Jorge Garbajosa

Not in any ranking or draft
Height: 6'9" (206 cm)
Weight: 245 lbs (111 kg)
Position: PF
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
Current Team: Khimki
Win - Loss: 12 - 14


Moving Off the Overseas Free Agent Rankings (Part Three)- Europeans

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Dec 11, 2009, 04:54 pm
Garbajosa had a really nice run in the NBA playing in Toronto in 2006/2007. Unfortunately for him, and the Raptors, he suffered a serious injury that knocked him out of most of the 2007/2008 season, and then compounded the issue by insisting on playing for the Spanish national team, which seemed to further aggregate the injury. Eventually reached an agreement with Toronto to terminate the last year of his contract, and Garbajosa limped through a pretty unimpressive 2008/2009 season in Russia with Khimki, despite being paid 3 million Euro for his efforts. This summer Garbajosa moved to Real Madrid to join forces once again with Ettore Messina, and finally appears to be close to returning to his pre-injury form. Turning 32 later this month, though, it’s probably safe to say that the NBA chapter of Garbajosa’s career has come to a close.

The Top Overseas Free Agents on the 2006 Market (Part One)

Luis Fernández
Luis Fernández
Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Kristian Hohnjec
Kristian Hohnjec
Jul 06, 2006, 02:33 am
Garbajosa made his first appearance here on DraftExpress early in 2005, in an article about the Spanish King’s Cup. Despite not enjoying your typical NBA tools, we felt then that he was too good, and his performance too brilliant, to ignore--even in an NBA-related piece. Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo must have felt something similar to offer him a reported 12 million dollar contract over three years. So after a successful career in Europe, Jorge is now bound to test his game against the very best, in the NBA.

Garbajosa is another product of Tau Vitoria, then an up-and-coming team where he grew as a player, learning the ropes of the post game. Still, what he’s become now can’t be understood without his four years in Treviso, from 2000 to 2004, where developed a three-point shot and became a perimeter-oriented power forward, while taking up that unique Italian craftiness that has forged his winning character.

Under the guidance of two of the best coaches in Europe in the last years, Mike D’Antoni and Ettore Messina, Garbajosa won two Italian League Championships, two Italian Cups and enjoyed two Euroleague Final Four appearances with an unforgettable squad that included Tyus Edney, Ricardo Pittis, Denis Marconato, Marcelo Nicola and Massimo Bulleri. His individual accolades include an All-Euroleague Team selection in the 2002/03 season and MVP honors in the 2004 Italian Cup. His steady production can be summarized in his 12.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals in the Euroleague during his Italian years.

Back in Spain as a top-market signee for Unicaja Málaga, Garbajosa became a prophet in his own land by leading his team to the Spanish Cup in 2005 and its first ever Spanish League Championship this last season, earning MVP honors in both competitions. While in Treviso he was one of the main foundations of Benetton, in Málaga he was simply the cornerstone of the team. His impact was so notorious that some Málaga fans baptized him as the “Porn Player”, because he does everything and does it obscenely well.

Things didn’t go as well in the Euroleague, with an early exit in the 2004/05 season and a disappointing top-16 stage this season. Still he upped his stats to a combined 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 2.1 assists per game.


Basketball IQ is the trademark of Garbajosa. He’s one of the best players in Europe in taking decisions on both ends of the court. He fully understands the game and tries to take advantage of it constantly for him and for his teammates. He’s first a team player, even when he presides as the leader.

Garbajosa gains most of his offensive advantages on the perimeter, forcing his matchup to step out thanks to his reliable perimeter stroke, and enjoying range that likely extends out to the NBA three-point line. Meanwhile, he will punish his man for guarding him too closely by taking him off the dribble and looking for the layup. He’s a nice ball-handler and will rarely turn it over.

