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European Stock Watch

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 1:07am

Who's Hot

Rodions KurucsRodions KurucsRodions Kurucs (98', 6-8, SF, Latvia, FC Barcelona B)

For a second year in a row the Latvian prospect started the season on the injured list and because of it he lost the chance to remain with the first team in Barcelona. After two subpar months though, the bouncy Kurucs looks as good as ever. Receiving a good deal of playing time for Barcelona's second team, Kurucs was terrific this past month, showing a lot of the skills that made scouts take notice of him, like his elite athleticism and scoring ability. It remains to be seen whether he will declare for this year's draft, but it is clear that his stock is rising at the moment.

Frank Ntilikina (98', 6-5, PG, France, Strasbourg)

After a strong showing in Samsun's U18 European Championship, where he was MVP of the Tournament, the French prospect was back to reality for his team, where he is the back up point guard. Still, the memories of him dominating in Samsun won't fade that easily, and it also can't be ignored that when he is given enough playing time for his team he leaves his mark, especially on defense.

Isaiah Hartenstein (98', 7-0, PF, Germany, Zalgiris)

He still plays sparingly. His team knows that he will declare for the draft and probably leave for the NBA, so it doesn't make much sense to give him much playing time. Still, Isaiah Hartenstein has managed to have some really good games in the Lithuanian League, with double-figures in rebounds. He remains an intriguing prospect, since players his size, touch around the basket, passing ability and tecnique remain a rarity. Even though there are some flaws in his game, most of them are workable and that's probably the main reason he will get looks in the lottery.

Jonah Bolden (96', 6-9, SF/PF, Australia, FMP)

The former UCLA player surprised a lot of people when he decided to leave the “Bruins” and travel all the way to Europe to play professional basketball for FMP. With that said, the truth is that the Australian prospect has been really solid until now. He is spending a lot of time as a power forward, averaging 12.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in ABA League and he had some really good games, taking advantage his advanced athleticism and ability to create his own shot for a big. Will that be enough to get him drafted?

Alpha Kaba (96', 6-10, PF, France, Mega Leks)

He is spending more time at center than he would probably want, but this doesn't prevent him from showing his skill set. The French prospect has near double-double averages with points and rebounds, with his athleticism being his major weapon thus far, although he has been improving in other areas too. There is also a red flag though: He shoots below 30% from 3-point range. With stretch-4s and even stretch-5s being a necesity these days, this has hurt his stock, but he still can be considered a second rounder.

Anzejs Pasecniks (95', 7-2, C, Latvia, Gran Canaria)

If he was two years younger he could possibly be considered a first rounder. But at 22, it's unlikely. After three years where he was mostly underachieving, Pasecniks has actually been pretty solid in limiting playing time with his team, with his per 36 minutes stats being really good. Pasceniks is nowhere near fellow Latvian's player Kristaps Porzingis' level. He needs to bulk up, he is an average rebounder for his size and position and has a lot of ups and downs, but, he is more mobile and athletic than someone would expect for a player his size, is constantly improving on Pick and Roll situations, has a nice touch around the basket (going all the way to Europe 3-point range) and his footwork with his back to the basket is above average, attributes that may get him selected in the second round.

Who's Cold

Kostja Mushidi (98', 6-5, SG, Germany, Mega Leks)

After a good, but not great, showing in Samsun's U18 European Championship, the German prospect looked like a man on a mission at the beginning of 2017, playing at a very high level. But then, suddenly, he looked like he lost hismojo as he closed January with consecutive bad perfomances. And that's probably Mushidi's biggest problem right now: He is incosistent. Still, you can't ignore the fact that he won't even turn 19 until June and he is holding his ground at the senior level, when other players his age don't even see the floor, which combined with his upside makes him a really interesting prospect.

Marko Guduric (95', 6-6, SG, Serbia, Crvena Zvezda)

Playing for the hottest team in the EuroLeague in the last 6 weeks with a streak of 7 wins, the Serbian guard saw his playing time and role reduced, as he was the “victim” of the decision of his coach to use a bigger rotation. Guduric will probably bounce back in the future, mainly because he has a strong personality, but the truth is he taken a step back this past month. He is still a late second rounder though.

Nik Slavica (97', 6-8, SG, Croatia, Cibona)

He has so many ups and downs that is almost frustrating. He can look like an NBA player one day and like a mediocre player the next. Slavica is probably as unpredictable as anyone, but his athleticism and length certainly help his stock. What doesn't help his stock though, and it's an even bigger red flag than his incosistency, is his shooting, since he shoots 7.7% from 3-point range in Croatian League (not a typo, he is actually shooting at 7.7%) and just 20% in Basketball Champions League. With that kind of shooting you can't really expect him to go in this year's draft if he decides to declare.

Jonathan Jeanne (97', 7-2, C, France, Nancy)

The clock is ticking for the French prospect, who saw his team, Le Mans, give him on loan to Nancy so that he could have more playing time. Well, Jeanne is definitely playing more, but for now it hasn't made much difference for him, since he is still struggling to adjust to the Senior level. The French League is a fairly athletic League that plays at a high tempo, similar to the NBA and that's why so many French players have been able to make the transition to the NBA. If Jeanne continues to struggle like this though, it's difficult to imagine him being any better in the NBA, at least not right away. He is still intriguing, but as time continues to pass he must show something to the scouts if he wants to remain in consideration as an impact guy.

Vasileios Charalampopoulos (97', 6-8, SF/PF, Greece, Panathinaikos)

There was a time, not too long ago, that the Greek prospect was considered as one of the best players of his generation in Europe. The last couple of years haven't really backed up this belief. The MVP of the 2015 European Championship has been disappointing this year, stuck on a team full of experienced forwards. He is a tweener, but not in a good way, and continually fighting for playing time. He is still as sharp as ever, his court vision is great, his back to the basket game is getting better. But he hasn't been able to demonstrate most of his skills and if he isn't able to do that any time soon he will have a problem.

Michael Fusek (95', 7-5, C, Belgium, Spirou Charleroi)

He is big, more athletic than you would expect for someone his size and possesses nice coordination. But he hasn't been able to crack the rotation on a consistent level. Fusek's draft stock will probably be judged by what he does in workouts with NBA teams, since it is difficult for anyone to have a clear picture of him just by watching him sparingly. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on, as this has been the case for a while now.

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