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U19 World Championship 2013: the Guards

July 14th, 2013 · 1 Comment

The U19 World Championship 2013 is over and here is our recap of the main guards of the event. In our reports, we cover only the teams that reached the quarter finals and we do not speak about the North American teams as these players are already covered by a multitude of other websites. Enjoy.

Vasilije Micic – 1m95 – PG – 1994 – Serbia

During the days in Prague, Vasilije Micic underlined his status as one of the best young European Point Guards. Even playing against the highly athletic US team did not bother him too much which showed that he should not have too many problems to adapt his game to the NBA in the future. There are very few guards that can set up the offense that well and find the team mates almost to perfection but stay totally under control without going for the crazy passes. Micic finished the tournament though with 4 turnovers per game but he rarely missed his passes in the decisive games or moments.

Micic controls the ball really well without being a very spectacular ball handler. For him, it is all about fundamentals and ball protection with his body. He has grown into a good physical presence on the court that does not reduce his speed or mobility. His first step is good without being great but he can pass by his defenders with changing speed and recognizing the right angles and moments. When driving to the basket, he generates that much help that he can find the open man either in the paint or outside at the three point line but rarely goes the whole way to the hoop. He can finish from mid-range with a good pull-up jump shot but can also go for the controlled fade away jumper out of the dribble.

When playing the pick and roll, Micic changes his speed so well in order to create the necessary gaps. Sometimes, he initiates the drive a bit too early and risks therefore offensive fouls of the screener. Out of the Pick and Roll situations, he can also create his own shot, especially from the three-point line if the defense decides to go under the screen. His great head and look fakes help him to get open quite easily and only underline his great feeling for the game.

In Prague, Micic showed that he is a legit NBA point guard as he played against elite talent from the United States. He controlled the game over long stretches and was not outplayed on the defense end either. With another year of experience in the Adriatic League, Micic can be ready for the next step, even if passing through the Euroleague ranks would certainly help him in his development as well. But even without this step, the NBA does not look out of reach anymore even if he might lack the top-level athletic abilities to become an elite contributor on the highest level.

Stats: 12.9ppg (51.9% 2FGs – 37.9% 3FGs), 3.8rpg, 4.8apg, 4.0topg

Jovan Novak – 1m90 – PG/SG – 1994 – Serbia

Jovan Novak had the game of his life during the final against the United States where he was used as a catch-and-shoot scorer from behind the arc. His shot looks a bit strange as he fires the ball from the front of his face but this works quite well when he is open even if he remains quite streaky in general. His execution though is quick and his great head fake gives him additional opportunities to get open. Novak can also conclude from mid-range after putting the ball on the floor but he is not the guy who goes up against the defender to take the jump shot. Rarely used as PG in the tournament, a role that he normally has with his team, Novak can be considered as an interesting guard prospect for the future as he also has good defensive instincts. However, his talent level might not be good enough to become a major factor on the Euroleague level in the future.

Stats: 8.7ppg (42.9% 2FGs – 39.0% 3FGs), 3.2rpg, 0.7apg

Stefan Pot – 1m96 – SG/PG – 1994 – Serbia

The tall Serbian guard had a so-so tournament individually but he was a major contributor as a team player, especially to bring in some size in a three-guard offense that Serbia played quite often. Additionally, Pot was the best Serbian backcourt defender and he controlled Dante Exum in a good way during the semi-final. Offensively, Pot showed some potential as a Pick and Roll ball handler where he can attack the basket because of his good athletic abilities and size. He can find the roller as well but he is not the most creative guard. His jump shot can be more reliable, especially from behind the arc but overall, Pot looks like he will have a promising future.

Stats: 4.9ppg (35.7% 2FGs – 31.6% 3FGs), 4.9rpg, 2.2apg

Tomas Dimsa – 1m95 – SG – 1994 – Lithuania

The Lithuanian guard underlined his potential during the days in Prague without playing an extraordinary tournament nonetheless. His overall shooting percentages were not great but he made a couple of big ones in the decisive moments. Dimsa now plays fully in the backcourt where he can use his size and athletic abilities to post up defenders at times. He likes to put the ball on the floor but has a clear tendency for using his right hand only. The Lithuanian can finish from close, also with the contact, or goes for the nice floater from mid-range. He rarely takes the pull-up jumper when driving and he is not a great passer either.

