Last weekend has been played the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland. The annual event did not feature that many Europeans this year because some major prospects had to decline their invitation for different reasons. We took a quick look at the most interesting players in the World Team.
Nikola Mirotic – 2m10 – Forward – 1991
The most impressive player in my eyes despite the new point record of Enes Kanter for the World Team was Spanish-Montenegrin Nikola Mirotic. The player from Real Madrid currently on loan Faymasa Palencia in the 2nd Spanish division showed an excellent game on the offensive end where he was the best combination of basketball skills and size. The 2m10 tall played a lot of minutes on the SF position where he still had a speed advantage when attacking the gaps on the drive.
Mirotic can attack the basket on the drive with both hands and an excellent first step. Out of the penetrations, you could see him go until the rim including direction or hand changes in the dribble. He also had one very difficult base line drive of his right hand that he finished with a tough floater from outside the paint. He showed here his great shooting touch for a player that has the size to play inside. But the fact of giving him all the minutes on the SF position underlines where his future will be.
Especially if you see how good Mirotic can hit the shot from outside. His mechanics on the catch-and-shoot from behind the arc look perfect and he is also not afraid to let it fly out of the dribble. He does a nice job too in Pick and Roll situations where he is able to play the ball handler role. Out of these situations, he recognizes pretty well what to so that you can see him give the nice bounce pass for the roller or the dish out for the open man on the weak side. When he drives to the basket, he knows how go around the defenders that try to get a charge and he does not lose his balance when he is getting hit on the layup attempts.
Stats: 14pts (6/13 FG 2/4 3FG) 7rebs 3asts
Enes Kanter – 2m10 – Center – 1992
The Turkish Center simply broke the points record held until this year by Dirk Nowitzki but we did not see anything new from Enes in this game that we did not know from him. Does this mean he has not progressed this year playing High School Basketball in the United States? I can not say that as this was in the end just an exhibition game without any real pressure.
The Kentucky recruit showed in the game the importance of positioning, footwork and basketball understanding. Once Kanter had found his place in the paint and got the ball, nobody could stop him. With a multitude of fakes and moves, he got a multitude of open looks in the paint which he finished with good touch from close. This touch could also be seen on the several jump shots he took from around the key that looked perfect in their execution.
The aspect of Kanter’s game where he has progressed the most over the last 2 years is his ball handling and drives. During the game in Portland, you could see him attack the basket on multiple occasions but mostly with his right hand. In general, he looks less secure about his left hand both on the drive and the finish. You could see him do difficult moves to avoid the left side but managed to finish those perfectly on his right hand.
Stats: 34pts (13/21 FG 8/9FT) 13rebs
Dejan Musli – 2m13 – Center – 1991
The Serbian Center did not really stand out in the Nike Hoop Summit this year. The first impression that I had though was that the 7-footer from FMP has lost a bit of weight, which may however be result of a contracted footage size. His offensive power is not really outstanding against this type of opposition that he rarely faces in Europe.
What could be seen though is that Musli is showing a bit more plays where he uses the dribbling. He tried some back to the basket moves like some kind of running jump shot which he missed however. Out of his drives, he can also go for the nice pass for his team mates when needed. His slow-looking moves are also showing his limits on this level and as Musli is not yet a high-percentage shooter from mid- or long-distance.
Stats: 11pts (4/9 FG) 6rebs
Mael Lebrun could not really put his mark on the game as the athletic French guard did not see a lot of offensive touches. He nailed one three pointer and showed a strong right handed drive to score his two only baskets. He created though some good opportunities for his team mates as he finished with 4 assists.