post.

Overall, Zhou’s most substantial contribution on offense was crashing the offensive glass, where he’s shown a knack for chasing the ball off the rim and can use his seven-foot-seven wingspan to rebound outside of his area — collecting 11.2% of Xinjiang’s misses when he was on the floor last season.

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

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7-footer, Catch&Score Finisher

Ante Zizic Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Ante Zizic hasn’t yet signed with Boston but his transfer to the United States is considered a near-certainty at this point. Given the new CBA now assigns first round draft picks a cap charge of 120% of the rookie scale, there is no longer an incentive for teams to hold on signing these players until the last possible minute, so an announcement should be coming soon enough.

After starting last season with Cibona Zagreb in the Adriatic League, the 23rd pick in the 2016 Draft transferred to Darussafaka mid-year, which afforded him the opportunity to earn 811 minutes of EuroLeague and Turkish BSL experience under the tutelage of David Blatt.

The 20-year-old, who only turns 21 in January, not only held up well against the higher level of competition but even established himself as a reliable contributor on a team that made it to the EuroLeague quarterfinals and took a game out of Real Madrid in Spain, before eventually losing in four. According to OverBasket, Darussafaka was +7 with him on the floor and -22 with him on the bench.

Zizic got a steady diet of post touches with Cibona, logging a 25% usage-rate in his 655 minutes with the Croatian club last season – according to RealGM. Though he wasn’t the focal point of the offense with Darussafaka, which featured ball dominant guards Scottie Wilbekin and Brad Wanamaker running the show, he still got the ball down low a fair amount against lighter centers.

But the athletic seven-footer projects more as a catch-and-finish energy big in the NBA, at least for the immediate future. Zizic should have the strength in his 254-pound frame to set decent position at that level as well but hasn’t yet developed the sort of versatility in his post moves that suggests a team will search opportunities to dump the ball down to him frequently.

On the other end, he has potential to develop into an impact defender, possessing the sort of agility needed to guard pick-and-rolls two-on-two. That said, with more and more lead ball handlers rapidly developing pull-up three-pointers out of the pick-and-roll, there might not be a place for big men who can’t switch onto guards pretty soon and Zizic will be one of the behemoths forced to adapt, as he hasn’t yet developed dexterity in one-on-one defense out on an island.

DEFENSE

Zizic is well coordinated for someone his size and leverages his athleticism to cover a lot of space. He has fluid footwork to extend pick-and-roll coverage way above the foul line and slide laterally or backwards to prevent the ball handler from taking it straight to the basket as he turns the corner.

Zizic has also impressed with his burst, proving himself able to keep pace with smaller players when they did challenge him to a race to the basket and stop-and-step up to contest mid-range jumpers reasonably well, doing so against the highest level of European basketball.

But the flashes of intelligent split-second decision making is what’s probably the most encouraging sign regarding his transition to the next level. He’s shown the ability to recognize the best use of his effort, at times letting go of low percentage shots someone his age is often seen selling out to try contesting hastily and prioritizing boxing out his man instead.

Zizic is a big hope Boston has for solving its defensive rebounding problems but it’s unclear if that will be the case. He is attentive to his boxout responsibilities and getting off the ground to rebound in traffic is not a chore for him but Zizic collected just 22.1% of opponents’ misses in his 437 EuroLeague minutes last season, which is not a particularly impressive mark for an athletic seven-footer with a nine-foot-three standing reach.

It’s fair to point out Darussafaka rebounded better with him in the lineup rather than on the bench, according to OverBasket, but maybe that says more about Furkan Aldemir and Marcus Slaughter.

Zizic is also yet to develop into a player who can make a tangible impact in help-defense. His block rate declined with the jump to the higher level of competition and his individual defensive ratings were higher than Darussafaka’s overall defensive ratings in both the EuroLeague and the Turkish BSL, meaning the team defended better without him on the floor.

