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Thomas Heurtel vs. Andrew Albicy: a PG watch

October 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Today, I take a look at two young French PGs that play interesting roles in their respective teams. While Thomas Heurtel has already a full season of ProA basketball behind him (and a relegation with Pau-Orthez), Andrew Albicy has his first ProA season in front of him after a ProB campaign crowned by first regular professional minutes and a team success.

Thomas Heurtel (1m88 – PG – 1989 – SIG Strasbourg)

After a very active summer both on (Silver Medal with the French U20 NT) and of the court (Transfer from Pau to ASVEL and then loaned to SIG), Thomas Heurtel has earned the Starting PG job of a SIG Strasbourg team coached by Fred Sarre. The player from Southern France came of an interesting first professional season in the Béarn that he finished with 10.0ppg and 6.2apg and he is considered as one of the most talented PGs of the future.

Heurtel displays a nice understanding of the game and through his handles and speed, he can create a lot of open opportunities for his team mates. He excels in Pick and Roll situations out of which he has the eye for the weak side pass, his own drive or the open picker on the roll or the pop. With his cross over dribbles, he can put his defender in big trouble and give himself also good looks for his own scoring. Despite being not really physical, he is not afraid to drive to the hoop but prefers to go for tear drop shots or mid range jumpers. However, he struggles some times to keep his balance when going up out of full speed for the mid-range shot.

From long distance, his catch and shoot three point shot looks particularly well as he can shoot with good height and despite being guarded by a taller player. Additionally, he has a good scoring mentality as he takes a good amount of shots without falling into a too bad shot selection for a player of his age. Heurtel wants to have the ball in the hot moments and he displays some coolness on the court that will probably help to become a decisive player in the future.

On the downside, the PG needs to develop his left hand, especially when it comes to finishing close to the basket where he goes mostly of his right hand despite coming from the left. Additionally, his strong drives are going most of the times on the right hand after faking the left handed penetration. Heurtel also needs to put down his turnover numbers where he is again on a very high level so far for this season (14 out of three games after averaging 3.0TOs per game last season).

Heurtel has however managed to become a starter for both of his seasons on the professional level so far. He has the qualities to become a vocal and playing leader on the court. His sometimes cocky playing style gives him star potential as he can go for the crowd-pleasing plays and big important shots. At the age of 20, he has already gained a lot of international experience and the fact that he entered the basketball scene only late (like Nando de Colo for example) compared to other French prospects gives him some major upwards potential. ASVEL has probably done an excellent move by signing him on a long term contract and loaning him away to a smaller team. But Heurtel needs to prove now that he can also lead a team and avoid relegation. He did not succeed last year with Pau-Orthez and so far, SIG Strasbourg has come up with 3 defeats out of 3 games.

Stats (after 3 games): 29mpg, 9.0ppg (50% 3FG, 33.3% 3FG), 1.7rpg, 5.0apg, 2.7spg, 4.7topg

Andrew Albicy (1m78 – PG – 1990 – Paris-Levallois)

Andrew Albicy sees his second full professional season with Paris-Levallois this year. After a first one in the ProB which was crowned by moving up to ProA, Albicy plays now on the highest French level in a role as back-up PG for the experienced Jimaal Ball. Two short-sized PGs that even see minutes together on the court during stretches for a Paris-Levallois team that opened its season with two wins and a very short loss against SLUC Nancy.

Albicy’s main strengths are a his tight defense where he can become a real threat for the ball-handling offensive player because of his quick hands and close to floor play. However, he is not going that much for the steal and losing control in defense therefore, but being more of an aggressive defensive player who makes it hard for the offense. He avoids it also very well to get posted up despite his short size as he is rather strong and has an excellent defensive positioning of the ball.

Offensively, Albicy lives mostly from his jump shot. Because of his reduced size, he is not attacking the basket that much and prefers to go for the mid-range jump shot, a domain where the young French guards in general have made a nice development over the last years. With his excellent speed, he can split defenses in pick and roll defensive hedging situations and stop around 4 meters to hit the jumper. He can nail those also when being out of balance or under pressure.

Through his nice ball handling, he can create open space for himself, even on the three point line to fire his long range jump shot. He shots the ball with good percentages, especially from the three point line where he is around 40-45% over the last competitions. He is a real team leader which he showed during the U19 World Championship this summer where his coach Richard Billant considered him as the main player of his team and already close to the French Senior NT.

Being in a different role than Heurtel who has played as starter nearly all of his games with Pau-Orthez and Strasbourg, Albicy has an experienced PG before him in the rotation who can help him to develop over the next years. This factor may give him a certain advantage in a long-term projection for the next years. However, the size may hurt Albicy to become a top-level player. But in a French League that loves short-sized PG, he should be able to become a major player, at least.

Stats (after 3 games): 18mpg, 6.3ppg (45.5% 2FG 40% 3FG), 1.3rpg, 3.0apg, 0.7spg, 0.7topg

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