Stock Up

Frank Ntilikina (98′, 6-5, France, Strasbourg)

Frank "Nitty" Ntilikina’s stock seems to be on the rise again. The French prospect is still the starting point guard of his team, although he won’t turn 19 until late in July, which says a lot about his talent and ability. He might not score a lot at this point, but he is not asked to do that. He is asked to play hard defense and make sure that all his teammates will be involved in offense and he is doing just that, with good results. What’s impressive though is his assist/turnover ratio this past month (5 to 1). Ntilikina hasn’t commited more than 1 turnover in almost two months (!) which is even more impresive if you take in consideration that he is playing in a League with great athletes and an uptempo game, similar to the NBA.

Rodions Kurucs (98′, 6-8, SF, Latvia Barcelona B)

Incosistency remains an issue for Rodions Kurucs. But he really can’t do a lot when his role is continually changing game to game. The Latvian prospect is still a work in progress, but he is just too talented to be ignored. The combination of his size, scoring ability and solid athleticism make him a really intriguing player, especially if a team plans to stash him in Europe for a couple of years. His team, Barcelona, has reportedly expressed the desire to lock him up with a new contract, but this won’t hurt his stock, which seems to be steady for now.

Mathias Lessort (95′, 6-9, PF/C, France, Nanterre 92)

The French prospect has clearly put himself on the map for this year’s draft (he is automatically eligible) thanks to his strong showing this season. He is an undersized center with a great body and terrific athleticism, who plays with great motor. The last couple of months he has been really impressive, with a lot of double-doubles and he seen his stock on the rise. With that said, it should be noted that he is fairly limited on the offensive end and it looks difficult for him to become something more than a role player in the NBA. On the other hand, not everyone has to be a star, right?

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

With each passing day, Jonah’s Bolden decision to leave UCLA and come to Europe looks better and better. The Australian prospect continued to dominate in ABA League this past month. Sure, the level of competition isn’t always that high, but that doesn’t change the fact that Bolden looks really good. He is a nice athlete and when the time for the draft comes, the teams will know that he had a full year under his belt playing the role of the Go-to guy in a professional team. If he manages to convince teams that his good percentages from European 3-point line isn’t a fluke, then his stock will go even higher.

Andzejs Pasecniks (95′, 7-2, C, Latvia, Gran Canaria)

As basketball evolves, it’s rare to see players of Pasecniks’ size dominate as they did several years ago, with little exceptions. Still, there will always be room for supersized centers with good mobility and scoring touch, as the Latvian prospect possesses. Pasecniks had some good games this past month and a great one, when he had 24 points and 7 rebounds against Estudiantes. His stock is definitely on the rise again and there are enough teams who could take a look on him.

Aleksandar Vezenkov (95′, 6-9, PF, Bulgaria, FC Barcelona)

After a rocky first year at Barcelona, Aleksandar Vezenkov got his groove back this season. With his team getting hit by the injury bug, the Bulgarian prospect had an expanding role and used the opportunity superbly. He was consistent all season and pretty good this past month. Vezenkov’s biggest strength was always his ability to score from just about everywhere, while his biggest weakness was – and still is – his lack of athleticism. The best case scenario for him is to get selected in the second round of this year’s draft, but that doesn’t change the fact that his stock is on its way up this season.

Stock Down

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

The German’s prospect stock took a hit after an unimpressive showing at the Nike Hoop Summit. When that dust settled, it’s easy to forget that although he is far from ready for the NBA, he still has an interesting skillset and very good upside. This past month he had his ups and downs in the Lithuanian League, mainly because his playing time changes drastically from game to game. What probably concerns scouts is his incosistent shooting, which is a result of his bad shooting mechanics. But that’s something he can work on.

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

Mushidi failed to impress the scouts at the Nike Hoop Summit, leaving a lot to be desired, although he performed well in the game against Team USA. His stock took a major hit and not even his good performances in ABA League helped him. The German prospect has some really nice tools, like an elite wingspan (over 7 feet), good – but not great – athleticism and nice upside, but he is far from ready and that was more than obvious at the Nike Hoop Summit.

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

Things aren’t going well for the French prospect. Alpha Kaba seems to have stalled the last couple of months, having a number of really bad games in a row. And it sure didn’t help his stock that Jonah Bolden shined in their matchup while he was just average. Kaba is projected as a power forward in the NBA, but this year he has been used almost exclusively as a center. To make things even worse, he seems to have stopped shooting from the perimeter, which was suppose to be his trump card. Kaba is still intriguing thanks to his athleticism, length and Stretch-4 potential, but he really has to elevate his game if he wants to see his stock rise again.

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

After several months of little playing time and a lot of bench warming, Jonathan Jeanne finally had the chance to get on the floor, with encouraging results. He had some really good games and he was really close to a double-double in one of them. Jeanne’s stock has taken major hits the last two years, mainly because he was either playing sparingly or not at all, but maybe this past month helped him to earn his confidence back. He made some solid plays at the NBA Draft Combine, but is still too much of a project for most teams liking, and should probably pull his name out once again.

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

By all measures, this has been a disastrous season for Nik Slavica. Once considerd an early second rounder, the Croatian’s prospect stock spiraled this year. His playing time was all over the place, his role was reduced, his shooting wasn’t on and he was even used out of position for a while as a power forward. Things got even worse last month when he left his team due to unpaid dues. He still has some fans amoung scouts, but for him to get drafted he really has to impress through workouts.

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

After a strong beginning to the season, Marko Guduric has slowed down. His role has remained untoutched and he has been incosistent, but he can still be considered a second rounder, because of his strong personality, versatility, playmaking ability and shooting range. Guduric’s game probably translates best to Europe, but if he finds the right system he could become a good role player in the NBA.


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