Understanding our assets: Henk Norel vs. Ryan Hollins

Wasn't planning on writing a second one of these, but I got to wondering about the great Rubio throw-in, Henk Norel. So here it is - what started as something for sh#ts and giggles has kind of gotten me scratching my head a bit. Perhaps (with all the potential Euros on the team) we'll have to be known as the Timberwolfe, or Hout Wolven, or дрво вукови, or Los Lobos de la Madera. Or perhaps, following typical European multi-national group naming conventions we should just call ourselves unie Union des loups d'Amérique du Nord.


I digress, onto the comp!

translated and per 36'd:

Henk Norel - 11.1 pts, 10 rebs, 1.4 asts, .480 fg%

Ryan Hollins - 13.1 pts, 6.1 rebs, 1.5 asts, .554 fg%


Physicals and other stuff:

Henk - 6'-11", 212 lbs, 22 years old

Ryan - 6'-11", 225 lbs, 25 years old


My two cents before I put their scouting reports up here from DX - I assumed Henk was a throw in draft pick, you know, we took him because he played with Rubio and maybe would help us get Rubio over here, blah blah blah. Looking at his translated numbers, though, and more specifically watching Ryan Hollins play this year, has made me reconsider my perspective on Henk. I think my new position is summed up best this way: if, in surveying the available options out there we are left with Ryan Hollins, I would rather have Henk Norel.

From DX:

Henk Norel. Best case: Jeff Foster, Worst Case: Fabricio Oberto (who put up two good years in SAS

Sounds like he's been hurt this year and has looked good and bad in spurts, but here's the potential:

December 13, 2008
DKV Joventut has continued to draw a steady amount of NBA scouts this season, thanks to the play of their 21-year old Dutch big man Henk Norel. He’s having a pretty successful rookie season in both the Euroleague and ACB, playing around 14 minutes per game, and being relatively productive in his time on the court.

Playing somewhat of a limited role offensively, Norel is getting his offensive production the way you would expect based on his profile—running the floor extremely hard (often being the first one down the court), crashing the offensive glass (showing a great knack for finding loose balls), and making some basic moves in the post. His length, activity level and touch come to good use here, and he’s using his excellent extension around the rim to throw in some very elegant hook shots with both hands and really nice touch. Smart on the pick and roll, he rolls off the ball with purpose and is capable of catching and finishing above the rim in strong fashion once there, making him a very reliable target. He even hit a 3-pointer last week in the ACB, although he’s only shooting 62% from the free throw line on a limited number of attempts.

Defensively, he is competing, as you would expect, but he suffers at times going up against stronger players who can back him down and take advantage of his lack of strength—making him a bit foul prone. He struggles with screens, looks inexperienced at times with his off-ball defense, and can get outmuscled going after defensive rebounds (his per-minute production here is poor).

Norel was knocked out of the Rome game on two separate occasions, once after taking an elbow to the nose, and once after hurting his knee following a vicious hip-check from Andre Hutson—while already wearing a mask. The crowd seems to love the energy he brings to the floor, and serenaded him with chants as he limped to the bench. Norel draws unanimous praise from coaches for his work ethic and team spirit.

Considering the way he looks, and what we know about him already, it wouldn’t be shocking to see someone pull the trigger on drafting him in the late first round—he’s automatically eligible as a 1987 born player. If an NBA GM thinks that his body will be able to put on 15-20 pounds over the next few years, he could be getting a very productive role-player to bring off the bench at the 4/5 position. One NBA scout we spoke with compared him with San Antonio Spurs big man Fabricio Oberto.

I would also add that it sounds like he could develop into a guy who's role would be to defend the Dirk's of the world - or at least he would be viewed as the long, pogo stick PF we've been talking about drafting in this year's draft.


Ryan Hollins. Best Case: Mikki Moore, Worst Case: someone I've never heard of.

Instead of quoting their scouting report on him from last August (which basically describes what we've all seen this year), I think looking at his prospect scouting report is more telling (in short he hasn't improved).

June 9, 2006

Hollins physical ability is top-notch for a player his size. Hollins has a lithe, long build with solid upper body strength and a slim waist. His mobility is excellent as he can run the floor as well as any big in this draft. Hollins has explosive power and quickness when attacking the rim. Having the opportunity to watch Hollins workout the day before, it was obvious that trainer Rico Hines had done his job preparing his player for maximum endurance while maintaining his explosive lift throughout. Hollins also possesses some nice skills for a big man. His mid range jumper is consistently solid from 15-17 feet and he can finish softly or with authority around the rim. Hollins also was extremely vocal and showed tremendous passion throughout the competitive work.

As far as weaknesses are concerned, there are a few things that Hollins must work on to be a top of the rotation player in the NBA. During the competitive workout, Hollins lost focus in a number of different instances. This was something that showed itself a bit the previous day when he had to be reminded on a few occasions on what to do during a given drill. In the competitive workout, Hollins got caught "ball-watching" when the guards had the ball. This caused him to be out of position for a number of rebounds, but also seemed to be a principle factor in his biggest flaw, composure. It is common for players to jaw at each other and be physical, which Hollins certainly was. But, physicality must be used within the context of game play and Hollins allowed Johnson’s constant contact and work to take away his focus and start reacting with inappropriate retaliatory elbows and shoving.

Overall, Hollins has great physical tools to make a living in the NBA. As a seven footer with his skill set and athleticism, he should have no trouble finding a spot for himself on the next level. Hard work and dedication to improvement will determine just how much success Hollins has on that next level. It is clear that Hollins has put a tremendous amount of work in developing his physical strength and endurance, so he has the mental toughness to work that’s for sure. But, Hollins must also work on his feel for the game and learn how to apply his physical gifts to the nuances of the game that are critical for high level success.


And just for fun, a comparison of each player's Best and Worst case comps:

BEST - Jeff Foster, 44.1 career WS (4.0 WS/season) > Mikki Moore 22.5 career WS (1.875 WS/season)

WORST - Fabricio Oberto, 13.5 career WS (2.7 WS/season) > Eddy Fobbs (doesn't have an entry in basketball-reference)

Two observations of note: 1) Hollins is currently racking up WS (imperfect stat as it is) at a rate of less than half of Mikki Moore's career average (Hollins, .85 WS/season, Moore 1.875 WS/season); 2) Henk Norel's worst case comp is better than Hollins' best case comp (Oberto, 2.7 WS/season > Moore, 1.875 WS/season - furthermore in less than half of Moore's career Oberto's accumulated more than half of Moore's career WS.)

Hey, the Twins have had success with Dutch guys, why shouldn't the Twolves give one a shot?

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