Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mirotic City - Talent among European players is strong.

In a draft that I feel is deep with future NBA players - albeit not rich in future All-Stars, I see value in two of the European players in particular. Perhaps it is simply because the commercial mock-draft sites are USA based - but it appears that most mocks are maligning European prospects when in fact many of these dudes can really play.

Let's start with Nikola Mirotic. He is a 6'10" Small Forward that at age 20 is playing for Real Madrid. He is under contract with the Spanish powerhouse until 2016. Because of his contract situation - I wouldn't swing for him in the first round - but if I were a GM with a contract of my own through 2016 - I would certainly gamble on him in the second round just to retain his rights. Mirotic has length (7'1" wingspan - Draft Express), and he can score and rebound at a high rate. He shoots the ball well (.505 FG%, .865 FT), and he moves with a fluidity that translates to the NBA game. Check out this video to see what I mean:

Next up is another Small Forward prospect from Germany by the name of Robin Benzing. This 22 year-old can really stretch the defense with his three point shooting ability. …He is a scorer. …Right handed. He is aggressive when it comes to putting the ball in the hoop. I like that. I also like that he gets to the free throw line at a high rate for a Small Forward. ...Benzing takes charges, and he competes. In my opinion, he is being underrated by nearly every mock draft board I've seen. ...His shortcomings include his passing and playmaking for teammates. Benzing has more turnovers than assists for all the stats I can dig up for him.

I am a fan of Adam Hanga from Hungary. He is a 6'7" Shooting Guard  that is athletic enough to blend in with the best athletes in the world that populate NBA floors. Hanga he has a nice combo of ball-handling and passing skill to go with solid size for his position. This season he dished 132 assists while only turning it over 72 times. 

I am not high on Pablo Aguilar, Chu Chu Maduabum or Pere Tomas. I'm lukewarm on Andrew Albicy - a French Point Guard that can lead a team with his heart, hustle, and passing skill. On the flip-side though - he is small (although solidly built), and his shot is inconsistent.

I'm warming to 6'11" forward Jan Vesely but I am still convinced he is being grossly overrated by everyone. His athleticism is legitimate but his efficiency just does not equate to greatness - especially if he turns out to be more of a FOUR than a THREE. His hands are questionable. He is only a 47% free throw shooter.

Tomislav Zubcic is an athletic 6'10" kid that can shoot, and handle the ball (he ran the point for portions of the 2009 Hoop Summit). He - like Vesely is much more valuable if he can play Small Forward but I believe he would struggle to guard most NBA Small Forwards - so he will be a "stretch four". He likes the perimeter game and is unselfish with good vision. ...He is under contract in Europe through 2014.

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