Aguilar a Stud for Granada
Despite competing in the toughest domestic league in European basketball, the Spanish ACB, at the tender age of 20, Aguilar has emerged as arguably the most consistent player on CB Granada's roster, playing 30 minutes per game. Needless to say, it's extremely rare for a player this young to see such heavy playing time at this level, which should begin to tell you quite a bit about Aguilars maturity and dependable style of play.
Aguilar is a face-up four man in the mold of Matt Bonner, Ryan Anderson or Jorge Garbajosa. Hes not the most versatile player youll find offensively, showing very little in the way of a post game and being somewhat limited trying to create shots for himself facing the basket, but he offers plenty of value thanks to his ability to space the floor and contribute in little ways to various parts of his teams efforts.
Aguilar is first and foremost an outstanding shooter, having made 41% of his 3-pointers on the season on over five attempts per game. As it stands, half of his field goal attempts come from beyond the arc. Hes terrific with his feet set, even with a hand in his face, and is smart enough not to take many shots off the dribble, which is not his forte.
The word smart comes up quite a bit when watching Aguilar, and for good reason. He plays a very mistake-free brand of basketball, having committed just six turnovers in over 300 minutes of action in 10 games this season, a big reason why his coaching staff seems to trust him so much. Watching him on film, its not difficult to see how well he executes in his teams half-court offense, as he plays with great poise and finds ways to make things happen. His 3/1 assist to turnover ratio would be considered outstanding for a point guard, let alone a power forward, and he currently http://www.draftexpress.com/stats.phpyear=2009%2F10&q=usage&per=pergame&qual=all&sort=17&min=20&stage=&league=ACB&conference=&pos=&sort2=ASC, coughing the ball up on a minuscule 6% of his possessions.
Aguilar is a solid athlete for a European prospect, but would only be considered average by NBA standards. He lacks the strength or explosiveness to finish in traffic around the rim at times, only converting a sub-par 41% of his 2-point attempts, and not getting to the free throw line much at all to compensate. Filling out his frame and continuing to work on his ball-skills should be his big priorities.
Defensively, Aguilar is extremely effective at this level, showing great competitiveness and smarts, showing the ability to use his length very well. He is more than willing to get physical in the post, bodying up his man despite his noticeable lack of strength, displaying excellent timing and fundamentals to help get the job done. That timing, along with his terrific wingspan, helps him rank 2nd in the ACB at the moment in blocked shots.
On the downside, Aguilar is just an average rebounder, particularly on the defensive glass, and his good, but not great lateral quickness might become more of an issue on the perimeter in the faster paced and more athletic NBA. Not being the biggest guy in the world at just 6-8, he needs to continue to get stronger and play with the same intensity he usually does if hes to avoid being targeted on post-up plays as well.
While hes probably not going to knock anyones socks off with his physical attributes or upside, Aguilar is slowly but surely developing into a solid NBA prospect. He would certainly have to land on the right team--a slower paced, more half-court court oriented that plays unselfishly--like Utah, Cleveland, Orlando or Portland for example, to be effective, but there is a place in the League these days for guys like him. If anything a team can draft him in the 2nd round and see how he develops over the next few years--theres a pretty good chance that he will emerge eventually as one of the best power forwards in the ACB and a Spanish national team player--ala Jorge Garbajosa.
Aradori Stepping Up
Aradori continues to shoot the ball with excellent consistency, making 50% of his nearly five 3-point attempts per game, all while getting to the line at a great rate, rebounding extremely well, getting in the passing lanes and making plays for others. Statistically-speaking, he might be the most productive player (including imports) in the entire Italian league right now. He currently ranks 3rd in PER.
Beyond the numbers, Aradori brings great toughness and smarts to the table, along with a winning spirit and a penchant for stepping up and making plays in big moments, particularly late in games. The main thing holding him back from being considered a great NBA prospect, though, is his underwhelming physical profile. Only 6-4, and just an average athlete by European standards, Aradori would likely have a much harder time getting his shot off in the NBA. He struggles defending athletes on the perimeter already due to his poor lateral quickness, so its safe to say that he would have a very difficult time guarding NBA shooting guards.
