The Wizards have just agreed to a three-year deal with Tomas Satoransky, worth $3 million in annual average value. Their 32nd pick in the 2012 draft, the 24-year-old figures to fit perfectly alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal in their backcourt rotation.
In his two seasons at Barcelona, Satoransky acted mostly as a caretaker point guard. He was not responsible for breaking down the defense with regularity, as Barça ran its offense through its shooters running around staggered screens and running side pick-and-rolls that often evolved into post-ups for their big men.
Satoransky is probably even a better fit for the NBA than the European game due to his prolificacy in the open court. And he’s joining the league in the perfect Era for someone with his skill-set to be recognized as a potential star role player, as his combination of physical profile and athleticism adds flexibility to his team on defense.
Standing at six-foot-seven with a 200-pound frame, Satoransky is a wing-sized point guard. He gets stuck on ball-screens from time-to-time but recovers extremelly well to make himself a presence contesting mid-range shots, layup attempts or passes out of dribble penetration by his man. On straight isolations, he’s proven able to keep pace stride for stride with smaller players.
And Satoransky is at his best defending these smaller players, since his average six-foot-seven wingspan for someone his size, while effective against most point guards, isn’t that significant an asset for him to contest catch-and-shoot jump-shots effectively when he is matched up on true wings.
But he has long strides and enough strength to offer his team the option of picking up wings who create off the bounce on switches.
His contributions through steals and blocks are underwhelming for someone with his athetic ability but Satoransky is of help finishing possessions by pitching on the defensive glass, collecting 12.5% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season – according to RealGM.
Satoransky was a 3D point guard with Barcelona and excelled in that role.
He struggles when a defender rushes his shot and he is not an option to shoot on the move coming off side screens. But he’s proven himself a very good open-shot shooter, nailing 41.9% of his 303 three-point shots these last two years.
Satoransky can also play above the rim as a target for lobs, not just filling the lanes on the break but also cutting baseline when the big men are away from the basket.
With Barcelona, most of his shot creation responsibilities came posting up smaller point guards from time to time or attacking closeouts and off a live dribble. Satoransky lacks explosiveness but has long strides to get into the lane and strength to maintain his balance through contact.
On the move, he’s proven able to pass against a collapsing defense extremelly well, assisting on 30% of Barcelona’s scores when he was on the floor last season, while posting a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio in each of the last two years.
Whenever he is forced to try something on straight isolations, Satoransky struggles to get separation as his first step isn’t much and he doesn’t have a lot of shiftiness, unable to stop-and-start in a pinch or shake his opponent side-to-side with a crossover.
Playing for the Czech Republic National Team at the 2015 Eurobasket, Satoransky flashed the ability to play downhill in spread pick-and-roll. He proved able to read the two defenders involved in the two-man game very well, exploring the right opportunities to drive away from the screen. Satoransky had also shown at Barcelona the ability to play with pace, patiently waiting for driving lanes to clear out when the opponent hedges or forces him to the side then recovers.
He can finish at the basket with power driving down the lane with momentum but also showcased the ability to score around length on non-dunk finishes. And though he’s not a rhythm shooter pulling up from mid-range, looking for that shot aggressively, Satoransky also proved himself at least capable of making these shots off the bounce, even from three-point range, if the defense sells out on trying to contain the big diving to the basket.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor and at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara