HoopsHype.com Articles

The hidden gems
by David Sardinero / September 22, 2009

Erazem Lorbek - FIBA EuropeDRAFTED PLAYERS

Erazem Lorbek / Slovenia, 6-10, PF (16.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.3 apg) / Rights held by the Indiana Pacers

The Slovenian power forward was included in the All-Tournament Team and looked like one of the best offensive players in the competition. Lorbek has a face-up game and can shoot off the dribble with apparent ease. He is one of the best back-to-the-basket players in Europe right now, with finesse moves around the rim and great shooting range. The former Michigan State player has just signed with Spanish powerhouse FC Barcelona, but he has an NBA opt-out clause after the second year of his contract.

Sofoklis Schortsanitis / Greece, 6-9, C (11.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg) / Rights held by the Los Angeles Clippers

The player known in Europe as Baby Shaq was one of the surprises of the tournament. Big Sofo is a force in the paint with his more than 300 pounds of weight and after leaving behind some of his conditioning problems, he was almost unstoppable in Poland. He has pretty good athleticism considering his massive size and is a real threat in the low post, where he usually finishes with monster dunks. Schortsanitis had a year off because of his weight issues, but he was in decent shape in Poland. Very good at setting screens, he should improve his consistency from the charity stripe.

Omer Asik / Turkey, 7-0, C (12.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.8 bpg) / Rights held by the Chicago Bulls

Playing alongside Ersan Ilyasova, the Turkish big man, who comes off a very serious knee injury, showed an improved footwork operating near the rim. Although he lacks a real mid-range game, Asik is able to run the floor very well and can finish with powerful dunks. He is a very good shot blocker and can hold opponents down defensively. His size, athleticism and 7-foot-2 wingspan make him one of the most promising Euro big men.

Giorgos Printezis / Greece, 6-9, PF (5.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg) / Rights held by the Toronto Raptors

Printezis is a combo forward of the modern type, as he can play the 3 and the 4 with his intense game. He rebounds well and can put the ball on the floor. Toronto has tracked him closely as of late.

FREE AGENTS

Timofey Mozgov / Russia, 7-1, C (11.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.3 bpg)

The Russian center was a beast in the paint in Poland. A legit seven-footer with a very interesting combination of size and athleticism, Mozgov is a late-bloomer, having only one year at the highest level with Russian powerhouse Khimki Moscow. He is a very good offensive rebounder and finisher around the rim, but his offensive game is yet to be refined. His main weakness is his tendency to make unnecesary fouls. But make no mistake: He's a player to keep and eye on because of his free agent condition.

Milos Teodosic / Serbia, 6-5, PG (14.1 ppg, 2.6 rpp, 5.2 apg)

Teodosic is a true floor general who plays like a veteran. Although he's just 22, the Serbian point guard can control the tempo of the game with his ballhandling abilities and long-range shooting. His disappointing final game against Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio didn't ruin his spectacular performance in the competition. Teodosic is a pass-first type of guard, but he carried the scoring duties in Poland. He must improve his defense and lateral movement in order to survive in the NBA, as his game seems more suited for the European style.

Novica Velickovic / Serbia, 6-9, PF (11.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.9 apg)

Another Serbian youngster who excels in transition. Velickovic is a combo forward, although he looks better at the 4. He displays a very high IQ on the court and can shoot the three efficiently. His strong motor allows him to play with high intensity throughout games and makes him a very mobile player. He has just inked a contract with Real Madrid.

Marijonas Petravicius / Lithuania , 6-10, C (12.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg)

This Lithuanian center looked much better in the Eurobasket than his teammate Linas Kleiza. After a great year in European competitions, Petravicius went to the Poland as the projected backup center. At the end of the day, he was the top scorer for a disappointing Lithuanian team. Petravicius posseses a very strong frame with broad shoulders, which make him a very good rebounder and defender in the paint. He is a big man of the banger type who uses his body when facing bigger players.

YET TO BE DRAFTED

Milan Macvan / Serbia, 6-9, PF (2.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg)

Standing at 6-9, Macvan is an extremely intelligent big man who can create his own shots against biggers defenders. Macvan was the best player in last Nike Hoop Summit and was one of the youngest talents in Poland. He is a very good passer for a player his size and has nice moves in the post. Could be a first-round pick in the 2010 draft if he continues to develop in Europe.

Antoine Diot / France, 6-4, PG (5.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg)

Diot is a big and strong point guard with a superb dribbling ability and long wingpan. The issues? He struggles against quicker players and really has to improve his long-range jumper. He played a lot alongside Tony Parker in the French backcourt. A potential second-round pick in 2010 or 2011.

Robin Benzing / Germany, 6-10, PF (5.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg)

Extremely long and skinny forward. Benzing is a modern forward who can put the ball on the floor and shoot it well thanks to his nice outside touch. He lacks strength, but could be a sleeper for next year's draft.

David Sardinero is a journalist for Marca.com

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