With the NBA Draft approaching, it is about time to analyze the auto-eligible prospects that participated to the Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso. So here we go for a list of players that I think are worth to take a look at either for the NBA Draft or a professional future in Europe.
Ryan Broekhoff – 1m99 – SG/SF – 1990 – Valparaiso
One of the positive surprises of the camp was the Australian with Dutch passport Ryan Broekhoff. In the typical high-intensity Aussie style, Broekhoff was one of the more intense defenders of the three days. Through his great energy on the defensive end, the swingman created some open looks for himself or his team mates on the fast break doing especially well to play in the passing lanes. His correct ball handling skills allow him to push the ball on the break and his overall good fundamentals make him a very versatile player. Offensively, he lives a lot from his outside touch where he was doing really well in catch-and-shoot situations. But he can also put the ball on the floor for the occasional drive. Broekhoff should not have any problem to find a good pro contract in Europe, especially after his good showing in Treviso. The NBA looks a bit out of reach for the Valparaiso alumnus but Broekhoff should have a nice career in front of him.
Vitalis Chikoko – 2m07 – C/PF – 1991 – TBB Trier
The Zimbabwean big guy is certainly one of the most interesting stories in the NBA Draft. Arrived in Germany only in 2011, the 2m07 tall left-handed player has made tremendous progress since he is a member of professional structures. Under the development of Göttingen and Trier, Chikoko has become an interesting long term project with all the physical tools to compete on the highest level. Out of position during the beginning of the Adidas Eurocamp where he had to play Small Forward, a position that he never played as he was only used as a Center so far, Chikoko struggled in his decision making by taking difficult shots and being unable to beat his defenders of the dribble.
Defensively, he did well even when playing against smaller players as his lateral speed is correct which gives him also a good presence as a hedge defender on Pick and Roll situations. Later in the camp, Chikoko could move to the PF position which is his future spot in Trier. Here, he could use his athletic abilities a lot better as he was often faster than his defender and could even come up with nice drives finished at the rim. Still a bit unsecure with his outside shot, something that he is able to do though as we witnessed during the season, Chikoko needs certainly several more seasons to reach his full potential. Body-wise, he was one of the most impressive athletes in Treviso which might raise the interest of some franchise on a long-term basis. Being drafted in the 2nd round would not be a major surprise as Chikoko can become an interesting asset when he can polish his skill set over the next few years.
Mindaugas Kupsas – 2m17 – C – 1991 – Lietkabetis
The Lithuanian center was certainly one of the biggest guys in the camp. Kupsas did not look like he was in superb shape which was also underlined by his not all muscular 15 supplementary pounds in the official measurements compared to last summer. Nevertheless, Kupsas drew some interest apparently because of his size and his correct skillset. Not really a creator for himself, Kupsas scored his baskets mostly after dishes of his team mates. His limited athletic abilities did not help him in this setting where he faced other huge bodies. Seeing him drafted, even at the end of the second round would be some kind of surprise as he did not even manage to impose himself in the Lithuanian league.
Andrew Lawrence – 1m87 – PG – 1990 – Charleston
The British guard was another positive surprise of the camp in my eyes. Not really a pure PG, Lawrence excelled in creating shots for himself in a similar style to the French Edwin Jackson, high elevation on the jumper and a preference for shots out of the dribble. However, most of these self-created shots are not in great balance as Lawrence tends to always go up for some fade-away shots. His limited size might be a reason for this as he has to play on the SG position during moments as his creativity for team mates is limited. The British guard can also attack the basket where he has a nice touch especially on the floater. Defensively, his lateral speed is good but he might have some problems when he has to defend against bigger combo guards. Lawrence might not be a NBA prospect but he certainly will find a good job in Europe after his nice camp in Treviso.
Augusto Lima – 2m10 – C/PF – 1991 – Unicaja Malaga
The Brazilian big guy showed in Treviso what makes him a very valuable asset on the Euroleague for several seasons already. A hard working presence in the paint and a lot of energy are the main characteristics of the 2m10 Center. Not very gifted in terms of shooting touch, Lima excels in rebounding and playing help defense where he was always present when a team mate has been passed by his opponent. Lima is a good but not a great shot blocker and can therefore be an interesting rotation player on the next level. However, his limited offensive capacity has been a factor in Treviso too as he was missing shots from close. His good second jump helped him though to get the offensive board on his own misses quite a few times.
Oleksandr Lypovyy – 2m03 – PG – 1991 – BC Donetsk
The Ukrainian guard was one of the sensations last summer at the Adidas Eurocamp. While he stunned most of the observers with his talent, his camp this year was less surprising but more of a confirmation of his skillset. Extremely fluid and having a machine-like jump shot, Lypovyy looks like the perfect guard for Euroleague action. He is doing superbly well when he has to create his own show or in catch-and-shoot situations where his mechanics are always the same and very regular. Lypovyy’s range is going out to the NBA three point line where he feels very comfortable so that he can even net the long distance shot on the fast break or in transition.
