Sergio Llull profile
Drafted #34 in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Rockets
Height: 6'3" (191 cm)
Weight: 176 lbs (80 kg)
Position: PG/SG
Hometown: Mahon, Spain
Current Team: Real Madrid
Win - Loss: 2 - 0


Blogging Through the Copa del Rey, Part One

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Feb 21, 2009, 12:43 am
Our main point of intrigue, Sergio Llull, on the other hand, struggled badly, going 0/4 inside the arc and 1/4 from outside, finishing with just 6 points and 3 assists in a whopping 33 minutes. The amount of playing time he received in such an important setting tells you a lot about his importance on this deep and expensive Real Madrid roster. He's been playing incredibly well up until this game, stringing together some excellent performances in the Euroleague Top 16 (where his team is 3-0) and ACB (team record: 16-5), grabbing the reigns as his team's starting point guard in the process, which is pretty noteworthy for a 21 year old European guard (he's essentially an NCAA junior, as he won't turn 22 until November). Brandon Jennings can tell you more about the significance of that.

Back in the end of October we carefully discussed the surprisingly excellent season that Llull was having, wondering if he'd indeed be able to keep pace. Well 34 games in, it's safe to say that Llull is for real, ranking as one of the most efficient and prolific passing point guards in both competitions he plays in.

46% of Llull's offense comes in pick and roll situations, which should tell you quite a bit the role he plays for his team. He's clearly their most creative force, the best athlete on the team and an incessant shot-creator. His excellent first step and strong ball-handling skills allow him to pick apart defenses extremely well, going either left or right, which also makes him a dangerous threat in transition. He's been featured on a number of ACB league highlight reels this season because of his ability to drive down the lane at full speed and throw down impressive dunks. Even if he looks a bit wild at times, he's managed to keep his turnovers extremely low all season considering his style of play, which is a big reason he's earned so much trust from his coaching staff. In fact, he ranks 3rd in the ACB in assist to turnover ratio, and 5th in the Euroleague. His pure point ratio (PPR) also ranks in the top 5 in both leagues.

In this particular game, Llull got to the basket on a number of occasions but struggled to finish. Despite possessing strong leaping ability (especially for a European guard), Llull lacks some strength and possibly some toughness finishing around the basket. He gets to the free throw line at a good, but not great rate, and could still stand to improve on his ability initiating contact in traffic. At times he tends to just flip the ball up at the rim instead of going up strong.

Llull's jump-shot has been consistent all season long, and he's hitting it at an excellent rate—39/92 from behind the arc in 34 games, or 43%.He's got great form and deep range, being absolutely lethal in catch and shoot situation, and shows no hesitation at all taking big shots in the clutch. He needs to improve on his mid-range game—rarely do you see him pulling up off the dribble after creating his own shot, but he's proven capable of making them too from time to time.

Defensively, Llull lacks great strength or length, but he does possess ample size and lateral quickness. He's pretty intense on top of that, which is yet another reason he's managed to earn his spot in Real Madrid's rotation. Llull does a good job getting in the passing lanes and will also pick up the occasional block, but he tends to lose his focus and gamble at times and also lacks some strength fighting through screens.

Llull has likely done enough at this point to solidify his spot in the second round (maybe very early) of this upcoming draft—now he just needs to find the right franchise to make the investment in him. He's unlikely to come over for workouts from what we're told and will probably be playing in the ACB league semi-finals at the time that the EuroCamp in Treviso is being played, meaning NBA teams need to do their homework on him now—not likely an issue considering the level he's playing at. He still has two more years on his contract (if Real Madrid picks up his option, which they certainly will) and after that will give the NBA a hard look from what we're told.

European Roundup: Llull Sparks Real Madrid

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Oct 31, 2008, 01:08 am
The life of a young player in Europe is full of peaks and valleys. The most coveted prospects often get snatched up at an early age by the top clubs in the top leagues around, only to struggle to see playing time due to the extremely high level of competition their team plays at. Once an opportunity opens up, it must be seized immediately, as the rosters of the top teams in Europe are always incredibly deep, the stress-levels high, and the leash for tolerating the mistakes of youngsters about as short as they come.

Seizing an opportunity is exactly what Spanish combo guard Sergio Llull (pronounced Youll, rhyming with mule) has done thus far this season, taking advantage of an injury to veteran point guard Raul Lopez to see significant minutes in both the Euroleague and ACB League, and in turn deliver terrific results. Through six games thus far (two Euroleague and four ACB) Llull is averaging 13.5 points in 23.5 minutes per game, shooting 68% from the field and 57% from beyond the arc.

