(Originally posted at VinteUm)
Augusto Lima was a highly touted prospect Unicaja held on to in its system for years but consistently blocked his playing time in the senior squad. He eventually left Malaga in the summer of 2013, joined Murcia and his career has finally taken off after two seasons of real solid production.
Lima did extremely well in the Pan American Games last week, a five-game sample this report is based on. They should be put into the context of a really low level of competition. There was one legit, proven NBA contributor (JJ Barea) and maybe a dozen ‘fringe NBA’/’mid-tier Europe’ (including Anthony Bennett and Andrew Nicholson) but there were mostly just guys.
Nonetheless, the Dallas Mavericks are now rumored to be interested in having him join them for training camp and if Lima repeats this sort of performance against a much higher level of competition at the FIBA Americas, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t sign somewhere high profile – either in the NBA or with a higher level in Europe.
LENGTH & ATHLETICISM
Lima is not a particularly skilled big man but can impact the game with his combination of length and athleticism. He is limited to a very specific role on offense but can provide flexibility to how a defense defends the pick-and-roll.
His top skill on offense is his offensive rebounding, as he is able to rebound outside of his area due to his seven-foot wingspan and can leap off the ground in a pinch. According to RealGM, Lima collected 14.6% of Murcia’s misses last season – a mark that ranked him sixth in the Spanish league in offensive rebounding rate.
Within the offense, he’s an asset by scoring out of the pick-and-roll. Lima is a slip screener who uses the split-second head start to dive down the lane with the sort of speed that sucks in attention and can potentially open up perimeter shots. He has shown soft hands to catch the ball on the move and can play above the rim as a target for lobs. Lima converted 64.7% of his 34 shots in the Pan American games last week and 54.4% of his 472 attempts with Murcia over the last two seasons.
Lima can play above the basket as a shot blocker but is not the sort of rim protector who blocks shots in volume (one block last week and 36 blocks in 34 appearances with Murcia last season). He is a decent interior protector, though, thanks to his agility. He moves fluidly and in control guarding the pick-and-roll dropping back to prioritize protecting the paint and has exhibited good closing speed to contest shots out of the pick-and-pop. In help-defense, Lima has shown good quickness rotating to the front of the rim and proven willing to draw charges.
But his top skill on defense is guarding above the foul line. Lima is an asset to guard smaller players on switches, as he has decent lateral mobility for someone with a six-foot-10, 234-pound frame to stay in front when forced side-to-side. He is able to contain dribble penetration through contact and has the sort of length needed to contest mid-range shots effectively.
Lima is an above average defensive rebounder thanks to his athleticism, quick tracking the ball off the rim, although sloppy boxing opponents out diligently. He collected 24.8% of opponents’ misses last season – a mark that ranked fourth in the Spanish league in defensive rebounding rate.
Lima is limited in other areas of the game, those related to skill level. Hepassed the ball well out of the post in the Pan American games, keeping his head up and making easy reads against double teams and poor rotations but he’s not a well-polished post player due to awkward footwork and mechanical moves.
He also hasn’t shown the ability to pass out of the short roll, assisting on just 5% of Murcia’s scores in his 831 minutes.
Lima doesn’t have much of a jump-shot either and isn’t an option to spot up on the weak-side or play pick-and-pop. He is also a poor foul shooter, converting just 66% of his 223 free throws over the last two seasons.
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