Sunday, June 12, 2011

Get to know the name Mindaugas Kuzminskas

Kuzminskas is underrated.
Mindaugas Kuzminskas is a late bloomer that never was a part of the Lithuanian National Basketball teams. However he was named the 2010 MVP of the Lithuanian league. Kuzminskas has improved rapidly to become a possible draft pick. He shoots the ball decently at 6'10" and has enough dribbling skill to play point forward at times. He looks to score but not so much that he forgets his teammates. …A smart kid that seems to understand the game. He has more assists than turnovers. ...He has struggled with the three point shot this season - hitting only .295 from beyond the arc. ...He has a low post game. Right handed. ...Needs to be stronger but he plays hard (at least on offense). 70% free throw shooter. ...Needs to become a better defender. His hands to be to be stronger. ...I like Kuzminskas. I think he would be worth drafting just to see how he develops in Europe. If he continues to progress - he is on path to be an NBA player.

No European player is hyped more than Jan Vesely. Vesely is an active, athletic forward that is more of a THREE defensively but more of a FOUR on offense. He really runs well and is known for highlight reel dunks in transition. However, Vesely simply does not shoot the ball well enough at this stage of his career to a consistent outside threat. He is at .322 for his three-point shooting this season (for all the attempts we could find). He struggles at the free-throw line to say the least. his 47% from the charity stripe is scary bad. ...He is a poor defensive rebounder - which is why I don't like him as a PF. He is an inconsistent shooter - which keeps me from being wild about him as a SF. Really - he will have to find a niche as an energy guy that you don't run plays for. In that sense - how is Vesely much different from Omri Casspi? ...Casspi is a nice player - but was he a lottery pick? Would he be a lottery pick in this draft? ...Vesely does have more assists than turnovers (barely). ...He plays hard and with passion - and he has room to grow - given that he is only 21 years old. It's not that I don't like Vesely. I just don't see him as a top-ten pick.

JaJuan Johnson is a BIG that can score.
JaJuan Johnson, of Purdue, is long (7'2" wingspan, 8',11.5" standing reach - and he has a growing set of offensive skills. ...He is a quick jumper and he blocks shots at a high rate.  He can score. His face-up game is as nice or better than any other BIG in this draft. ...He is a good athlete with good speed. …He has a fairly consistent jump hook. He finishes around the rim. ...Right handed. ...His length allows him to make plays others simply cannot make. …Hits the offensive glass. …Gathers himself under control. ...Johnson had almost two turnovers for every assist.  ...Needs to add strength. ...Played with the USA Select team.

Justin Harper is a guy that improved during his college career at Richmond. His points, rebounds, and assists per game all increased in each of his four seasons. By his Senior year - he was nailing the 3-pt. shot at 45%! ...If a team is drafting Justin Harper - thinking he will be an inside power player - I think they will be sadly mistaken. But Harper can thrive -  if from day one - a team runs him at Small Forward - where he suddenly becomes a match-up nightmare as a guy that can shoot it deep or simply shoot over smaller defenders in the mid-post. ...Harper has way to go as far as being a "wing". He had more turnovers than assists in his career at Richmond. ...I'd like to see him get himself to the free throw line more often as well.

Nikola Vucevic has lots of potential due to a high skill level and his pride. He posted 17.1 points per game and 10.3 rebounds last season at USC, and then carried that momentum into the NBA Draft Combine where he measured in at a full 6' 11.5" and 260 lbs., with a 7'4.5" wingspan and only 6% body fat ( He is a right handed BIG that grew up around basketball - with both of parents being professional players in Europe. He can score on the low block with his back to the basket. He has a variety of moves. His face-up game is also nice - stretching all the way to the three point line. He has shown the skill to make passes out of a double team but at the end of the day - he has significantly more turnovers than assists for his USC career. Vucevic is not as efficient as he could be due to a habit of drifting on the perimeter as opposed to using his big frame down low. ...He could be a better rebounder.

Dayton's Chris Wright is a sick, above-the-rim, athlete!
Chris Wright from Dayton is an NBA athlete without question. He can guard Small Forwards but his offensive game is more about transition scoring and offensive rebounding. He lacks a consistent perimeter stroke (only 22% from three-point range). ...Right handed and limited in using his left. ...Rebounds in traffic. ...He can make a play off the dribble. ...He excels in transition where his speed and strength is on display. ...He's a high riser that blocks shots. ...Good frame. There is lots to like in Chris Wright - especially if he ever can become a better shooter. Right now though - he is just a 66% FT shooter, and he is turnover prone with more than two turnovers for every assist (career).

Durell Summers is athlete that is just scratching the surface of what I believe he is capable of. He is strong and athletic with the ability to make a hard drive and finish in traffic. He moves without the ball - and is most comfortable as a catch and shoot guy. Good hands. He struggled in his Senior season - averaging just 11 points (on 38% FG shooting) and four rebounds per game for an under-achieving Michigan St. group. ...He could really improve his efficiency by getting to the free throw line more often, and by turning down some of the quick threes that he jacks. ...Named Michigan State's Most Improved Player as a sophomore.

Ben Hansbrough is a determined and skilled Point Guard that holds his teammates accountable and plays hard - the way you wish every kid would play. He is not going to beat his man off the dribble very often so he relies on his smarts. He takes good shots. He can really shoot the three-ball. He made a fantastic .43.5% of his three-pointers this season. ...Averaged 18 points, four  rebounds, and four assists as a SR.  ...He takes charges. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.87:1 (career). He helps as a rebounding guard. 78% FT (career). ...He is the brother of Tyler Hansbrough. He is one year older than the rest of the draft class. He played his first two years of college ball at Mississippi State before sitting out all of 2008-09. He played his final two years of eligibility at Notre Dame.

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