Llull is coming off the bench replacing either Louis Bullock or Pepe Sanchez in Real’s rotation, and is seeing minutes at both guard spots. He’s bringing a great burst of energy, creativity and flair to change the tempo of the game for Real, which has made it very difficult for Coach Plaza to take him off the floor, even now that Raul Lopez is healthy and reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup. Llull played 29 minutes last weekend against Cajasol Sevilla and contributed 17 points on 6/11 shooting, and then was arguably Real’s best player on Wednesday in the Euroleague at Partizan Belgrade (an unbelievably hostile arena), pouring in 19 points in 28 minutes on a near perfect 8/9 shooting from the field. He saw significant playing time down the stretch and made a number of clutch plays in both games—but was unable to avoid his team being defeated in both encounters.

The main reason Llull has managed the incredibly difficult task of contributing significantly at the highest level of basketball outside the NBA, despite being only 20 years old, is that he’s an extremely cold-blooded player. He brings a similar type of confidence and aggressiveness to the floor like Ricky Rubio provides to Joventut, not quite as pronounced perhaps, but still quite noticeable. He’s not afraid to take responsibilities and seems to have the physical tools and skill-level to make a significant impact at the European level, particularly in his ability to play the pick and roll and get out in transition.

Llull stands out from many of his International counterparts due to the excellent athleticism he displays for a European prospect. He not only has great size at 6-3 and a well proportioned frame, but he’s also extremely quick, fluid and agile, as he’s shown slashing apart defenses at will and wreaking havoc on fast breaks—often to finish with an emphatic dunk. He can create his own shot with either hand interestingly and has no problem finishing with his off-hand once at the rim. He needs to add strength to his frame in order to become a better finisher, but there seems to be quite a bit to work with as he continues to fill out.

Possibly the biggest development in his game so far this season has been the consistency of his perimeter shot—a very pronounced weakness last season that made it very difficult for him to see playing time. He’s shooting a terrific clip from both the field (68%) and beyond the arc (57%) thus far, compared with 40% from the field last season and 15% from 3-point range. It’s obviously still extremely early and those numbers obviously will level out as the season progresses, but he does seem to have a nice stroke and is even hitting jumpers off the dribble or from well beyond the arc these days.

The main question mark about Llull as an NBA prospect is the position he will end up at eventually. He sees minutes at both guard spots right now, often asked to bring the ball up the court and get his team into their offense, but not quite acting as a traditional half-court playmaking floor general. It’s pretty obvious that Llull thinks shoot-first and is most comfortable alongside another strong ball-handler, but he does see the court reasonably well, and is capable of executing offensively and making the extra pass as a a play develops. The fact that he’s a pretty solid ball-handler himself and is quick and agile enough to dribble himself out of trouble is a good sign. He’s managed to cut down on his turnover rate significantly thus far this season—a sure-fire sign of maturation and a very positive development if he can keep it up.

Defensively is where some more question marks pop up regarding Llull’s NBA potential. Unlike most European guard prospects, his physical tools are not that much of an issue in this case, as he has good size, a nice frame and reasonable quickness. On top of that, he’s pretty active and seems to put a decent amount of effort in—make no mistake, he would not play a minute in Europe at this level if he didn’t—but he seems to lack some strength fighting through screens and some fundamentals staying in front of his man in the half-court on the perimeter. Llull gets in the passing lanes at a nice rate, but tends to gamble a little too much. We’ll have to keep an eye on how he looks as the season progresses here, as it will likely play a big part in how he’s viewed by NBA executives.

Right now, there are very few European prospects his age who are playing and producing as significantly as Llull is, and even fewer who share his long-term upside due to his combination of physical attributes and versatile skill-set. It’s still very early in the season and Llull could easily revert back to the wild, inconsistent and unreliable player who was buried on Real Madrid’s bench for most of last year—but if he doesn’t, he’s an extremely intriguing prospect to keep an eye on. Even though he’s only 20 years old right now, Llull is automatically eligible for this year’s draft, as he will turn 22 in the calendar year of the draft (he was born in November).

