Week by week, its getting tougher and tougher not to notice the amazing production of Italian swingman Pietro Aradori. With American shooting guard and former NBA player Fred Jones on the shelf the past few weeks, Aradori has stepped up his game in a major way, emerging as arguably the best Italian player in the league. The 1988-born product has scored 20 or more points in each of the last three rounds in the competitive Italian league, while adding another 18 points (plus the game-icing free throws) last week in the EuroCup.
Aradori continues to shoot the ball with excellent consistency, making 50% of his nearly five 3-point attempts per game, all while getting to the line at a great rate, rebounding extremely well, getting in the passing lanes and making plays for others. Statistically-speaking, he might be the most productive player (including imports) in the entire Italian league right now. He currently ranks 3rd in PER.
Beyond the numbers, Aradori brings great toughness and smarts to the table, along with a winning spirit and a penchant for stepping up and making plays in big moments, particularly late in games. The main thing holding him back from being considered a great NBA prospect, though, is his underwhelming physical profile. Only 6-4, and just an average athlete by European standards, Aradori would likely have a much harder time getting his shot off in the NBA. He struggles defending athletes on the perimeter already due to his poor lateral quickness, so its safe to say that he would have a very difficult time guarding NBA shooting guards.
With that said, it's tough to argue with the sheer production Aradori is generating right now, and with how down this crop of European prospects appears to be, its not out of the question that a roster-conscious team in the 2nd round decides to take a flyer on him. After all, he is clearly a very good basketball player, and there is something to be said for that. So far NBA interest has been fairly lukewarm reportedly, but that could change as the season moves on if he keeps putting up big numbers.