Andriuskevicius seized the moment
7-foot-2 Lithuanian center Martynas Andriuskevicius auditioned before a throng of NBA general managers, coaches, player personnel directors and scouts Thursday afternoon in Chicago and, for the most part, he acquitted himself well. He reinforced the belief of many NBA officials that he’ll likely be selected in the upper half of the first round in the June 28th NBA draft.
Andriuskevicius went through a battery of drills during his nearly one-hour audition. The only person in attendance who wasn’t at least slightly impressed by his performance was Andriuskevicius.
“It was not so bad, but not so perfect,’’ said Andriuskevicius, adding he plans to remain in the draft. “I was happy to have the chance to work out here and work with very good coaches. I was happy to be here.’’
While Andriuskevicius downplayed his solid showing, several NBA officials, including many who saw him for the first time, came away impressed with him – despite the fact he’s pencil thin and didn’t participate in any game-like conditions.
Here are some of their observations:
- An NBA scout, who requested anonymity: “He’s Shawn Bradley. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. But that’s who he reminds me of. He’s tall, skinny, and he doesn’t move real well.’’
- Keith Grant, assistant general manager of the Dallas Mavericks: “He’s not bad. He’s long and he can shoot the ball a little bit. During the workout, you could tell he competes; he got a little frustrated at times. I think once he adapts to the speed and quickness of the NBA game, he should be fine.’’
- John Gabriel, scout for the Portland Trail Blazers: “I can see him playing forward more than center. He has soft hands, he can shoot the ball and he has quick feet. With his size and agility, he has a chance to be a special player. You can clearly see why he’s highly thought of in this draft.’’
- Marc Iavaroni, assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns: “I think his length and finesse speak for themselves. He can obviously shoot the ball, and he has decent springs. I think the question now is how people want to see him develop. Whether they want to see him develop a few more years overseas or whether they want to put him in their program right now and throw him to the practice dogs. It was the first time I’ve seen him, other than on tape, and I thought he showed he had some skills.’’
- Larry Harris, general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks: “He’s a very skilled player. I think people are still trying to define what position he’ll play. His game is more of a 3-4, than of a center. He’s more of a face-up, perimeter player. His body has to mature; he’s thin. But he has a high skill level, and I think his skill level, along with his size, intrigues people.’’
- An Eastern Conference player personnel director who requested anonymity: “He is an interesting prospect because he’s got great length and some nice skills. But it’s still really hard to predict what he’ll do in the NBA. There are not many players like him. He has a lack of strength, and I don’t know if he’ll ever get that much stronger. I’ve talked to a bunch of guys in our league, and they got him all across the board. Some guys like him and rate him pretty high. Some guys don’t like him and rate him low.’’
- Rick Sund, general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics: “It’s hard to tell much about a guy in a workout like this, where you just shoot jump shots and free throw and do the fundamentals. But the guy is very long and he has good hands.’’
- Ernie Grunfeld, general manager of the Washington Wizards: “I don’t see 15 players in this draft who have a better upside than him. He’s very mobile. he’s 19 years old, he’s an outstanding shooter, he has good hands, he seems to be competitive. So I think he has a very good upside.’’
- A Western Conference general manager, when asked what he thought of Andriuskevicius’ workout: “I didn’t go. Go ask someone whose picking between 7 and 15. I hear he’s going to one of the teams in that range.’’
- Donn Nelson, president of basketball operations for the Dallas Mavericks: “He’s Rik Smits-like. He’s tall, and he can shoot it. He needs to work on his body, but I’ve always been excited about his future as a player.’’
Gery Woelfel covers the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA for The Racine (Wis.) Journal Times
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