Player of the Week
Leo Westermann (1992, PG, France, 6’6”, Partizan Belgrade)
After a rather disappointing game against Olimpija Ljubljana (4 points, 1 assist and 2 turnovers in 16 minutes) the French point guard had a really solid performance in his last game against Cedevita Zagreb: 13 points and 4 assists in 31 minutes, guiding his team to a 77-76 comeback victory. Westermann is a legit PG with great size and a huge basketball IQ, he plays the role of offensive facilitator exploiting his height in the passing lanes. Plus he plays the pick and roll effectively, with the ability to read situations, choosing to attack the basket or to pass the ball to the cutter. He lacks athleticism and lateral speed, but he’s able to withstand contact often getting to the rim. His main shortcomings are the lack of athleticism and the poor consistency of his 3 point shot, fundamental where he needs to work on the mechanics adding some fluidity. He’s a vocal leader with lots of personality, he’s not scared to take over responsibilities, he also has a great work ethic and mental toughness which allows him to sustain the infinite training sessions of Dule Vujosevic. He struggles defensively against smaller and quicker point guards due to a limited foot speed, but on the offensive side he can exploit his size. He’s still facing the increased level of competitiveness of ABA league compared to the French PROA, and this explains some lack of consistency in his performances (7.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists), but his unique style of play and size makes him a promising prospect for the 2014 NBA draft, when he will be auto-eligible.
Mohammadou Jaiteh (1994, C, France, 6’9”, Boulogne-sur-Mer) and Rudy Gobert (1992, C, France, 7’0”, Cholet)
There were at least 21 NBA scouts and executives (including Maurizio Gherardini, Sam Presti and Wes Wilcox) in the attendance of the French Cup Game between Cholet and Boulogne-sur-Mer, which was held January 26th . The game was won by Boulogne-sur-Mer with Jaiteh finishing with 13 points and 6 rebounds, on the other side Gobert collected 14 points with 13 boards. Jaiteh’s stock is significantly rising, during his last PROB game against Fos-sur-mer he had an astonishing performance with 31 points and 17 boards. There are still some doubts about the level of competition he’s facing, but he’s already projected as an early second round pick and he could even get better.
Gobert is putting solid numbers in his last games, against Villeurbanne he had 9 points and 5 boards, showing more consistency than the beginning of the season. He should be a better rebounder for his height, plus he still lacks a reliable offensive game, but he can still clinch a late first round pick.
Dario Saric (1994, PF, Croatia, 6’10”, Cibona Zagreb)
Saric started his season with at least three months of delay, due to the lawsuit between his team and Bilbao regarding his buyout. His choice to play with Cibona Zagreb, a club with limited economical resources that is giving him lots of minutes on the court, was rewarded eventually. He’s putting some solid numbers on the court, averaging 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 23 minutes, in his last game against Red Star Belgrade he had 9 points 7 rebounds and 2 assists, showing his all-around potential. He still needs to work on his outside shot, in particular adding consistency, but his offensive skillset and ability to play multiple roles could grant him a late lottery pick.
Giannis Adetokoubo (1994, SF, Nigeria/Greece, 6’9”, Filathlitikos)
The Greek born Adetokoubo is probably the most intriguing sleeper of the 2013 NBA draft, with his name unknown even to scouts before the beginning of this season. Son of Nigerian immigrants, he was enrolled with his older brother (20 years old) Athanasios Adetokoubo by Filiathlitikos Academy, an ambitious club which will probably play in Greek A1 next year. Adetokoubo has amazing physical skills, rapidity and athleticism, combined with the ability to play basically four roles on the court. He’s rather raw from a technical standpoint, and he definitely needs to work on his shot, but the ceiling is huge. He’s averaging 7.9 points 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in Greek A2, but he definitely needs to be tested at a higher level of competition. Adetokoubo will possibly be part of the 2013 adidas Eurocamp in June and explore the option of entering the 2013 draft within the month of March.
Edo Muric (1991, SF, Slovenia, 6’7”, Krka Novo Mesto)
The automatically-eligible forward of Krka Novo Mesto was confirmed to have a broken big toe on his left foot and will have to rest at least three weeks. This means that his ABA League season could be considered over, and he will only return to the court for the final phase of the Slovenian national championship. Muric was averaging 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds, with a couple of performances over 20 points, elevating his status as one of the best prospects in the league.
Bojan Dubljevic (1991, PF, Montenegro, 6’9”, Valencia Basket)
Dubljevic is having a solid season with Valencia both in ACB and Eurocup, averaging respectively 12 points and 3 rebounds and 13.2 points and 4.5 rebounds. Nevertheless his efficiency has significantly decreased during the last few weeks, with a couple of bad performances: 4 points and -5 of overall ranking against Zaragoza, 6 points in 18 minutes against Cajasol Sevilla. His maturity and technical skills are his main strengths and the aspect that still make him a reliable prospect for the second round, but he needs more consistent efficiency in the remaining months of the season.
Bogdan Bogdanovic (1992, SG, Serbia, 6’6”, Partizan Belgrade)
Bogdanovic was among the highly touted prospects of the Serbian 1991-1992 generation, thanks to his combination of size (he definitely has an NBA body), athleticism and intensity. Nevertheless his draft stock is dropping this season, with the emergence of flaws that are limiting his offensive impact. At the youth level his slashing style of game was based on his physical strength, but with the increase of competition level he has showed the need to develop his game. In fact his shooting skills are definitely a huge point of concern, with 44% from 2 points and a terrible 18% behind the arc. He’s averaging 4.5 points 1.9 rebounds and 0.7 assists this season.