Having followed several Euroleague games this week, I put together some thoughts on three players that I scouted in particular. I speak of the following three guys: Nicolo Melli, Christophe Leonard and Augusto Cesar Lima.
Nicolo Melli did not see a lot of minutes versus Panathinaikos on Thursday. The 1991 born forward had to play the four position and struggled during the 2 minutes he was on the court. He showed some good ball handling out of a defensive pressure situation on the wing and nice positioning on an offensive rebound where he got fouled. However, he missed the two free-throws he was awarded. In general, with his 2m05 and long built, Melli would probably be of a future SF use, but right now, AJ Milano prefers to use his size on the 4 to create some mismatches probably. On defense though, he has some problems to play against the more powerful inside players.
On Wednesday, it was the opening party for Christophe Leonard’s scoring numbers in the Euroleague as the 1990 born French forward had 7pts in the huge win of Cholet Basket over Fenerbahce Ülker. Coming on the court at the beginning of the second quarter, the forward got into the game with a foul but on his first offensive action, he hit a difficult three point shot from the corner with a lot of confidence. The long distance shot was considered as one of his weaknesses and he has not hit one shot from behind the arc so far this season. This basket gave him the necessary confidence combined with the good game from last weekend where he scored 8pts in twenty minutes. On the following possessions, Leonard remained in the flow of the game, he made a lay-up on the break and attacked the basket hard. He scored on a very difficult running jumper when attacking the basket with his left hand from the right side and scoring it totally out of balance with the defense on him. He tried to go for a similar move once again instead of taking the straight jump shot out of the drive and he missed it.
Defensively, Leonard showed a good presence on the rebound but struggled when he had to play on the 3-2 zone on the wing and got beaten regularly on the Turkish drives. He needs to be quicker on his feet in these situations and not get beat too easily when running out on his man. In general, it was a good game for him and he gave his coaches what they needed from him on the court. His minutes will probably continue to rise in the next weeks.
The surprise of the week came from the Brazilian Augusto Cesar Lima from Unicaja Malaga who finished with an impressive 14pts (7/10 FGs), 8rebs and 3blks performance. The Spanish team used him a lot in the second half of the game against Brose Baskets to outplay the German big guys with his quickness and athleticism. Lima did an excellent job playing the pick and rolls as he rolled with great speed to the basket where his guards found him several times for the easy bucket. He did also an excellent job on positioning as he scored several times on the Bamberg help-the-helper defense forgetting him. Lima uses his athletic abilities to score on nice two-handed dunks but was also a serious threat on the defense end to block shots. None of his baskets though came out of a back-to-the-basket or any kind of self-created move; all where the result of good efforts of his team mates creating the space for him or going hard for the offensive rebound. For the 2m06 tall and 1991 born player, this was a career night that he had tonight in Bamberg, but this does not mean that we will see him again in the same effect during the next games as the Unicaja rotation is deep enough to make these kind of particular adaptions when the game situations needs it.
Watch the Euroleague TV Highlight clip below and see some of the best plays of Lima and specifically his big time block followed by alley-oop in the last minutes. Lima wears #17 Green.