Stats: 12.3ppg (39.1% 2FGs – 32.6% 3FGs), 3.4rpg, 1.9apg

Lukas Lekavicius – 1m84 – PG – 1994 – Lithuania

The years go on and Lekavicius is still the starting PG in this Lithuanian generation. The short guard shows always tremendous heart and passion and attacks the rim without any hesitation. He protects the ball well so that he can even score against taller players in the paint. With his speed and a superb spin move, Lekavicius finds the way through the paint at multiple times. His three-point shot is also quite regular which makes him a serious threat as a scoring point guard. On the other hand, he is not the best passer nor creator so that he has only limited long term potential. But he will certainly find his spot on the highest Lithuanian level over the next years because of his tremendous spirit.

Stats: 9.1ppg (57.1% 2FGs – 41.7% 3FGs), 3.2rpg, 2.3apg

Dario Brizuela – 1m85 – PG/SG – 1994 – Spain

The major surprise of the Spanish team was the impact of Dario Brizuela who never really played a lot with this generation. The Estudiantes player is quite athletic and likes to attack the basket at full speed. He really wants to score the basketball and because his shot is not really great, he puts the ball on the floor. His first step is good and he excels when he can attack the basket through the middle as he remains under control and can find the team mate on help situations. The problem though is that Brizuela nearly only scores from close or the free-throw line. But this worked really well in Prague where nobody seems to be able to stop him when attacking the rim, especially on the fast break.

Stats: 11.3ppg (45.3% 2FGs – 26.1% 3FGs), 2.3rpg, 3.2apg

Dante Exum – 1m95 – PG/SG – 1995 – Australia

Rarely, you see a player on European soil who is as talented as the Australian guard. After his show at the U17 Worlds last summer, Dante Exum underlined his status as top level prospect and even showed that he has improved over the year. The Australian guard is nearly unstoppable in one-on-one situations, especially when he can put the ball on the floor with his right hand. His speed is incredible, nobody was as fast as him even with the ball and his body control is one of the best I have ever seen in my life. On the fast break, he is a beauty as he can go around defenders with ease and such a fluidity that is rarely seen. With his improving ball handling, he is a real threat on transition as he can finish at the rim without any problem. Sometimes, you can ask yourself though why he does not go for the dunk more often as athletically he is off the charts and his wingspan is superb.

Concerning his biggest weakness, the three-point shot, Exum has made some major progress as his mechanics are a lot more fluid right now. However, the shot remains streaky and he can come up with airballs here and there. In catch-and-shoot situations, he has become more regular though but the pull-up jumper out of the dribble is not there yet. Overall, his shot remains a slight problem at the moment as he is not very secure from the free-throw line either as he showed during the decisive moments. Nevertheless, Exum looks like one of the best prospects in the world of his generation and it would not be a surprise to see him drafted in the Top 5 when he presents himself. A long and spectacular NBA career looks inevitable to him.

Stats: 18.2ppg (52.9% 2FGs – 33.3% 3FGs), 3.6rpg, 3.8apg

Emmett Naar – 1m86 – PG – 1994 – Australia

Naar is an organizing PG who can score the basketball, but is not a big scorer. He can play the Pick and Roll with patience and fakes well. He like the floater coming through the middle but his shots look mechanical with a strange technique but nevertheless, he is a high-percentage shooter. Naar should be a player capable of running the offense at a mid-major level and remains uncommitted at the moment. Athletically, he might be limited but he has heart, fighting spirit and can play defense. He does not make many mistakes on the court and is fundamentally well developed. He will probably not be a star but a very valuable asset on mid-major level.

Stats: 8.8ppg (39.5% 2FGs – 37.0% 3FGs), 2.6rpg, 2.4apg

Felix Kalau von Hofe – 1m97 – SG – 1995 – Australia

One of the most interesting shooters of the tournament was the Australian SG Felix Kalau von Hofe. Quite tall and a year younger than the competition, von Hofe was really used as a pure threat from behind the arc where he could shoot from deep. Mainly as a catch-and-shoot option or coming of the screen, the 1m97 tall Aussie nailed some big shots, and was able to score them in series too even when being out of balance. On the other hand, he showed some limitations when he had to put the ball on the floor.

Stats: 9.4ppg (40.0% 2FGs – 38.1% 3FGs), 2.8rpg

Shuai Yuan – 1m90 – SG – 1994 – China

The most impressive shooter of the whole tournament though was the Chinese SG Shuai Yuan. When he had his feet set in the corner and got a perfect pass, he was netting his shots at incredible percentages. But he was not only regular from that spot but also he executed his shot at a superb speed. When the three-point shot was his main offensive weapon, Shuai also put the ball on the floor here and there but he was not as effective in that type of action. Clearly used as a scorer from behind the arc, the 1m90 tall Chinese has a high-level future because of his precision from behind the 6m75 line.

Stats: 18.1ppg (32.1% 2FGs – 47.8% 3FGs), 2.7rpg

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