Averaging 24.8 points per 40 minutes in 11 appearances, Sergio Llull just earned MVP of the ACB postseason, leading Real Madrid to its third title in four years over arch-rival Barcelona. Now at the peak of his prime at age 28, Llull has grown consistently more aggressive with each season.
With the Stephen Curry revolution taking basketball by storm, gunners like Llull have been liberated. The Spaniard is not shy of hunting for his own shot off the bounce and shoudn’t be, as he’s capable of making them at a good enough clip to force defenses to extend their pick-and-roll coverage.
Llull has proven able to shake his opponent side-to-side, stop on a dime, elevate with good balance and pull the trigger quickly with a compact release, launching floaters from the in-between area and even long bombs from three-point range – having no problem getting his shot off despite the fact he is not that lengthy.
As he’s also proven able to spot up off the ball and come off staggered screens, three-point shots accounted for 56.7% of Llull’s shot profile last season. He converted those at a 34.1% clip, which is below average but more palatable when you put it in the context of 8.1 attempts per 40 minutes.
Llull would already be an impact player if he was that sort of volume shooter only but he is one of the best players in the continent because he balances that sort of outside shooting with shot creation out of dribble penetration.
Perhaps his best skill other than shooting, Llull is very good at pressuring the defense in transition. He is not one of those point guards who pass ahead to speed up the pace of the game but is just as effective by sprinting up the court with the ball and either forcing the opponent to pick up a cheap foul or managing to get to the goal in the secondary break before the defense is set.
Despite being a hyperactive type, Llull is not only a one speed guy handling in pick-and-roll, as he’s also proven able to play with pace, waiting for lanes to clear for him to turn the corner and get into the middle of the lane.
Llull is not a particularly threatening finisher around the rim, lacking superior athletic ability to attack length at the basket with explosiveness. He’s fearless attempting to finish through contact, though, which has often net him free throws at a decent clip.
Llull is not the sort of passer who anticipates passing lanes a second ahead before they come open but he is quite able to make good reads on the move and willing to make the extra pass to get a teammate a better shot, assisting on 28.3% of Real Madrid’s scores when he was on the floor last season – according to RealGM.
Though he is prone to sometimes leaving his feet without plan, Llull has consistently held his turnovers under control these last four years, posting assist-to-turnover ratios north of 2.5 in each season.
Llull remains a so-so defender at best. He puts in the effort to get in a stance and works hard on that end, using his quickness to stay in front in straight isolations.
But Llull lacks strength in his 190-pound frame to contain dribble penetration through contact, significant length to contest mid-range jumo-shots effectively and continues to struggle navigating through ball-screens. His contributions through steals, blocks and defensive rebounds remain subpar.
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