Scouting the NBA Draft Prospects at the 2008 Copa del Rey

Luis Fernández
Luis Fernández
Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Feb 18, 2008, 01:06 am
After having regularly played throughout the season, it seems like coach Plaza thought that perhaps this Copa del Rey was a bit too demanding and important an event to trust Llull with meaningful minutes. It makes sense, since the young point guard is yet to settle his game down and mature as a playmaker. So he didn't step foot on the floor for the quarterfinal. However, he was given a chance in the semifinal, as Real Madrid was struggling late in the third quarter against Joventut, and he certainly didn't disappoint, indeed becoming a crucial factor in Real's comeback.

Playing as a shooting guard in the minutes he spent on the court, he did most of his work off the ball, and particularly stood out with his defense on Rudy Fernández, using his physical strength and athleticism to stay very aggressive on the ball, forcing the MVP into bad shots and turnovers. Offensively, he delivered a couple of nice transition plays, which is exactly the situation where he feels more comfortable, as he takes advantage of his quickness and fearless style of game (indeed a bit crazy at times).

Roundup: Gallinari, a Euroleague Standout

Luis Fernández
Luis Fernández
Dec 04, 2007, 08:59 am
Sergio Llull is looking extremely inconsistent during the last few weeks. We already knew he still wasn’t a great distributor or floor general, but lately he’s failing to get anything done as a playmaker. In a very surprising move, he was even conceded a starting spot in the Euroleague game versus Real Madrid’s archrival F.C.Barcelona a couple of weeks ago, but he had to be taken off the court after five forgettable minutes given his team’s struggles to properly run the offense. Llull still gets out of control too easily, which doesn’t help him to recognize what he needs to do in a given situation. Still, he seems to have the confidence of the front office and coaching staff, but he looks like a long-term project as a point guard.

Roundup: Back on Track

Luis Fernández
Luis Fernández
Oct 17, 2007, 02:28 pm
No other prospect enjoyed more exposure NBA-wise this week than Sergio Llull. It’s the advantage of playing a real NBA team and performing extremely well. He made sure everybody remembered him by netting 17 crucial points that greatly helped Real Madrid to upset Toronto Raptors during the NBA Live Tour.

The Spanish point guard played a fearless game, taking and making his open shots, running the court aggressively, delivering some nice passes and playing solid defense against the very quick NBA guards. What particularly makes him an intriguing case is his excellent athleticism, which will allow him to translate his game to more physically demanding competitions (such as the NBA).

At 6-3, Llull nicely fills the bill in terms of physical build, as he shows a good frame, with an already strong body considering his age. A promising ball-handler, still noticeably better with his right hand, his ability to dribble the ball doesn’t limit his athletic gifts (for example, he can handle the ball at full speed). Enjoying the quickness to regularly beat his opponents, he can also knock his perimeter shots when he enjoys space, which makes for a really nice combination. However, he’s not that active and effective taking his match-ups off the dribble, and despite his excellent three-point run against the Raptors, still emerges as a streaky guy with his jumper, also needing to work on his release off the dribble.

An aggressive player, active and fearless, Llull doesn’t always manage to stay under control, sometimes overdoing things and getting himself into trouble in the process, showing questionable decision making. He can come up with nice passes, entries from the perimeter or kick-outs off the drive, but his distribution and ability to establish a rhythm for his team still needs to seriously improve. He’s still an inexperienced playmaker, and actually is getting most of his minutes with Real Madrid at the off-guard position, but he has the makings of solid point guard. A friendly game like the one he played against the Raptors was a perfect stage to showcase his strengths, playing transition ball where his athletic attributes can shine, and enjoying loose defenses that allowed him to operate comfortably.


Llull came back to Earth just a few days after, facing a real defense in the ACB League against Tau Vitoria. He committed 4 turnovers in less than 4 minutes of playing time, to some extent probably a result of his anxiety to meet expectations after his brilliant showing against the Raptors.

Anyway, Llull has shown great progress in his development over the last few years. In 2004 he was the third point guard, basically a bench warmer, on the Spanish Junior Squad that conquered the European title. Growing taller, stronger and more experienced, he made strides on the National Team (being an important piece in last summer’s U-20 silver-medalist Spanish team for example), while also getting burn in the rather demanding Spanish second division. He was becoming an interesting player to watch, and we did cover his signing for Real Madrid in the past spring, as well as his selection for the Treviso Camp. He’s now on an ACB and Euroleague team, while everything points towards him seeing regular minutes on the court. If he keeps improving, there’s no reason why NBA teams shouldn’t take him into account for the draft. He has the physical tools, some nice talent, and apparently the character and work ethic to put everything together.

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