Four of the sixteen present teams really stood out above the rest. Champion Greece, finalist France, bronze medalist Spain and Lithuania (5th place). The Baltic team however got surprised by Italy in the quarter final. As far as pure talent is concerned, this tournament offered us a fair share of players of whom you can expect to consolidate a nice future on the European continent. However obvious NBA talent was very scarce.
Starting now with a summary of the top players.
EDWIN JACKSON, Shooting Guard, 63, France, 1989
16 PPG; 3.3 RPG; 1.4 APG
Jackson has quite a strong frame, enjoys good athleticism and decent quickness. Hes also a pretty reliable ball-handler who can slash to the basket. However his game lives and dies with his jump shot. Able to create his own shot or spot up on the catch and shoot, he has a really nice rhythm on his jumper with great lift. He doesnt usually create much for his teammates, even though he has really good awareness both on offense and defense.
On defense he always gives good intensity and tries to stay in front of his opponent, not getting stuck behind screens too often. Definitely a solid piece in this aspect. Something else still worth mentioning is the fact that he seems to emerge as the vocal leader in huddles.
As a specialist (outside shooter) he may have a remote chance of making the NBA, however his future may look more promising for Europe, where he could play at the highest level in due time.
ANTOINE DIOT, PG/SG, 63, France, 1989
11.7 PPG; 5.9 RPG; 5.2 APG; 2.4 ST/G
Even though he had several strong games, his offensive contribution wasnt always that consistent. On the other hand he contributed quite consistently in rebounding, catching an average of 6 rebounds per game. As well as dishing out 5 assists per game. Also defensively hes quite aggressive and intense, as he has decent lateral footspeed and also quick hands going for steals (averaged 2.4 a game).
Diot may have some NBA potential, as big point guards are always en vogue. The way the game is played in the NBA might actually suit better his style of play. Hell have to deliver at the senior level first, though, playing for Le Mans.
KARLO VRAGOVIC, PG, 63, Croatia, 1989
16 PPG; 2.9 RPG; 2.0 APG
Vragovic is also a crafty ball handler with both hands and decent passing skills. Even so, being a decent distributor on the perimeter, he doesnt have that superior court vision and awareness to throw around exciting passes or create for his teammates on a regular basis. He is a confident player whos certainly not afraid to take responsibility when it matters most.
On defense hes not a guy wholl get you many steals, but he brings very good intensity and is comfortable putting pressure on his opponent. He always tries to stay in front of his man, and has nice footspeed to avoid getting beat.
Vragovic is a player to follow and see how he develops against higher level competition. Hes probably not be an immediate draft prospect, but could have a very nice career in Europe.
BOJAN BOGDANOVIC, SG/SF, 67, Croatia, 1989
17.3 PPG; 5.6 RPG; 2.6 APG
Bogdanovic shows a strong frame with long arms, but his average athleticism and quickness do limit his possibilities to defend especially on mostly (quicker) shooting guards at the elite level. He does give a good effort on the defensive end, though, and he should be able to guard most small forwards.
Offensively hes got a variety of ways to score. Usually a quite reliable outside shooter, he shot only 31% from 3-point distance over 9 games here in Greece, although he did compensate for that by netting over half his 2-point attempts.
He shows good shooting range, but was not very successful creating his own shot off the dribble. He slashes pretty well to the basket, making use of a good first step and balance to go by defenders and finish at the rim. Due to his aggressiveness going towards the basket, he draws plenty of fouls, getting to the free throw line 6.5 times per game. When he drives, he certainly doesnt go blind to score. His court sense and passing is actually more than decent and he often finds his teammates for an easier shot.
The size advantage he often has over his defenders can also be exploited in the post, as he controls also that aspect fundamentally well (turn around jumpers, spin moves, ).
Although hes not the most agile player, Bojan is a very good ball handler and rebounder respectively. Left or right doesnt make a difference to dribble the ball up on more than one occasion.
Two question marks did emerge about him during this tournament. One was his high amount of turnovers (4 per game). The other was his mental toughness, at least to prove his value with the elite.
XAVIER RABASEDA, SG/SF, 67, Spain, 1989
15.6 PPG; 2.6 RPG; 1.4 APG; 2.8 ST/G
Rabasea shows an athletic and strong body with good legs. He likes to run the fastbreak and does that with good speed. He has very good size for his position, standing 6-7, but does not have great lateral quickness, doing an average job staying in front of most players at his position defensively. He also tends to gamble excessively in the passing lanes. He does show a decent defensive effort and general intensity, for example trying to recover and block a layup after getting beat off the dribble.