Though his short area quickness and lateral movement draw attention, the perimeter still seems like a foreign habitat to him for the most part. Zizic can keep pace with smaller players on straight line drives but isn’t a very good option to switch onto these types out on an island regularly because he doesn’t bend his knees to get down on a stance, which makes him vulnerable to getting shook side-to-side.

Zizic also hasn’t shown an inclination for closing out to pick-and-pop big men at the three-point line and to shooters who can take pull-up three-pointers out of the pick-and-roll or sprint to the ball for shots off dribble hand-offs.

OFFENSE

Given the fact he is a white European player, many will presume Zizic is a ‘skills’ big man but that is necessarily the case.

He’s a decent post scorer who relies on running and dribble-in hooks with either hand, going from one side of the block to the middle of the lane against overmatched defenders one-on-one, but hasn’t yet shown power moves, a turnaround jumper or shot fakes.

Zizic has flashed some passing facilitating offense from the elbows and the high post or out of the short roll but nothing substantial yet, assisting on just 7% of his teams’ scores when he was on the floor last season.

He took a catch-and-shoot long two now and again but nothing that is a true asset at this point of development because of his methodical release, though his decent mechanics and 73% foul shooting suggests there’s something to be worked on there.

Some glimpses of ball skills as he took it from the top of the key to the rim on a straight line drive also appeared here and there but those are probably only for emergency situations in the immediate future.

Where Zizic truly excels on offense is near the basket. He is a so-so screener who at times makes his screening area smaller rather than bigger but can dive down the lane fluidly, has soft hands to catch the ball on the move and sweet touch around the basket on non-dunk finishes.

His coordination shows in his ability to catch, dribble and go up to finish in balance and he’s even proven himself flexible enough for some reverses and up-and-unders to score around rim protectors.

It’s unclear to which extent Zizic can act as vertical threat playing above the rim a target for lobs in middle pick-and-roll, given he mostly preferred operating as a basket-level finisher in traffic. But he is certainly able to do so sneaking behind the defense and can go up strong off two feet in a crowd, so that should be there if his guards look to get him the ball there.

Aside from finishing dump-offs, Zizic also translated his athleticism into production in the offensive glass. He is a constant tip dunk threat and has a seven-foot-two wingspan to rebound outside his area, collecting 13.8% of his teams’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

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

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Pure Shooter, Shot Creator, Tall Passer

Bogdan Bogdanovic Scouting Report

CONTEXT

After leading Fenerbahçe to EuroLeague and Turkish BSL titles last season, Bogdan Bogdanovic is said to be considering a transfer to the United States.

Sacramento owns his NBA rights at this point and is expected to make a competitive offer to try convincing him to join the team this summer, as the 27th pick in the 2014 draft is no longer subject to the rookie scale after spending three years in Turkey.

Already a highly regarded shot creator and shot maker at Partizan, his offensive prowess translated to the highest caliber of European basketball and he was a key part of the Serbian National Team that reached the Gold Medal game in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics as well.

With the move to a title contending powerhouse, the combo guard was expected to settle into more of a floor spacing pure shooter role but that was not the case. Zeljko Obradovic preferred pairing him with smaller scoring guards who mostly operated off the ball and off a live dribble these last three years[1], which made Bogdanovic the one responsible for triggering the offense.

But his NBA prospects look brighter than at the time he was drafted due to his improvements on defense. The soon-to-be 25-year-old was an up-and-down defender in Serbia but his effort was a lot more consistent under the guidance of the legendary Obradovic, who relied on the lengthy six-foot-four, 205-pounder as his top on-ball defender in high leverage games.

OFFENSE

Bogdanovic’s top skill remains his catch-and-shoot three-point shot. Aside from having gravity as a standstill spot-up threat, his quick release is dynamic enough for him to stress the defense working off screens, relocating off ball movement or offensive rebounds and sprinting to the ball on dribble hand-offs as well.

According to RealGM, he nailed 38.9% of his 827 three-point shots over the last three seasons, getting them up at a pace of 6.9 attempts per 40 minutes.

He is at his most valuable operating on the ball, though.

