|EA7 Emporio Armani Milan||2||1||21||104,7||105|
|Laboral Kutxa Vitoria||1||2||-1||110,8||106,6|
|Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul||0||3||-30||118,1||109,6|
|Anadolu Efes Istanbul||0||3||-35||100,6||107,3|
|Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv||3||0||25||111,7||101,4|
|FC Bayern Munich||2||1||0||112,5||110|
|Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar||1||2||-16||101,3||103|
|Partizan NIS Belgrade||1||2||-21||97,5||108,8|
|Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul||0||3||-12||105,1||110,2|
NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS - BIGS
4. Mouhammadou Jaiteh (JSF Nanterre)
6'11" - born in 1994 - France
Along with Dennis Schröder, French Mouhammadou Jaiteh was one of the success stories of last year's Nike Hoop Summit.
With impressive physicality at a young age (7'4" wingspan), Jaiteh has been able to dominate in amateur and youth circles fairly easily. Popping on the stage in 2010 at the U16 Euro Championship, Jaiteh excelled as a rebounder and finisher inside albeit in a rather low usage role. 2011 was a year of tests for Jaiteh who didn't only impress at the U18 Euro Championship (11.7 pts, 9.8 rebs in 25 minutes of play) but was also asked to take on an extended role on the Centre Fédéral de Basket-Ball team. Jaiteh might have been younger than most players in the competition, given his body it was still disappointing to see him struggling so ba to score near the rim (39% on 154 2FGA). Strong rebounding and drawing fouls stayed a common theme for him but scoring just 4.6 points in 18 minutes and not showing much on the defensive end started becoming a concern.
Jaiteh had to take a leap in the Youth League with a year of experience under his belt and he did. In 30 minutes per game, Jaiteh averaged 14.3 points with a much better rate at the rim and a solid jumper (55% on 281 2FGA and 143 FTA), 10.2 rebounds (3.8 ORBS), 1.1 assts, 1 block and 1 steal. Participating again at the U18 Euro Championship, Jaiteh finally also took on the role of a go-to-scorer with sucess, averaging 16.6 points in 28 minuts over 9 games (65% on twos) and a game high of 31 and 16 rebounds in 33 minutes against Denmark and Rasmus Larsen (see below).
After proving to have notched another level, Jaiteh was picked up by Boulogne of the Pro B, France's second highest league where he put up similar numbers to last year, scoring efficiently and often, rebounding like crazy and drawing foul after foul. This year, Jaiteh transferred to Euroleague participant JSF Nanterre. Ater not needing much other than his frame to dominate on the boards and the basket in the last two years, Jaiteh seems to struggle a little more against tougher competition, converting "only" 51.7% of his 2FGA in league play and struggling to make his presence felt on defense either as a shotblocker or help defender. He started struggling recently, going 7-21 over his last three games. After doing a solid job in the Euroleague, he's getting good minutes in the EuroCup (Nanterre participates there after being ousted from EL) and has been responding well. Great body, rebounder and an itnriguing jump shot, but there are concerns about his offensive rawness around the block and his defensive ability.
3. Kristaps Porzingis (Cajasol Sevilla)
6'11" - born in 1995 - Latvia
Wow, I really REALLY like this kid. Looking at the picture next to this text you might think that defense would be a weakness for this thin Latvian, but he reminds me a lot of Andrei Kirilenko at this side of the court despite obviously not being able to guard smaller threes. The IQ, activeness and athleticism is there though.
Like a Pau Gasol, Porzingis is one of the very rare European high upside late bloomers. Virtually unknown two years ago, Porzingis creeped his status to "decent talent" over the last year and eventually had his coming out party at the European Championship in 2013. There, Porzingis set a record of 4.9 blocks per game in 30 minutes per contest over a span of nine games. Add to that 11.7 points and 10 rebounds. In the bronze medal game against Spain with its top prospects Ilimane Diop (look below) and Marc Garcia, Porzingis almost had a triple double with 11 pts, 15 rebounds and 9 shots.
