Reebok Eurocamp, Day Two

Reebok Eurocamp, Day Two
Jun 08, 2009, 05:48 am
Day two of the Reebok Eurocamp saw Benetton Treviso’s La Ghirada practice facility packed absolutely to the brim with European agents, scouts and general managers, while all 30 NBA teams sat courtside taking all the action in. An hour and fifteen minutes of drills was followed by four competitive five-on-five games, allowing some of the prospects to really separate themselves from each other in the eyes of the talent evaluators on hand.

The gym was buzzing all day long with talk of the remaining playoff series’ still yet to be resolved—primarily the NBA, Spanish and Italian leagues, while those executives who aren’t fortunate enough to be still playing made the rounds of the basketball industry trying to figure out what they can do this summer to change their team’s fate. NBA draft talk, the coaching carousels in the various countries and the very active free agent markets dominated the discussions, while the Eurocamp games served as the day’s backdrop.

Some of the more interesting topics included:

-Talk of the Sacramento Kings making Los Angeles Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis the primary target in their head coaching hunt, with the only remaining obstacle being a contract figure that satisfies both parties.

-Ron Artest as a willing and interested free agent target for both Greek powerhouses this summer, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, granted he does not find a superior NBA offer on the free agent market.

-Next week’s early-entry deadline, which will likely see players such as Jodie Meeks and Tyler Smith return to school, while others remain on the fence. One NBA team mentioned being told quite confidently by Damion James that he is most certainly staying in the draft, and most assume that Gonzaga’s Austin Daye is a lock to stay in. Another executive discussed Jeff Teague telling them that he will not pull his name out if he receives any type of guarantee that he will be drafted in the first round, which is probably not what Wake Forest fans want to hear.

-Jordan Hill potentially slipping into the bottom of the top-10 or even possibly slightly beyond. The talk is that the Washington Wizards’ 5th pick could very well end up being claimed by Stephen Curry (whether for them or another team trading up), and that since Minnesota, Golden State, New York and maybe even Toronto appear to be looking at other positional needs, Hill could be on the short end of the stick come draft night.

-Plenty of chatter about the Ricky Rubio situation, with the most interesting commentary coming from the many members of the Spanish basketball industry, which are out here in full force. The news this morning about a lawsuit being planned by Rubio’s camp is apparently very true, and there was plenty of spirited discussion regarding whether his exorbitant buyout relative to his proportional contract will hold up in a Spanish court.

Some cited the fact that similar cases in soccer (for example in England) had sided in favor of the players in the past, while others mentioned that Rubio’s willing acceptance of a large pay raise a few months back had nullified his ability to dispute the validity of the deal. The main questions here are—how long will such a case take to play out? How much does Joventut need the money for this upcoming season? And how much will the negative publicity from such a bombastic story hurt them down the road in terms of signing young players? Can all this be resolved in satisfactory fashion in time for the draft? This move likely ends any chance Rubio has of pulling his name out of the draft, as the damage caused by such a lawsuit would likely be too great of a rift to heal this upcoming summer.

-High school junior Jeremy Tyler—who reportedly has offers from two teams in Greece (Marrousi and Panellinios) and Italy’s Armani Jeans Milano, but may opt to sign with a relatively unknown franchise in Israel—Maccabi Heat Haifa—backed by quite an ambitious American owner by the name of Jeff Rosen. Tyler is now being represented by well-known basketball agency Wasserman Media Group, who had a very positive experience sending then-USC freshman Davon Jefferson to Haifa, where he had a breakthrough season. The offer is reportedly somewhere in the 200k range.

-Mike D’Antoni’s New York Knicks apparently taking a strong liking to senior Jack McClinton, to the point that they could try to buy a pick in the late first round to ensure they land his services.

Day Two Evaluations

-Rodrigue Beaubois sat out today’s action after injuring his wrist, a situation eerily similar to two years ago, where he also teased the NBA teams in attendance with an intriguing first game, and then subsequently shut it down for the rest of the camp. Beaubois has somewhat of a reputation for both being fairly injury prone and not the toughest guy around, and this probably doesn’t help on that front.

