2013 adidas EuroCamp Preview and Roster Breakdown
The day started with some stretching and light drills, giving the hundreds of members of the basketball industry assembled here a chance to re-connect and put faces to names before competitive action tipped off. Much like last year, Arturas Karnisovas and his staff have assembled a very balanced, talented group of players, even after the late withdrawals of potential 2013 lottery pick Rudy Gobert, who was unable to travel to the event with apparent food poisoning, Livio Jean-Charles, Dante Exum (here but not participating due to a stress fracture), and Emir Sulejmanovic who is continuing to rehab an injury.
Late additions to the EuroCamp roster included auto-eligible prospects Edo Muric and Andrea De Nicolao, 1993-born Swedish point guard Tobias Borg, and interesting 1994-born big man Jusuf Nurkic, who showed he belonged and then some.
Day One Activities
The first day of the adidas EuroCamp included drills and team practices to go along with a total of four games featuring all four teams of campers, the French U20, Serbia U19, and USA Select teams, and an all-star team of the day's top performers. European basketball legend Sarunas Marcuilionis made an appearance as a guest speaker as the event got off to a strong start despite the sloppy play that always comes on the first day of the camp as the attendees settle in and get comfortable with their teammates.
-Today was not a great showing for Vitalis Chikoko, who was forced away from what has made him effective this season in rotation minutes with TBB Trier in the German League--being asked to play all his minutes at small forward on a roster with far too much size. Forcing up tough shots from the perimeter, the Zimbabwe's native ouster to the perimeter is a strange decision to say the least considering he's played as a center for most of his career. Lacking a great foundation of perimeter skills and fundamentals, he struggled to say the least, looking lost on both ends of the floor and not showing any of the trademark shot-blocking, offensive rebounding or athleticism he's known for. It will be interesting to see if that decision is reversed and he's allowed to play to his strengths as an athletic, energetic big man as the event moves on--perhaps on a different team.
Giannis Adetokunbo Competing for Greece U20 National Team
Starting at the power forward spot but regularly bringing the ball up the floor, he turned in a solid, albeit unspectacular performance, finishing with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists by our count while putting many of his strengths and weaknesses on display for those in attendance.
Acting as a facilitator for his team in the half court and making a number of impressive plays in the open floor, Adetokunbo didn't look out of place competing with players one year his senior in most cases, but his lack of experience was evident. He had a number of rebounds ripped away from him, didn't always finish strong around the basket, and airballed a 3-pointer on one occasion--but later smoothly knocked down another. Directing his teammates as Greece ran its sets, Adetokunbo has a unique feel for the game considering his age and athleticism, and is undoubtedly a special talent, but is definitely still in the early stages of his development.
All in all Giannis probably didn't impact his draft stock significantly in either direction. People who liked him probably saw what they needed to see, while those that didn't surely weren't swayed by what he showed. A fairly substantial contingent of the 50 or so NBA scouts started to file out with 6-8 minutes left in the fourth quarter, which can't be considered a great sign. The stop and start nature of the game and overall poor officiating surely didn't help matters, but Adetokunbo will need to show more in the next two days if he wants to definitively boost his stock into the top-20.
Dario Saric's Decision to Withdraw
One main topic of conversation among scouts in attendance this morning was Dario Saric's reported decision to withdraw from the 2013 NBA Draft.
Raising the ire of many, one team picking in the teens opined, [Saric was] not as accessible as he needed to be during the draft process; information hasn't been forthcoming outside of one draft blog. We can't draft a guy like that without getting him in our gym and without a physical or interview."
"He's really not even that good," says another NBA exec drafting outside the lottery. "He played in a terrible league and he was just average there. Which coach will play him as a point forward in the NBA? I don't see it unless he significantly improves his defense and shooting. He's not a guy that can create his own shot in the half-court in our league."
Most teams we talked to say that in all likelihood he did not like the information was receiving about being projected to be picked in the 20-30 range and that concerns about his buyout were the key factor in his decision to pull out considering his draft range.
His "rights" are owned by a shady third party in Croatia and they may prefer to sell him to a big team in Europe to get more money.
Saric reportedly made a commitment to a "security firm" in Croatia that he would give the company 25% of his rookie contract in exchange for paying his buyout from his former team last fall. Unfortunately for them, the lower he goes in the draft, the smaller that pie gets, which surely has caused some pressure.
Had Saric been projected to be selected in the lottery like some were reporting, he undoubtedly would have stayed in considering how much stronger next year's draft class is.
Some mentioned that the date of this announcement, 10 days before he needed to actually withdraw his name, may be a ploy for a team drafting in the top-20 to step forward and make a commitment that they will pick him and bring him over to the NBA right away after paying his buyout.
How good is Saric actually? Watch this video scouting report we released two days ago and decide for yourself.