Player of the Month
Vasilije Micic (6’5”, PG, 1994, Serbia, Mega Vizura)
Micic is an absolute joy to watch as he has vision and passing ability that would make Jason Kidd proud. It's likely that he will be the best passer available in the upcoming draft, and he has moved to the front of the International Class, currently ranking 17th overall on the Big Board. Micic has shown steady improvement from a physical standpoint since scouts viewed him in Treviso at the adidas Eurocamp, especially is his quickness and footwork, which were the biggest question marks surrounding his transition to the NBA level. His poise and maturity is helping to lead the Mega Vizura team to a surprisingly 7th spot in ABA league, where he is averaging 11 points, 5.8 assists and 3 rebounds thus far. His skill set based on fakes, change of direction and use of pivot feet are the pillars upon which his offensive game is based. His ability to make quick decisions he attributes to his upbringing as an alpine skier, which he recently stated: ” Fast crossovers, that I like to make, are similar to skiing, but also the coordination of moves, perception of the game. There are a lot of similarities, and I am convinced that alpine skiing helped me a lot in my basketball career”. During this season he is showing improvement in his shot (50% from the field) especially from 3 point, but he still has to improve his pull jumper. Currently he could be considered the frontrunner of the internationals headed to next 2014 NBA draft.
Bogdan Bogdanovic (6’6”, SG/PG, 1992, Serbia, Partizan Belgrade)
After the injury of the French point guard Westermann (torn ACL), Bogdanovic has become the starting point guard for Partizan, showing remarkable passing skills and court vision, even if he's not perfectly suited for the role. His natural game comprehension and poise allows him to play the role of offensive facilitator, with the assist/turnover ratio of 8, and a season high of 10 assists during his last Euroleague game. He’s able to exploit his solid structure to draw contact when attacking the basket or posting up other backcourt players, even if he struggles to create his own shot from the dribble, since ball handling is definitely an area of improvement for him. His main shortcoming is still his shooting, including sometimes shot selection, even if he has shown some improvement since the beginning of the season (43% from the field in ABA League thus far). On the defensive side he shows a good attitude, but he tends to struggle against quicker guards due to poor lateral speed. He’s currently averaging 13.6 points 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists in Euroleague, 16.4 points 4 rebounds and 4 assists in ABA League.
Dario Saric (6’10”, PF/SF, 1994, Croatia, Cibona)
Saric is still showing great consistency in his efficiency through this 2013/2014 season, with some recent great all-around performances: 22 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists in his last ABA League game against Igokea and 19 points 13 rebounds and 5 assists in his last Eurocup game against Oostende. But he has been surpassed by Micic as the top European for next 2014 NBA draft. His major shortcoming is the fact that he lacks a true position for the NBA with limited ability to defend on the perimeter. He's been built up as a guy that could potentially content for the top overall pick, but that's overstating the situation. Saric is best suited as a point forward, where he can utilize his passing and ball handling skills, however it's highly questionable that he will be given this opportunity in the NBA. It is understood that this transition will be bonded to better consistency of his outside shot, especially the jumper from the dribble. His outside shot has gone from really bad to just bad. He’s averaging 13.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists in ABA league, 11.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists in Eurocup.
Jusuf Nurkic (6’11”, C, 1994, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cedevita Zagreb)
Nurkic is emerging with consistent performances, elevating his status as a potential 2015 draft pick. Playing 15 minutes per game, also due to his tendency of being foul prone, he’s averaging 12.1 points and 5 rebounds per game thus far in ABA league (7.9 pts, 3 rbs in Eurocup), with the usual contribution of energy and intensity. With his solid and robust structure he’s well suited to banging in the post at the NBA level, combined with an amazing body control and mobility for the center position. Despite being a raw prospect from a technical standpoint, lacking reliable post moves, he has a remarkable feel for the game and basketball IQ, with almost 30% of the offensive possessions of his team passing through his hands. As previously mentioned the biggest flaw is his tendency to be foul prone, with consequent arguments with referees that limit his utilization on the court.
Rasmus Larsen (6’11”, C, 1994, Denmark, Manresa)
The Danish prospect started his 2013/2014 season in a really encouraging way as he was the best performer of the first round of ACB, when he collected 21 points and 13 rebounds. Since then his performances have significantly trailed off, with an average of less than 6 points and 3.5 rebounds in the last month. There are big concerns regarding his temperament, which seems to be too mild to compete effectively below the boards at NBA level.
Daniel Diez (6’7”, SF/PF, 1993, Spain, Real Madrid)
After 2011 when he won gold with the Spanish National team at U18 Euro Championships, Daniel Diez became considered one of the top prospects playing in Europe. During the 2012 Adidas Eurocamp he confirmed his technical skills, displaying his evolution as a small forward of international caliber. Anyhow, after a solid Euro U20 this summer, he’s has not been playing on a consistent basis with Real Madrid, with less than 10 minutes per game. He’s averaging just 2 points and 1 rebound, with his stock dramatically plummeting.
Under the Radar
Shawn Dawson (6’5”, SF, 1993, Maccabi Rishon)
Dawson is one of the most intriguing names emerging during this 2013/2014 season, becoming a potential darkhorse for the 2015 NBA draft. A swingman with amazing athletic skills, he has remarkable coordination and explosiveness. His timing and quickness are visible especially on the defensive side, where he's an effective contribution as an intimidator (1.2 blocks per game as a backcourt player), showing a great ability to jump passing lanes. In the transition game he’s really effective, often finishing above the rim. He’s still raw from a technical standpoint, but he has great upside, and the progress made during this year are quite encouraging. He’s averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds in Israel First Division.
Nemanja Dangubic (6’7”, SG, 1993, Mega Vizura)
Dangubic is one of the young talents collected by Mega Vizura playing alongside the young rising star Micic. Standing 6’7”, he’s a big guard with long arms and a solid body structure, even if there’s still room from improvement in the weight room. He has astonishing athletic skills for European standards, with a slasher style of game. Often coupled with small forwards, he has a good first step which allows him to beat defenders, often finishing above the rim level. He has a reliable catch and shoot also from three point, but he should work on his ability to create his own shot from the dribble. On the defensive side he has quick hands and good instincts, but his lack of lateral speed causes him to struggle against quicker guards. Definitely a prospect worth tracking, especially for the 2015 draft. He’s averaging 11.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in ABA league.
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