Not a great but good athlete, Lypovyy runs the court though very well and can push the ball hard in early offenses. He might not use his size enough to attack the basket strong and especially to post up. He has to develop a Diamantidis like post-up game in the next years to make him one of the most interesting PG talents in whole Europe. In the low post, he mainly comes up with a simple turn-around jump shot. He could become more creative in these situations to use for example a drop step power move but also find the cutters in a more effective way. His ball handling skills are excellent for a player of his size and Lypovyy showed that he has improved his reading of Pick and Roll situations. The Ukrainian guard might miss the necessary athletic abilities to become a factor in the NBA but he might become a pick in the end of the second round for a franchise that has already some athletic guards and needs shooting and playmaking skills.
Nicolo Melli – 2m06 – PF – 1991 – Olimpia Milano
The Italian swingman was some kind of a surprise for scouts who have not seen him for several months as he has built up a nice thick body unlike the previous years. Despite the added weight, Melli remains quite mobile in a combo forward role who rebounds well and can put the ball on the floor immediately to push into transition. Overall, he is a good decision maker but he lacks probably the real knack for scoring the ball. Versatile on offense, Melli can score from both inside and outside especially because of his growing physical strength. Athletically, he is improving over the last two years and can see him now come up with nice plays above the rim. However, he lacks probably the necessary explosiveness for the top level but should develop into a long-time veteran on the Euroleague level.
Edo Muric – 2m02 – SF – 1991 – Krka
A player who helped himself a lot in Treviso, even if it will not be enough for NBA, is the Slovenian swingman Edo Muric. The 2m02 tall forward showed a good all-around game with a real scoring potential. Muric likes to shoot from outside, even if his three-point shot is nut really fluid or stable in the mechanics. With his good first step, that he can execute with either hand, he likes to put the ball on the floor to attack the basket hard. Having player a major role at Krka this season, Muric should be able to develop into a National Team starter for Slovenia. When he can stabilize his three point shot (27% this season in the Adriatic League), Muric will become one of the most interesting scoring wings of his age group.
Nemanja Nedovic – 1m93 – PG – 1991 – Lietuvos Rytas
It was only a short Adidas Eurocamp for Nemanja Nedovic but it was enough to underline his potential as athletic PG on the NBA level. First of all, Nedovic looked and played a lot stronger than most of the other guards in the camp. With his good size and great athletic abilities, he was able to beat anyone on the dribble and create good situations both in the fast break and in the set offense. He recognizes well where his shooters are positioned when he plays an isolation or a Pick and Roll situation from the top. He needs though to become a bit better on reading the roller situations. Additionally, Nedovic needs to have a more regular shot from outside even though he has made good progress in this area. He will certainly get some looks by NBA teams despite his slight injury after the first day of the Eurocamp. Nedovic has NBA athletic abilities which is important for European guards and his game is certainly more shaped for the US courts. A second round pick looks quite sure for him at the moment.
Howard Sant-Roos – 2m01 – SF – 1991 – Braunschweig
The Cuban athlete showed in Treviso what kind of potential he has. More or less “lost” in the third German league, Sant-Roos displayed great athletic potential paired with a nice fluidity and feel for the game. Capable of scoring from outside and on the drive, Sant-Roos is best in the open court where he can use his ball handling skills and speed to push the ball and find his team mates on the wings. Some kind of a point-forward in the making, Sant-Roos can be compared to a young Boris Diaw in terms of combination of leaping ability and feel for the game even if Sant-Roos misses the superb court-vision of the French forward. It will be highly interesting to see where the 2m01 tall forward continues to work on his skillset as he looks to be still far away from touching his full potential. I would not be surprised if some NBA team takes a gamble on him for a long-term project and develop him slowly in Europe in order to make him an impact player in 3-4 years.
Joan Sastre – 2m02 – SF – 1991 – Cajasol Sevilla
The Spanish forward is certainly not the player who excels in settings like the Adidas Eurocamp. Not very spectacular or outgoing, Sastre does his job as a scorer on the wing and he does it well. His very narrow frame has not seen much muscle added over the last years but the Spaniard still likes to attack the basket and finish in his typical up and under players gliding along the defense. Sastre has excellent footwork to move among defenders when attacking the basket but his main offensive threat is his outside touch. He is doing really well in catch-and-shoot situations from the corner and can therefore often beat his defender who has to close out on him after a help situation. His first step helps him to beat the defense quite well on such occasions and go for the score.