Back in 2006, at the beginning of this website, Pietro Aradori was one of the first players that I covered as he was a major factor for the Italian team at the Albert-Schweitzer Tournament. I scouted him later on again in 2007 at the U20 European Championship in Gorizia and now, at the edge of 2010, Aradori is living up to the high expectations I had on him back then.
When I read what I have written in 2006 on Aradori, some of the characteristics could be copy/pasted like this to a current scouting report.
Physically, he looks well developed and showed some interesting athleticism. He can pull up the three point jumper off the screen with ease. He can connect to the open player but goes more for his own shot. Near the basket on post up moves, he can go either with the left or the right hand.
When I saw now recent games of Aradori in the Italian League with Biella, most of this is still valid. The 1m93 tall guard looks pretty mature physically, not being a typical athlete type but strong and present on the court with a certain aura. The 1988 born player, who is automatically in the NBA Draft 2010, is the major offensive threat of his team, as he is simply the best Italian scorer in the whole Lega. His scorer qualities are really above average and he has a full arsenal of possibilities to put the ball through the net.
First of all, he has a shot that has a nice and quick release and that he can take out of every situation. When he has the ball, he can create his own shot either by using the pick, by driving against his opponent in one-on-one situation or after a good cross-over dribbling. His shot looks even better when he can fire it up in catch-and-shot situations when he had the time to prepare. His release is however a bit in front of his face at moments which is a little problem when playing against taller player. But his quick mechanics make this not that important.
His drives are pretty powerful and he can conclude them close to the rim with underhand scores on unorthodox “euro-steps” or by going for some running floaters. His good offensive fundamentals help him in those situations as he can go strong to the basket with both hands. His confidence level right now is pretty high so that even the tough lay-ups and scores fall for him.
A very interesting part of his game is that he has quite a good back-to-the-basket arsenal. You can see him several times go to the low post as soon as he gets defended by a smaller player. He recognizes these situations well and sends away his team mates to play the isolation on one side. He backs them up then and can score either with the hook or the turn around fade-away jump-shot, a jump shot that has a nice high flying curve.
Aradori excels also in the open court as he likes to run and finish strong at the basket. You can see him not afraid at all going for the dunk on the break even with a defender on him (watch No3 play of the Top 10 plays here for an example). On this particular play, you see also the flair he has on defense to go for the steal. But when talking about the defense, we have to mention also the downturn of the Italian guard.
His lateral speed is far from being good and he gets beat on one-on-one situations easily. Additionally, his defensive positioning is improvable as you can see him getting lost quite some times in defense not seeing the ball and the man. This brings him in difficult situations in the defensive rebound where he can not box out his man all the time. However, he is still a decent rebounder for his size as he shows a good feel for the ball and excellent timing. If he improves in his defensive orientation, he can become even a great rebounder for a guard.
A negative point that could be added on the offensive end is that Aradori tries most of his passes out of the jump, an error that he absolutely needs to overcome in the next years as it ends up several times in a turnover. His court-vision is decent but he needs to use it better and not going always for these jump-passes. Because he sees the open man and also recognizes double-team situations on post-up for example. He also needs to work a bit more off the ball, as he is clearly a player that wants the ball in his hands and feels a bit lost when not implicated in the offense.
After several different teams over the last years, Pietro Aradori has now found the perfect situation in Biella to develop in the season of the NBA Draft. If he gets a look at in the 2nd round is however questionable because of his limits in athleticism on NBA level. However, there are not that many scoring talents like him currently in the 1988 generation. Together with Marco Belinelli, Andrea Bargnani and Daniel Hackett, the Italian National Team is at least sure to have enough scoring power for the upcoming years.