Tomas Satoransky played as a wing at Cajasol Seville but was used as Victor Sada’s replacement by Barcelona. Marcelinho Huertas had a great first couple of months to the season but declined physically (either due to age or injury), and Satoransky took over most of the minutes at the point from January on.
Satoransky is one of the most interesting players in the continent due to his combination of physical profile (six-foot-seven, 200 pounds) and athletic ability. Fouling in transition is a go-to strategy to limit easy scoring in Europe, but every once in a while we got the chance to see how great Satoransky is in the open floor.
He has proven able to play above the rim as a target for lobs, not only on fast-breaks but also when Barcelona pulled both big men outside the lane and opened up space for weak-side cuts. According to ACB.com, 23.8% of his 67 two-point baskets in the Spanish league were dunks.
ON BALL DEFENSE
But it’s defending the point of attack where Satoransky impacts the game the most. He has very good lateral agility to navigate over screens and recover to the driver quickly. His length (six-foot-seven wingspan) wasn’t a difference making asset shutting down passing lanes (he averaged just 1.4 steals per 36 minutes, per RealGM) but helped him contest shots effectively and contribute on the defensive glass – where he collected 14.3% of opponents’ misses when he was in the game.
According to gigabasket.org, Barcelona allowed just one point per possession with Satoransky in the lineup for 516 Euroleague minutes and then defended 2.41 points per 100 possessions worse when he got some rest.
Satoransky was a high usage shot creator at Seville but that was not the case at all in his first season with Barcelona. He was mostly a 3D point guard, bringing the ball up the floor and getting the team into the half-court offense but rarely asked to create against a set defense consistently.
From January on, Satoransky started logging most of his minutes with the first group and that meant spending more time with Ante Tomic, Deshaun Thomas and either Juan Carlos Navarro or Brad Oleson. With this group Satoransky was almost always off the ball, entering it to Thomas in the post or handing off to Navarro/Oleson after they got a down screen and then moving to the weak-side.
Most of Satoransky’s shot creation opportunities came with him attacking off a live dribble, after the defense was bent by an initial action. In those instances he did well, lacking the burst to blow by defenders in a pinch but getting around them thanks to his long strides and ability to maintain balance through contact.
Satoransky averaged three shots at the rim per 36 minutes in the Euroleague, a healthy amount in the context of his nine-shot average. He scored well there, finishing at a 66% clip at the basket in the Euroleague and having just four of his 107 two-point shots in the Spanish league blocked. His 3.5 free throws per 36 minutes were only so-so, though, considering his drives should stress the defense more than the average perimeter player in Europe does.
He is not the sort of next-level passer Huertas is, someone able to see a play develop one-second ahead of everyone else, but proved to be a very capable passer on the move, able to adjust quickly when his drives drew help – assisting on 27% of Barcelona’s scores in his 1,439 minutes on the floor last season. Due to the nature of his role, there was often little risk associated to his passes, which explains his very good 2.85 assist-per-turnover ratio.
Satoransky is a solid open-shot shooter, one with decent mechanics but who needs time to load up his shot. That was all that was asked of him in his first year with Barcelona, and as a result he converted 43.5% of his 131 three-point shots.
The combination of his prolificacy at the rim, his discipline taking only open triples (he averaged fewer than two attempts per game) and his efficiency nailing those resulted in Satoransky leading the Spanish league and ranking 10th in the Eurolegue in effective field goal percentage – something impressive for a perimeter player.
He is a limited shooter on the move, though – not at all any sort of asset coming off down screens and iffy off the bounce, as he missed 27 of his 41 mid-range jump-shots against Euroleague competition.
Editor’s Note: 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