Still, as important as his own advantages is the fact that he does a tremendous job clearing space in the paint for his team’s center, allowing him to operate more comfortably with the room he creates. Garbajosa himself will feed him or move the ball so it can reach that spot. If he’s guarded by a smaller defender, he can take him to the low post, where he usually tries to attract defensive help and feed an open teammate. He’s a very good passer, not spectacular, but tremendously effective, particularly within the flow of the offense. And he’s constantly working to make the offense run smoothly, setting picks and moving without the ball.

Besides being a perimeter-shooting big man, he fulfils another international stereotype: he’s a great player forcing personal fouls, mainly in slashing situations.

What makes Garbajosa so special is that he’s as good defensively as he is offensively. He delivers every bit of intensity and intelligence to get the job done. His lateral movement is quite nice, and he’s also a tough guy. Considering his limited physical and athletic gifts, he’s a remarkable shot-blocker who shows excellent timing, although it’s hard to picture him getting any significant production in this department in the NBA.

Not a bad rebounder in the international game, it remains to be seen how he fares against much bigger opponents in the NBA. His aggressiveness and smartness should help him, though.


It’s obvious, glaring and quite concerning the poor combination of size and athleticism that Garbajosa possesses. He’s a 6-9 power forward with limited leaping ability and nothing more than decent quickness. That makes the transition of his skills to the NBA level very questionable.

His decision making has one flaw: his shot selection is not always the best. Sometimes he’ll settle for the three-pointer excessively, even if he’s not making them. However, that has been the case when he has enjoyed a leading role on his team; in a more marginal role, it’s hard to picture him going overboard with his perimeter stroke. Still, it’s quite probable that he will suffer with the transition to the NBA three-point line, even if you can see him knocking down long treys in Europe.

Originally a low post player, Garbajosa has lost some of his skills there. He suffers trying to finish around the basket unless he manages to release a turnaround jumper. Rarely utilizing his hook shot, he instead prefers to pass the ball to an open teammate.

Why sign him?

It takes some serious courage to sign this type of player. We have seen other mature international players who did not enjoy NBA-caliber physical tools fail in the past. Antoine Rigaudeau comes to mind. Also, neither Sarunas Jasikevicius or Arvydas Macijauskas have shined this past season, despite enjoying a defined skill to play a role on their teams (both shooters, Sarunas also an excellent passer), although it’s debatable if they were in the right situation to succeed.

Anyway, although not as naturally talented, Garbajosa brings something that those guys hardly deliver: hustle. He’s a player who is willing to do all those little things a team needs to come up with a victory. He’s not a stat-stuffer, but a glue guy. He will help on both ends of the court, make his open shots, take good decisions, and be a real teammate. For the Toronto Raptors, he will also help his former teammate in Treviso Andrea Bargnani to make the transition to the NBA game.

Time will tell if this bet pays off.

2005 Spanish King's Cup

Luis Fernández
Luis Fernández
Feb 23, 2005, 01:40 am
I have to talk about this guy, I must. Not only because he was rightfully selected as the MVP player of the tournament (repeating what he achieved last season in the Italian Cup with Benetton Treviso), but because he is a hell of a player. Period.

I know, his athleticism is average at best and he's not particularly big. Those are very important things, especially when taking about NBA basketball. But he's tough, smart, and skilled and he fully knows the game, a perfect mixture between a blue-collar and talented player. It's basically impossible not to love him.

He usually plays facing the basket, taking advantage of his three-point shot to keep his defender honest and beat him off the dribble. He has very good mobility, a decent first step and good handles. He gets fouled many times in these situations (he leads the Euroleague in received fouls) which gives him easy points from the line (he's very effective shooting free throws). He also can play in the low post, although he's not exceptionally skilled finishing there, looking first to draw attention from other defenders to pass to the open man.

He's a very good defender, even if his physical set is not the best, but he uses his toughness and intelligence, as well as good lateral movement to get the job done.

All this was seen in Zaragoza. The same stuff he had been doing for four years in Treviso, the first two coached by Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, who said about him then that he could be in the rotation of any NBA team.

The thing is, he most likely won't leave Europe. I don't think any team will be willing to offer the type of cash and playing time to get him out of a comfortable situation where he's a big star and earns good money.

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