On offense his shooting is very streaky. Although hes got good range, he doesnt possess a quick release. Creating his own shots facing the basket isnt quite his thing either, even if he has improved it during the past years. He seems to be a bit more comfortable with turn-around jumpers posting up against often smaller match-ups. He is a pretty decent slasher if he can go to his stronger right hand, and is able to finish with good percentages near the basket. This tournament registered 33% from 3 point distance and almost 60% for his 2-point field goals. He also averaged almost 6 fouls shots per game, a demonstration of his initiative and aggressiveness going towards the rim.
Rabaesas ball-handling and passing skills are average, as he lacks great decision-making skills It would be nice to see him step up his game more consistently, as at this point hes certainly not a guy who leads on the court and takes over a game scoring wise when needed. As a rebounder he doesnt do a bad job either, particularly when he doesnt leak out trying to ignite the fast break.
Rabaseda should be able to compete for minutes on a lower to mid-level ACB team sometime in the not too distant future.
DAIRIS BERTANS, SG, 63, Latvia, 1989
16.3 PPG; 2.4 RPG; 1.6 APG
Bertans outside shooting isnt as reliable as you might expect, which can definitely be caused by his poor shot selection. He connected on only 33.3% of his 3 point shots. Also his free throw percentage definitely needs improvement at 67%. Bertrans does have the ability and confidence to take over a game and respond also in decisive moments. As a ball handler hes solid too, dribbling up in many occasions and pushing the ball well on the break.
Defensively hes surely able to do his part and with good intensity and lateral footspeed, able to defend very close-by without fouling or getting surpassed. His awareness on help defense on the other hand is improvable.
With continued development Bertans should be able to forge himself a nice career in Europe, although maybe not at the very highest level.
THOMAS HEURTEL, PG, 62, France, 1989
11 PPG; 2.1 RPG; 3.4 APG
In a couple of years hell probably be a member of the strong senior French National team too. Hes got many tools to become a very good player on the European scene, but may not possess the long-term upside for the NBA.
JANIS STRELNIEKS, Point Guard, 63, Latvia, 1989
14 PPG; 3.4 RPG; 1.9 APG
Although he may not have the physical tools to play at the highest level of basketball, he can still have a very professional nice career.
ZYGIMANTAS JANAVICIUS, PG, 64, Lithuania, 1989
11.2 PPG; 4.9 RPG; 3.4 APG
Defensively he is a very reliable piece, looking very intense in man to man settings and pressuring his opponent with good lateral footspeed. He came up with plenty of steals a in this championship (2.3). He also shows a great rebounding mentality, boxing out on the defensive end and collecting a strong 4.9 rebounds per game in turn.
The potential is clearly there, but a few years after we first looked at him, we must begin to ask whether he ever be able to make the most of it? Hell surely be given the opportunity with the very best Lithuanian teams to show how good he can become.
NIKOLAOS PAPPAS, PG, 64, Greece, 1990
12.8 PPG; 3.2 RPG; 2.3 APG
On offense he showed acceptable percentages during this tournament. For somebody whos traditionally not considered a great shooter with his relatively slow mechanics, the 40.6% he shot from the 3 point line are more than decent. Much of that is due to his very good shot selection, and also being part of a strong team where he has no need to force things on his own. Pappas is able to drive to the basket at times, using spin moves to get closer, and always keeping a clear view to assist to his teammates. Hes not a great finisher at the rim though due to his poor leaping ability. He generally moved the ball around pretty well and had a very good performance over the course of the championship.
Certainly not an NBA prospect due to his physical limitations, Pappas can surely forge himself a fine career in Europe, despite being an early bloomer.
ZORAN DRAGIC, SG, 64, Slovenia, 1989
16.3 PPG; 5.0 RPG; 1.2 APG; 2.5 ST/G
Although he can create his own shots off the dribble, his outside shooting is really quite bad, connecting on only 18% from downtown. He often tries to do a bit too much, forcing plays without involving his teammates, and looking much more comfortable in up tempo settings.
Defensively, hes very active in man to man, putting good pressure and attacking the passing lanes quite well, resulting in 2.5 steals per game. This doesnt mean he gambles all the time, as hes actually quite solid on team defense too. Another plus is the fact that he helps out a lot in rebounding.
Dragic probably doesnt share the NBA upside of his brother, but he should be able to at the very least make a nice living on Slovenias better teams.
DIMITRIY KHVOSTOV, PG, 62½ , Russia, 1989
4.6 PPG; 1.8 RPG; 6.1 APG
Khvostov is another very talented Russian player whos missing that little something extra to take the next step in his development. A lot will depend on how much his shooting advances to make an important quality jump at the senior level. Possibilities for him to work on a bright future in Europe, but over the years he has lost his condition as NBA prospect.
DANIELE SANDRI, SG, 64, Italy, 1990
6.4 PPG; 4.9 RPG; 1.0 APG