-Jonas Jerebko will play the last day of the Eurocamp.

Tomas Satoransky may have been the biggest revelation of day two, coming up with some dazzling moves that demonstrated the fact that this 17-year old has absolutely no fear of going up against players four or five years older than him. After looking quite bashful in the first day, Satoransky started off the day in impressive fashion in the morning’s drills, showing impressive ball-handling skills and court vision in transition, and then continuing his strong play in the actual game as well.

Satoransky mixed in a strong first step with excellent footwork and some crafty spin-moves, showing great fluidity and coordination to go along with his terrific size. Although he didn’t always have the strength to finish his moves inside, it was interesting to see how much shake he has to his game already despite his young age. He plays with a real winning spirit, looking highly unselfish, yet still being very active, even if his perimeter shooting needs to improve. If he continues to develop at the same rate, he clearly has a great future ahead of him. At the very least he’s shown that he isn’t ranked as our #1 prospect in the 1991 international class all year long for nothing.

Another young player with some serious game is Ukrainian guard Sergei Gladyr, one of the more unknown international early-entrant draft prospects going into this camp. Gladyr averaged 15 points per game in the Ukrainian first division this year for a reason, as he’s clearly an extremely skilled shooting guard regardless of his age. Gladyr is one of the best shooters at this entire camp, looking absolutely terrific coming off screens and elevating off the ground sharply with picture perfect mechanics. Beyond that, he’s also one of the best athletes you’ll find here, being extremely quick, with a great first step and excellent leaping ability. While his ball-handling skills are improvable, and he’s prone to making bad decisions from time to time, he seems to have a good demeanor on the floor (always a concern with players from his country) and clearly has major potential to continue to develop. He had a team high 18 points in the evening’s all-star game.

After looking virtually asleep for much of the first day, Montenegrin Vladimir Dasic clearly came to life in day two, stringing together a pair of strong performances in the morning game and then in the evening’s all-star event. Dasic is extremely athletic for this setting, and he’s been very difficult for opponents to stop in transition and attacking the basket off a quick dribble or two from the high post. His body looks excellent as a 6-9 and very fluid small forward, and he was able to make shots both spotting up from 18-20 feet and pulling up off the dribble from mid-range, even if he wasn’t credited with any 3-pointers on the day.

He also had a number of very impressive possessions defensively, smothering his opponent on the perimeter with his terrific length and lateral quickness. He needs to work on maintaining his focus and not trying to do too much with the ball, as at times he tends to get a bit crazy going behind the back with his dribble and settling for wild shots. His ball-handling skills need some work, but it’s pretty clear that he is one of the more naturally talented players in attendance, even if he doesn’t always play up to his full potential.

Dasic may still pull out of the draft at the deadline we’re told, depending on what he’s hearing from NBA teams. While he’s probably not in the first round at this point, he’s the type of player that could get there next year with a good season in a strong European league. Since his buyout issues have apparently been resolved, he probably isn’t in as much of a rush to get to the NBA as he once was.

Australian Patrick Mills was absolutely the star of the evening’s all-star game, posting an impressive 30 point performance on 8/18 shooting from the field and 12/13 from the line. Mills handled the ball on a string all game long, showing terrific quickness keeping his man off balance, and making an absolute living in the mid-range area with his deadly pull-up jumper. His ability to utilize strong hesitation moves makes him extremely difficult to stay in front of, and he did a good job not settling for tough shots from beyond the arc today, getting to the line repeatedly. He clearly thrives in up-tempo settings such as the one seen in today’s all-star game, which came in stark contrast to his morning performance, where he seemed to over-dribble somewhat while trying to create in the half-court.

NBA teams we spoke to still expressed some doubt regarding his point guard skills, which is something he could still stand to work on. He posted 3 assists compared with 4 turnovers in the evening game, seeming to be hunting shots quite a bit, and didn’t look all that comfortable getting others involved. Scouts generally were impressed by the quickness and shot-creating ability he showed, and he also did a better job defensively today as well.

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