He showed signs of decline but Ioannis Bourousis was still a very productive player on offense in his first year with Real Madrid. The 30-year old Greek center still scores best out of the post, where he uses his 270-pound frame to establish deep position and back opponents with this lower body strength. Bourousis presents good footwork to create protection for his shot and great touch to finish with his right hand at rim level, though isn’t as polished when forced to lay it in with his left. He remains merely an average-at-best passer.
Bourousis also gets a good chunk of his offense out of the pick-and-roll. He is an average screener who doesn’t necessarily always look to make contact but whose large frame makes it difficult for defenders to navigate around. Bourousis is not really fast cutting to the front of the rim, does not play above the rim (just 10 points off dunks in 514 Spanish league minutes) and does not draw fouls at a high rate (about three free throws per 28 minutes) but dives down the middle fluidly, can catch the ball on the move and finish in traffic (only seven shots blocked in 99 two-point attempts in the Spanish league). He took 44.2% of his shots at the rim in 551 Euroleague minutes and scored at a 67.7% clip.
But what made his presence really impactful was the spacing he provided with the threat of the three-point shot. Teams with a center who can at times spot up from the outside score at a very high per-possession rate, even if that player isn’t a volume shot-maker. Bourousis hit 11 of 28 attempts from beyond the arc in the Euroleague and Real Madrid averaged 124 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor. He hit only 10 of 40 attempts in the Spanish league and Real Madrid still averaged a high 119.4 with him in the lineup. On top of it, he grabbed 10.5% of Real Madrid’s misses when he was on the game.
Bourousis has limited mobility at this point and was coached to defend the pick-and-roll flat, staying close to the basket. He showed good timing rotating off the weak side but was not an impact player protecting the rim, posting only average shot blocking rates in both leagues and averaging 5.6 fouls per 40 minutes in the Spanish league. As a result of his positioning and big rebounding area, he grabbed 23% of opponents’ misses. Bourousis also did very well defending the post, as he is difficult body to move and showed great discipline extending his arms to force opponents into tough finishes. Real Madrid held opponents below average on both leagues with him on the floor, though it defended better without him in the Euroleague.
Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.