As a late bloomer, Porzingis is catching up quickly now after signing with Cajasol Sevilla of the Spanish ACB two yeras ago. After getting spot minutes in the league as well as European club competitions, Porzingis is seeing constant minutes in Europe's best league at a very young age alongside talented young teammates like Ondrej Balvin and Willy Hernangomez. In 13 minutes per game, K-Porz rebounds 2.3 misses, blocks 0.9 shots and gets 0.9 steals. His 2FG% of 41% might seem like a concern, but we have to keep in mind that Porzingis is crazy young to play with such competition. Also, he's by far more an outside big than an inside big as evidenced by an alarmingly poor rate of drawn free throws that extends to his days as an U1X-amateur. He will definately need to find a balance here but he's already flashing terrific ballhandling skills which were good enough to get him past defenders and to the rim among his peers. He's not very good and somewhat clueless near the basket when he has to initiate action and I hope he'll work on that since it's a glaring weakness in his offensvie reportoire. He's looking solid as an off ball guy spotting up at the three point line and using his athleticism and IQ to cut to the basket. The AK-comparison stops on offense here however as he has not shown any feeling for being an above average passer at his position. Despite being a sound shooter, he's had mixed success with three poitn range. With Cajasol, he's being encouraged to take threes at a decent clip and it has been working so far this season as he's hit 9 of 23 triples.
In this ACB season, the 18 year old has already showed flashes of his potential. His team's DRTG is much improved with him on the court. Against Euroleague team Laboral Kuxta Vitoria, the Latvian 12 pts, 6 rebs, 4 blks and 2 stls in 25 minutes. There's a lot to like about the way Cajasol is using Porzingis. He's not playing big minutes for them but is asked to do a lot in those minutes, running pick and rolls, looking to create his own shots on dribbles and carrying a pretty significant usage on offense. Just a nice situation for him unlike another super talent born in 1995, Mario Hezonja. He's the prospect that I am most confident about becoming a lottery pick.
2. Rasmus Larsen (La Bruixa d'Or)
6'11" - born in 1994 - Denmark
Larsen stepped onto the scene as a fundamentally sound big but people questioned whether he really had big time potential as a finesse big who relies his jumpshot too much and can't dominate in the paint due to a lack of physicality. After being pushed around a little too much in European camps, Larsen has bulked up significantly and might actually be the most promising European big man, if only offensively.
Despite being so young, Larsen got his name into scouting books in 2009 already when he played spot minutes as a 15-year old on Denmark's U16 team at the European Championship. One year later, he logged 30 minutes at the same competition, averaging 13 pts, 8 rebs, 2.6 blks and 1.1 stls. Larsen indicated that he saw himelf as a versatile big, attempting 22 three pointers while having trouble establishing himself down low, converting only 39% of his 80 2FGAs.
One year later, Larsen began playing professionally with a Danish team as well as participating in the U18 championship, and proving to be the player scouts saw a year before - experimenting with outside shots and struggling inside as a finisher and rebounder. Larsen started bulking up and looking to make his presence felt inside too but didn't change much during these last two years. This year, Spanish ACB team La Bruixa D'Or decided to take a chance on him and making him their starting center. There, Larsen forms a fun duo with 1993-born Swedish sharpshooter Marcus Eriksson. Larsen had a terrific start to the season as ACB MVP of the first week, scoring 21 pts with 13 rebs, 1 blk and 1 stl in 25 minutes over Joventut Badalona. Ever since, Larsen production has come down significantly and he's shooting just 44.2% on 2FGA's. He's still shooting it well from deep and rebounding well on the offensive glass, but struggled to convert shots in general as well as having problems with turnovers which made his minutes come down to <20 over the last few games. We shouldn't forget though that Larsen is still extremely young and so far doing a decent job playing a tough position in Europe's best league and on a young team.
1. Ilimane Diop (Laboral Kutxa)
6'10" - born in 1995 - Spain
6'10" with a wingspan of ~7'4" or maybe even ~7'5". That is most of what you need to know about Ilimane Diop. Physically, Diop is an impressive freak but has the obvious problems that guys with his stature (well, there are not that many...) have. A very high center of gravitity which makes it hard for him to do explosive moves and fight for balance which makes him turnover prone. He still has a knack for avoiding being trapped by twisting and turning hsi body like an eel to get some sort of angle around a defender and twoards a basket which is often enough to get a decent look thanks to his long body. Also, he seems to do a good job positioning on his guard's drives which makes him an easy and open target for hand-offs around the basket.
Diop came to Spain at a young age and after catching the eye of basketball scots was quickly granted a Spanish passport. Diop spent the last few years dunking on and blocking shots of unfortunate European teen migets (apart from Kristaps Porzingis - look above!)
This year, Diop is playing full time for Euroleague team Laboral Kuxta Vitoria where he longs just under 10 minutes per game so it might be a little tough to say anything about him at this point as he's still so young. Sure, guys like Portzingis and Larsen are playing big minutes at a similar age already but Diop's physical frame is uncanny. Also, some scouts say that he is not merely a Rudy Gobert even though he's also a low usage player in the pro's so far. But Diop is already showing a smooth jumper and a real feel for the game. Let's see.