Day one of the 2011 adidas EuroCamp is in the books and talent evaluators were out in full force to see some of Europe's top players take part in the proceedings.
As usual, off the court, day one consisted mostly of handshaking and catching up for the various members of the basketball community. La Ghirada gym was about as crowded as we can remember, with a huge number NBA and European executives packing the gym for the entire day, mixing in with the large contingent of agents and other basketball industry people.
There were NBA types galore in the gym today including general managers R.C. Buford (San Antonio Spurs), Bryan Colangelo (Toronto Raptors), Masai Ujiri (Denver Nuggets), David Kahn (Minnesota Timberwolves), Kevin O'Connor (Utah Jazz), Daryl Morey (Houston Rockets), Dell Demps (New Orleans Hornets), John Hammond (Milwaukie Bucks), and Chris Wallace (Memphis Grizzlies), as well as former Trail Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, assistant GM of the Toronto Raptors Maurizio Gherardini, and other executives and scouts such as Ronnie Lester (LA Lakers), Tommy Sheppard (Washington Wizards), Tony Ronzone (Minnesota Timberwolves), Bill Branch (Portland Trail Blazers), Travis Schlenk (Golden State), Tim Connelly (New Orleans), Scott Howard (Charlotte), Gregg Polinski (New Jersey), Sam Hinkie (Houston), Misho Ostarcevic (New York), Kirk Lacob (Golden State), Rob Henningan (Oklahoma City Thunder), Gersson Rosas (Houston Rockets), Claudio Crippa (San Antonio Spurs), Jason Filippi (Portland Trail Blazers), Dennis Lindsey (San Antonio Spurs), Michael Born (Portland Trail Blazers), Walt Perrin (Utah Jazz), Adam Filippi (LA Lakers), Kosta Jankov (Golden State) and many more who we probably missed on day one.
While some disappointment was expressed among executives that players such as Jan Vesely, Davis Bertans and others are missing the camp due to various reasons, there is still plenty of talent to evaluate here in Treviso and today there was major buzz around Bismack Biyombo's morning workout and Donatas Monteijunas' evening workout.
While Biyombo and Monteijunas received a lot of buzz leading up to their individual workouts, the player receiving the most buzz who is actually fully participating in the camp is Lucas Bebe Nogueira. But, the buzz isn't all warmth and fuzz, with one GM saying, [he's] So raw So raw and he's out there on the court laughing with all the guys it's like, get serious,' and others reaffirming that notion that he did not help himself at all with his first day showing.
Indeed Noguiera looked very raw and showed some questionable body language throughout the day.
Early on he looked very uncomfortable when forced to put the ball on the floor or pass and he failed to stand out going up against fellow lanky big man and camp teammate (Team 1) Bengaly Fofana.
As the day went on, in two five-on-five games, Bebe showed a bit better. First he registered 5 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks when going up against Sarra Camara and Team 4. Then, he exhibited a bit more offense going for 11 points and 5 rebounds against the Serbia U19 squad later in the day. His decision making left something to be desired, as did the lack of awareness and experience he showed on both ends of the floor.
All-in-all, without reading too much into day one, Nogueira probably showed talent evaluators a lot of what they expected to see considering his lack of polish, confirming his status as a long-term project.
Tomas Satoransky began the day on an absolute tear and ended it virtually exhausted. Satoransky began the day very aggressive for Team 3, taking the ball to the rack and scored 13 points on 4/5 shooting that also included a well-guarded fade-away three and some runners in the lane. He had a clear impact on that first game, and showed well in the drills as well, which somewhat negates the fact that he was largely ineffective against the Serbia U19 team due to the sheer amount of basketball he played today. By the time that game started, the camp had been going for 8 hours or so and fatigue surely played a role in Satoransky's 2 point, 1/5 (at least two of which were blocked) disappearing act.
Players from Team 3 who only played one game and looked great were Nicolo Melli and Linos Chrysikopoulos. Chrysikopoulos shot 5/6 displaying good range on his jumper, smart shot selection and nice versatility and upside, while Melli displayed an all-around game with his dribbling ability, his skill-level and his defensive effort shining through.
Standouts from the Team 1 vs. Team 4 game were Dogus Balbay who was extremely impressive on the defensive end in particular and finished with an impressive stat line of 10 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. Edwin Jackson showed great athleticism finishing with 13 points, 3 assists and 4 steals, but he continues to exhibit suspect shot selection despite going 6/9 in this game. Lastly, Andreja Milutinovic could not miss. He shot 8/10 and scored 20 points. Many of those shots were highly difficult and well-contested, showing his deep range as a big wing player.
Tomislav Zubcic had a decent day, showing his overall skill level and high basketball IQ while being far too tentative and tending to fade into the background.
Leon Radosevic was a bit uneven as well, having one forgettable game and one excellent one in the evening against Serbia. His basketball IQ, defensive prowess and experience were on full display, and he drew a decent amount of buzz from NBA people in the stands.
One player we want to continue to take a closer look at in the next few days is Rasmus Larsen. The 1994-born 7-footer only saw 18 minutes in his first game, but still managed to show some impressive shooting stroke going 3/4, including a three.
The Biyombo Workout
Many swings and many misses. Much shooting and a proportionate amount of clanking.
It wasn't pretty for Bismack Biyombo, who puzzlingly did little more than confirm his clear-cut offensive weaknesses in his workout for talent evaluators. Turnaround jumpers in the key (0/5), elbow jumpers alternating sides (2/10), free throws (23/41) you name it, he missed it. When he switched to uncontested turnaround hook shots in the paint a few more fell, but he mixed in some air balls for good measure.
On the plus side, Biyombo's body looked great and he's still an athletic freak. His combination of length, strength agility and explosiveness is almost unheard of, causing many to marvel at his physical gifts despite the low-skill level he displayed.
Overall? Nothing new outside of a vividly clear illustration of just how raw his offense is at this point.
One NBA exec put it best: If you liked Biyombo going into today you are going to be set aside the weaknesses he showed and realize that setting couldn't have been any worse for him. The guy is not a jump-shooter, and no one is going to draft him to be one. You need to see through that. But if you came in here with question marks about him you surely came away with plenty more things to worry about. All in all, people who liked him will continue to, and those who don't will as well.
The Motiejunas Workout
Many swings and many misses Darn, already used that one. But this guy's supposed to be able to shoot, right?
Donatas Motiejunas put on his own, more surprising brick show, in a very uninspired workout.
Known as a lackadaisical shooter who can't rebound, Monteijunas negated his only strength today, being unable to make anything from almost anywhere on the floor. Granted, it's one workout and his record throughout his career speaks for itself, but still. This was ugly.
At one point he shot 4/17 when moving around the 3-point line for uncontested jumpers.
What's worse is he looked somewhat disinterested in the workout and showed bad body language.
For a player who's stock wasn't exactly on the uptick going into today, and the format of the workout was less than ideal, Motiejunas surely didn't help himself, even though its highly questionable how much of a part this extremely limited setting should play in the evaluation process.