Bogdanovic does well running pick-and-roll. He doesn’t have the speed to just turn on the jets turning the corner off the ball-screen on the side of the floor but plays with great pace, using his craft to put his man in jail and erasing him off the play as he penetrates the lane.

Bogdanovic uses craft for his finishes as well. He lacks explosiveness to go up strong off one foot in traffic but has floaters and wrong-footed tosses as a below-the-rim finisher against shot blocking threats, though it’s questionable how effective that will translate against NBA-caliber length.

He got all the way to the basket a fair amount for someone who can’t just leave his man behind, especially considering Fenerbahçe didn’t always provide optimal spacing[2], but didn’t show a lot of dexterity for drawing contact and earning trips to the foul line – averaging just 3.9 free throws per 40 minutes the last three seasons.

Bogdanovic doesn’t have an explosive first step to just blow by his man one-on-one but has shown decent suddenness in change of direction, shaking his defender side-to-side with nifty crossovers and using hang dribbles to freeze him so he can get his shot off.

He is able to rise up for stop-and-pop pull-ups in balance or step-back fade-away jumpers and hit tough shots with a hand in his face, aside from showcasing the ability to step into three-pointers off the pick-and-roll when the opponent leaves him uncontested from time-to-time.

Another tangible advantage he brings to the table is an inclination for posting up smaller defenders in a pinch, as he’s able to hit turnaround jumpers over them or back his way into close-range attempts.

Yet, his most impressive development has been as a passer. Bogdanovic is not just a ball mover who makes the extra pass around the horn and can kick-out to the strong side when he drives into the lane attacking a closeout but has proven himself a reliable shot creator for others against a set defense as well.

He is able to pass across the defense to the opposite end of the court on the move and make well-timed pocket passes in traffic, assisting on 26.9% of Fenerbahçe’s scores when he was on the floor last season, at the cost of him turning it over on 16.9% of his possessions, which is reasonable in the context of an above average assist rate combined with his 26.8% usage rate.

DEFENSE

In order to hide Bobby Dixon off the ball, Bogdanovic was responsible for guarding the point of attack and impressed with his lateral quickness in isolation defense often. He got down in a stance consistently and proved himself able to keep pace with smaller players side-to-side at the European level. His eight-foot-11 standing reach is a huge asset for him to contest shots effectively on most instances as well.

Bogdanovic wasn’t as impactful in pick-and-roll defense, though. He puts in the effort to try navigating over picks and does a decent enough job negotiating poorly set slip screens, returning to his man in a timely manner if he gets good help from his big man coming over way above the foul line. But he’s too big to slide over well set screens seamlessly.

At times when he struggled to make his way around some behemoths or crafty types who held him up expertly[3], Bogdanovic switched onto these big men but didn’t do a particularly impressive job. He puts in the effort to try holding his ground, raising his arms to try walling up and was attentive to his boxout responsibilities but lacks strength to do these things effectively. More concerning, perhaps, is how he was also vulnerable to getting posted up by big wings.

As a weak-side defender, Bogdanovic proved himself attentive to his assignment chasing shooters off staggered screens but lacks the speed to track these types of players and prevent a good catch-and-shoot look if the pass is well delivered, needing to find shortcuts to make his way across the court in time to run the shooter off his shot, though he did impress with his ability to closeout, stay well balanced to keep pace off the bounce and contest a pull-up jumper decently.

Bogdanovic stays on his stance off the ball and can execute the scheme but hasn’t shown a knack for making plays in the passing lanes and lacks the athletic ability to act as a shot blocking threat rotating off the weak-side in help defense. His contributions through steals and blocks have been consistently marginal, though his 14.5% defensive rebounding rate is a nice mark for a two-guard.

[1] Andrew Goudelock the first year, Bobby Dixon over these last two

[2] Obradovic played Ekpe Udoh and Jan Vesely together quite a bit towards the end of the season, as his confidence on Pero Antic waned and Luigi Datome’s defense limited his minutes in high leverage games

[3] Like Khem Birch in the EuroLeague championship game

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

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