With the NBA draft just a matter of days away and prospects winding down visits and workouts with teams we here at Double Clutch are going to give you our thoughts on the best players at each position, and in this case the best prospects from overseas.
The 5 prospects we’ll be looking at in this article are Frank Ntilikina, Isaiah Hartenstein, Anzejs Pasecniks, Jonah Bolden and Mathias Lessort. So without further ado…
Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg/France
Strengths: Ntilikina’s strengths primarily lie in his defensive capability: at 6’5 he has the size to defend multiple positions. Whilst on paper he seems slight of build he is only 18 years old, and with an NBA strength and conditioning coach he’ll easily add to his frame; he has already shown a willingness to take charges. Considering he is known more for his defense Ntilikina has shown he can be a fairly reliable catch and shoot 3pt scorer, which should translate to the NBA.
Weaknesses: Ntilikina’s weaknesses largely come in his inexperience. He is a capable passer but can be erratic with accuracy. He doesn’t really compare athletically to other guards in this years draft, as his handle is very loose, which often leads to him struggling to create space for himself and sees him struggle hitting shots off the dribble.
Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Zalgiris/Germany
Strengths: Hartenstein projects to be a stretch forward in the NBA. At 7’1 he could easily see minutes at both power forward and center spots. He possesses fantastic handles for a player of his size, which allows him to create shots for himself. He fits into the current mould of NBA bigs in that he possesess an above average 3pt shot as well as a tremendous vision as a passer. He also has a smooth, fluid shooting form which should help his shot further develop in the pros.
Weaknesses: Whilst he’s 7’1 he just isn’t a rim protector, and although he’s a terrific rebounder he doesn’t compete as well on the offensive end as he does defensively. Hartenstein is not a particularly athletic player; he is more of a slow, plodding player which sees him struggle defending the perimeter. NBA stretch 4s and 5s will have a field day against him. If you take his shot away he doesn’t contribute enough in other facets of the game.
Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Gran Canaria/Latvia
Strengths: Arguably the fastest riser in this years draft, the 7’2 Latvian has demonstrated he has all the tools to become a great offensive center at the next level. Pasecniks is a tremendous ball handler, who has shown he can finish off fast breaks with either hand in the paint. He’s a capable albeit raw defender who has the foot-speed to stay in front of his man.
Weaknesses: Whilst Pasenicks does have the foot-speed to stay in front of his matchup he doesn’t have the length or explosiveness to be anything like an effective rim protector. Whilst he does most things well on the offensive end he is neither a good rebounder nor a good passer, which are both things that NBA coaching should straighten out in time.
Jonah Bolden, F, Radnicki Basketball/Australia
Strengths: Bolden’s biggest plus is his versatility on the offensive end. Whilst playing for Radnicki he displayed an effective shooting touch from mid-to-long range as well as the explosiveness to finish at the rim. A terrific athlete, he has shown the capability to be an effective defender & rebounder.
Weaknesses: Whilst Bolden has shown the capability to be an effective defender his concentration and effort does wane. Bolden is a fantastic finisher when given space however he needs to learn to take contact and finish through traffic; he doesn’t use his size particularly well.
Mathias Lessort, F/C, Nanterre/France
Strengths: Easily one of the best athletes in this years draft. He uses his athleticism well on the defensive end, and can provide rim protection whilst being able to switch screens onto wings. Offensively he provides little as a shooter however he is more than capable finisher in transition, off the pick and roll or as a target for lobs.
Weaknesses: Lessort is not a good shooter and he doesn’t possess particularly good handles so outside of the paint he provides very little to an offense. His game can be seen as one-dimensional. He finishes well at the rim and provides offensive rebounds but doesn’t do much else particularly well. Whilst he can be an effective rim protector and defender he has below standard technique which often sees him get into foul trouble, which NBA coaches will look to improve immediately.