Player of the Month
Luka Doncic (99′, 6-7, PG/SG, Slovenia, Real Madrid)
The second month of the season finds Luka Doncic at the same spot as last: At the top. From time to time he looks… human, since he is being forced to carry his team, which has been hit by injuries. But there are moments where you are just wondering how an 18 years old is capable of being so composed. The Slovenian prospect has taken Europe by storm. He can be a scorer, a contributor and basically just about anything his team needs him to be. What’s even more impressive though is his efficiency, especially considering the burden he is carrying, with his last masterpiece coming againest Europe’s best defense (Olympiakos), where Doncic had 33 points on 12/21 shots and 5/7 Free throws, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Dzanan Musa (99′, 6-9, SG/SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cedevita)
If it wasn’t for Doncic, Musa would probably be the guy everybody would be talking about. The Bosnian prospect had a great month, showing his all around skillset. His ability to score in bunches remains his calling card, but what has really made everybody like him even more is his constantly improving shooting. His shooting release remains peculiar, but as long as the ball goes in the basket nobody will complain. Especially when Musa shoots around 40% from 3-point line this season. If he manages to keep his percentages up, he might go higher than a lot of people expect in this year’s draft.
Goga Bitadze (99′, 6-11, C, Georgia, Mega Bemax)
After an impressive first month, the Georgian prospect cooled down a little in November. His opponents respect him now, which makes it challenging for him to be effective. Still, Bitadze had a great showing against Partizan, when he faced former NBAer Samardo Samuels, holding his ground with an impressive double-double (19 pts, 10 rbs, 2 blks). He followed this performance with two duds and one more double-double, showing that consistency is an issue. But the talent and the upside is there and nobody can deny that.
Aleksa Radanov (98′, 6-8, SF, Serbia, FMP)
Radanov is one of the least advertized players of his generation. But the scouts can see that he has something special. And he showed that last month, having some great moments in the Adriatic League. The Serbian prospect is an all around forward, with average athleticism and a high basketball I.Q. It remains to be seen whether he is good enough to be considered an NBA prospect in the near future, but if he continues working hard, anything is possible.
Martynas Echodas (97′, 6-9, PF/C, Lithuania, Lietuvos Ritas)
He is considered one of the best bigs of his generation. Strong as an ox, great rebounder, good athlete with a high basketball I.Q, Echodas is having a great season and an he was really good this past month. Having consistent playing time, the Lithuanian prospect has shown flashes of his potential. He remains an old-school big though and a tweener with no shooting range, with his face up game needing a lot of work. If he manages to improve in that aspect of his game, he will have made a big step in his evolution as a player.
Laurynas Birutis (97′, 7-1, C, Lithuania, Siauliai)
His decision to play for Siauliai is proving to be the right one. Birutis is receiving lot of playing time and he has the benefit of being able to learn from his mistakes. He is having a very good season and he was pretty good last month. He needs work in just about everything and has to become a better rebounder and shot blocker. But he is big, long, and more athletic than a lot of people realize plus he’s got mobility and all these things work in his favor right now.
Arnoldas Kulboka (98′, 6-9, SF, Lithuania, Capo D’Orlando)
It’s been a roller-coaster month for the Lithuanian prospect. He looks great in one game and then dissapears in the next one. Kulboka had his best games while playing in the Italian League this month, scoring with ease and even assisting on the boards. Nobody ever questioned his ability to score the ball. It’s all the other little things that he has to improve upon, starting with his incosistency and ability to create for others. But with his assist/turnover ratio being 1/3 since the beginning of the season, it’s obvious that he still needs to work on his decision making.
Vanja Marinkovic (97′, 6-7, SG, Serbia, Partizan)
The Serbian prospect has been all over the place the past month. He is as streaky as it gets and consistency is an issue. When his shot is falling – and this happens more times than it doesn’t – he looks unstoppable. The problems start when he can’t score. And the reason is that he still hasn’t really shown the ability to remain effective when his shot isn’t falling. He still can’t create for his teammates at an acceptable level and hasn’t been able to mix it up on offense. For him to make the next step though, he has to be able to do at least one of those things.
Isaac Bonga (99′, 6-9, PG/SG, Germany, Fraport Frankfurt)
“Potential, potential, potential” remains the moto around Bonga. His performances this past month didn’t exactly live up to the expectations. But the moment someone thinks that maybe all this hype around Bonga is unjustified, he does something amazing and everyone is falling in love with him again. The German prospect remains raw and has a lot to work on, with his shooting and ability to create for himself being his biggest flaws. But he is young, athletic and long, with a great feel for the game and when he manages to adjust to his body and improve upon his weaknesses, he could be really good.
Rodions Kurucs (98′, 6-8, SF, Latvia, Barcelona II)
Having to play for his national team, Kurucs was forced to miss some games of Barcelona II. Basically Kurucs played sparingly and didn’t really have the chance to do a lot. That’s the second month in the row that the Latvian prospect failed to show what he could do on the court. The season is still young, but for him to see his stock rise, he really has to step up his game.
Elie Okobo (97′, 6-2, PG, France, Pau Ortez)
It has been a really bad month for Okobo. After a great start, the French prospect struggled with his shot in November and wasn’t really able to make a difference for his team. Okobo has really improved this season and he has NBA potential. But it’s necessary for him to find consistency and at the same time convince scouts that he can be a good floor general, and that’s something he failed to do last month.
Tryggvi Hlinason (97′, 7-1, C, Iceland, Valencia)
He plays sparingly at best, but at least he had some decent playing time this past month. Hlinaon has long ways to go and if his playing time doen’t increase soon, he will probably have to forget any thoughts about the current draft. He will still have one more year of eligibility and a lot of scouts wait for his improvement. But as things stand now, and despite a solid performance against Maccabi, Hlinason hasn’t shown enough yet. He remains intriguing though.
Abdoulaye N'Doye (98′, 6-7, PG, France, Cholet)
His playing time remains incosistent, so that makes it difficult for him to find his rhythm. Still, N’doye had some good moments last month. His defense, length and atleticism remain his strong points and he as shown flashes of his potential. But he has to be able to show something more in the near future, especially on the offensive end, if he wants to declare for this year’s draft and have a chance to get picked.
Kostja Mushidi (98′, 6-5, SG, Germany, Mega Bemax)
He is out of rhythm. His shot isn’t falling. He doesn’t even do the little things that he used to do. This past month wasn’t good for the German prospect, who had some injuries to blame for his incosistency. Mushidi remains a prospect with some NBA potential and he showed that last season. He will probably bounce back when he gets his feet under him, but for the time being his stock isn’t in a good place.