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Two German Bigs on the rise (Pt1: Tibor Pleiss)

December 23rd, 2009 · 2 Comments

Tim Ohlbrecht and Tibor Pleiss played with the German National Team this summer during the Eurobasket 2009 in Poland. Both changed their Club teams this summer too so that it was time to take a closer look at them how they have adapted to their new environment in a year that can already decisive in terms of NBA Draft for one of them.

Tibor Pleiss joined Brose Baskets Bamberg this summer after his previous team of Cologne 99ers filed for bankruptcy and disappeared from the German Bundesliga. The 2m15 tall 1989 born player faced a serious challenge when signing in Bavaria as the local fans are known for being very tough on their own players, something that the later spoken of Ohlbrecht has experienced during two seasons. But now, after several games into the season, the decision to move one step forward and sign for a Eurocup team was the right decision for Pleiss, who has gained the Starting Center job in a team that wants to play for the German title.

Pleiss, who showcased his talent to the international scene with the different Youth selections is now playing his first full season in a competitive team. His obvious physical tools; great size, excellent wingspan, good speed and nice hands; combined with the talent to play and the experience he has already gained makes him one of the most promising Centers in Germany. He moves extremely well for a player of his size, running the floor up and down with nice speed. He is used a lot by his team in Pick-and-Roll situations where he rolls very well to the basket. However, he sometimes struggles to catch the passes out of these situations, especially when the ball comes on quick or high passes. Due to his lack of physical strength, he prefers the bounce pass for the catch and the immediate move up to finish. He recognizes the defense on Pick-and-Roll already pretty well for a young player as you can see him also fake the pick and roll immediately to the basket when his defender tries to hedge the screen.

The Bergisch-Gladbach native has excellent hands though for the finish. You can see him score the jump shot around the key with very nice shooting mechanics. His range is going out until the three point line, still he does not take a lot of shots from out there this season. Pleiss progressed a lot in the attack of the bucket with the dribbling this season. Either from the top of the key or from the side, he is not afraid to take the drive. However, he struggles to finish these actions as he is not strong enough to dunk the ball hard when being pushed by the defense. His excellent mobility offers him the possibility to beat his opponents of the dribble or by going for greatly executed spin moves with the ball.

On the negative side, you can notice that Pleiss lacks sometimes the necessary intensity on the highest level. When I talk about intensity, I don’t mean that he lacks the will to play hard, but it is more a physical intensity that he needs to force out of him and which does not come alone. His coach needs to push him hard in order to go hard on the court too and as a result, Pleiss forces himself to go for strong dunks instead of the layup. With his back to the basket, he displays different post-up moves that he can finish either on the jump hook, turn around jump shot or with underhand scoop finger rolls for example.

In rebound situations, Pleiss is regularly overmatch physically but goes hard for boxing out his opponents. He needs to fight maybe a bit more when he is in a bad position in order to gain the favorable position back. Due to his excellent presence in shot blocking and trajectory changing, he loses his spot for the rebound several times too and needs to find it back faster when the shots are missed.

Currently, Pleiss is averaging career numbers with 6.9ppg at 55.1% and 5.1rpg together with 1.3bpg in the Beko Bundesliga. In the Eurocup, he is at an even better pace with 9.3ppg at 64.7% and 5.3rpg. Being born in 1989, he is automatically eligible for the NBA Draft in 2011 (Draftexpress lists him at the end of the 1st round in their 2011 Mock since recently).He has not made any official statement so far if he wants to test the waters in 2010.

In the 2nd part, that will be published in the next days, I will talk about Telekom Baskets Bonn player Tim Ohlbrecht.

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