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Kostas Papanikolaou–a major winning factor

May 12th, 2012 · No Comments

After describing the new youth movement of Olympiacos this season yesterday, the semi-final of the Euroleague Final Four underlined the emergence and importance of the 1990 born Small Forward Kostas Papanikolaou. We checked his game through a quick video analysis.

Papanikolaou was the player with the second most minutes for Olympiacos behind Vassilis Spanoulis in Friday’s semi-final against FC Barcelona. The 2m01 left handed forward entered the game after 8 minutes and nearly did not leave the court anymore except for a short break in the fourth quarter. He finished with a perfect shooting effort (1/1 2FGs – 2/2 3FGs) combined with 4 rebounds and 2 assists.

His offensive actions were important as he hit two big three-pointers in decisive moments of the game from the corner. His only other basket was a fast break lay-up that he scored though with his left hand from the right. Next to that, he did not have many touches but as you can see on the Video below, he tried to attack the basket hard where he came up with good direction changes or spin moves, even if he was called for a traveling in one of them. He showed at least that he can drive past his defender on the highest European level but needs to become a bit more under control when doing so. It does not look like he can make the pull-up jump shot in these situations when driving with full speed.

Kostas Papanikolaou on offense

 

His defensive presence was however even more impressive than his impact on the offensive end. Papanikolaou constantly put pressure on the ball handler and forced several bad shots by Pete Mickael and Chuck Eidson. Next to that, he showed excellent defensive positioning and presence on the help lines. With his athletic abilities, he challenged the Barcelona big guys and came up with a block shot against Erazem Lorbek and another very impressive rejection on Boni N’Dong that was called as a foul though.

Papanikolaou was doing an excellent job boxing out and helping his team in the defensive rebound. He grabbed a great offensive board in the deciding moments of the game but his team mate was called for entering the zone too early. His presence as a post defender was very impressive as he did not see many people score over him despite a big height disadvantage in most of the situations. He was even the post-defender on the last offense of Barcelona and helped to bring the victory home with his positioning and pressure on N’Dong.

Kostas Papanikolaou on defense

 

Being the only real NBA Draft prospect in the event this year, Papanikolaou has certainly helped his stock with his semi-final performance on Friday. With a good final where he might see lots of match-up minutes against Andrei Kirilenko, he can eventually see his name coming up in the second round in June.

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