January 2004: A great shooter, Vassiliadis can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court, although he specializes from three point range. He's very fast releasing his jumper, and he has the ability to get his shot off in many different ways, over the arms of defenders if needed. He can catch and shoot, launch off the dribble, off a screen, in motion, make turnaround jumpers, or almost any other way you can imagine. It's just an instinct for him to shoot the ball. He's very confident, and he won't give up shooting even if he's not having his best day.
But that's not all. Vassiliadis can flat-out pass the ball. He sees the court very well and knows where to put it too. I'm not talking just about assists, but more about keeping the offense fluid by using his knack for keeping the ball moving quickly in the offensive set, and just making good decisions in the open court. You can tell by watching him that he has a high basketball IQ. He also has good handles, and has no problem dribbling the ball with either hand in transition or when penetrating.
Costas is an intense defender. He will usually come up with some steals because of his activity in this department. Because he's a winner and knows the game is played on both ends of the court, he won't neglect his defensive duties despite being a shining spot on the offensive end. He's such a competitor that you can see him getting on his teammates' case (some of them quite older and veteran) when they miss an assignment on defense, or because of a poor decision on offense. He is a leader, or at least he tries to be one. It's not hard at all to get the picture that he plays with passion, and the crowd loves him as he transmits that passion to them with his body language, gesticulating, regretting errors and celebrating success.
He's quite a mature player for his age, and he's rewarded for that with big minutes on the court. This is truly uncommon for a player so young on one of the best teams in such a strong league as the Greek league.
3/10/05 edit: Vassiliadis now seems more capable of settling down when his coach asks him to. He can co-operate with other players easily, despite his star character. Actually, he has quickly switched his profile to a more team-oriented one.
January 2004: Costas' main adversary for a hypothetical NBA career is his athleticism. He's not a slow player at all, but he noticeably lacks explosiveness. As a shooting threat, he has good opportunities to penetrate, and he does this in Europe quite well, but his first step wouldn't even be average for an NBA perimeter player. His vertical leap also isn't off the charts. He would have a really hard time finishing strongly in traffic.
Defensively, his lateral quickness may not be enough for the athletical standards of today's NBA wing players. He lacks strength, badly if you consider the small forward position possibility. There is no doubt right now that he needs to hit the weight room.
As good of a shooter as Costas is, he's still rather streaky. His shot selection also isn't always the best. Being so confident with his jumper leads him to make bad decisions sometimes. He sometimes could more often use his gifted vision court instead of taking the jumper so frequently. As a hot blooded player, extremely passionate, eventual frustration on the court can lead him to hasty decisions, and therefore, to more mistakes.
3/10/05 edit: Costas has lately started to disappear in hot games and this is worrying. After a couple of rising seasons, he seems to have reached a plateau, even looking out of gas in the last quarter of crucial games. For the first time, he looks unstable, with many ups and downs, and this costs his team a lot. He has limited his offensive attempts to only a few 3-point shots and his explosiveness has taken a step back. Plus, when you see him playing against players his age, his game doesn't seem to be as superior as it was a couple of years ago.
January 2004: Costas has been getting big minutes in PAOK since the 2002/2003 season. This present year (03/04) he has become one of the top-15 scorers in the Greek League. In junior categories, he led Greece, along Sofocles Schortsianitis, to bronze medals in both European and World Junior Championships.
3/10/05 edit: This year he plays in the ULEB Cup and the Greek A1. In PAOK's quest for winning the ULEB Cup, Costas averages 14.3 ppg (shooting 81% for free throws, 49% from the field and an impressive 42% from behind the arc), 3.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.6 spg and 2.0 tpg.
In the A1, his stats have decreased significantly after the season's first half. After a strong start, he now averages 12.9 ppg (compared to last year's 15.7 ppg) in 32.5 mpg. He shoots 51.7% and 46% from the 3-point line. He also averages 4.4 rpg, 1.8 apg and 1.0 spg.
January 2004: It's not likely Costas will declare for the draft this year. Despite his good season, skills and maturity, his chances of slipping into the first round are very low, although being a second rounder wouldn't be out of order.
3/10/05 edit: According to his agent, Vassiliadis will place his name in the 2005 draft, but if it doesn't look like he'll go in the 1st round, he'll opt for the 2006 draft, where his chances might be slightly better considering the impending age limit. He will probably play for the Greek national team in September's Eurobasket and scouts may judge him differently then after watching him in games and practice.
Not a big-time prospect due to his athleticism, Vasseliadis will have to work hard to succeed in the NBA. Nevertheless, there's always room for a shooter with passing skills. Anyway, a star role would be waiting for him in Europe.
Earned all-team honours at the 2003 World Junior Championships. Played his first game with PAOK in the Greek League at the age of 16 years.