With that said, it's tough to argue with the sheer production Aradori is generating right now, and with how down this crop of European prospects appears to be, its not out of the question that a roster-conscious team in the 2nd round decides to take a flyer on him. After all, he is clearly a very good basketball player, and there is something to be said for that. So far NBA interest has been fairly lukewarm reportedly, but that could change as the season moves on if he keeps putting up big numbers.
Lima Seeing Minutes for Unicaja
He played 18 minutes in Malaga's win over Lithuanian powerhouse Lietuvos Rytas last week in the Euroleague, coming up with 10 points and 4 rebounds before fouling out.
Lima's role for Unicaja is extremely limited as you might imagine, as he's mostly asked to run the floor in transition, crash the offensive glass and finish pick and roll plays around the basket. His very nice physical profile makes him a good fit for this role, as he's a long and athletic 6-9 guy who brings energy off the bench. He scored a couple of baskets against Rytas by simply beating opposing players down the court. Sporting wide shoulders that could handle additional weight, Lima still has some room to continue improving from a physical standpoint, but already uses his tools well.
Not surprisingly, the 18-year old Lima doesnt possess great strength, and isnt a very skilled offensive player at the moment. He doesnt have much of a post game or great shot-creating ability, and is a very streaky outside shooter, having knocked down just 2 of his 19 3-point attempts on the year.
Still, Lima seems to be garnering some good experience at the highest level of European basketball at a very young age, and clearly has plenty of upside to continue to improve. That makes him, at the very least, someone to keep an eye on for the future.
Motiejunas and Benetton Over Cholet
The most interesting game of the first round of the EuroCup from an NBA draft perspective was clearly Benetton Trevisos trek to France to take on Cholet. This game pitted two of the top European big men prospects, Donatas Motiejunas and Kevin Seraphin, against one another.
After a couple of bad losses in the Italian league at home against Varese and on the road against Cremona, it was important for Benetton to get back on track. They were indeed able to narrowly come away with the very important victory, winning 71-70, with neither Motiejunas nor Seraphin appearing to have great games according to the box scores. The Lithuanian scored 6 points (3/9 FG) and grabbed 1 rebound in 20 minutes, while the Frenchman settled for 2 points (1/6 FG) and 8 rebounds in 12 minutes.
Motiejunas appears to be playing a bit better these days since we last wrote about him, even starting a couple of games as of late, while Seraphin continues to struggle to get off the bench for Cholet. Hes seen just 7 minutes in each of the last two games his team has played in Pro A France.
The two teams and their highly touted NBA draft prospects will meet on January 5th for a rematch in Treviso.
Big Game for Fofana
Tony Parkers teamthe reigning champions, sporting the most expensive roster in the league by far-- has been struggling badly to start off the season, finding itself at the bottom of the French league standings with a shocking 2-7 record, and kicking off the Euroleague 0-4 as well.
Fofana seemed to give them a spark in that Cibona game, running the floor purposefully and crashing the glass like a mad man. Unfortunately for him, the abundance of film that were able to see now against high-level competition makes it painfully obvious that he cant be considered anything more than a fringe prospect.
Fofana lacks agility in a serious way, looking uncoordinated in many of his movements and having great difficulty finding ways to score if hes not catching the ball directly off the offensive glass. He sports a very narrow frame that will probably never be able to add much weight, particularly in the lower body, and thus has all kinds of issues defensively and holding his position in the paint. His terrific wingspan allows him to be a presence at this level as a weak-side shotblocker, but it will take a lot more than that to make it in the NBA.
Only 20 years old, Fofana has another year and a half to continue to add weight to his frame and polish up his skill-set before becoming automatically eligible for the 2011 draft.
15-year Old Breaks Greek League Age Record
After 14-year old Edvinas Seskus of Rudupis Prienai broke the first division Lithuanian league record by being the youngest player to ever enter a game last week, 15-year old Alexandros Aggelakos accomplished the same feat in the ultra physical and competitive Greek league on Saturday. This, according to European basketball website TalkBasket.net.
It seems like Ricky Rubio and DKV Joventut may have started a trend in Europe.
First Solid Game for Jeremy Tyler
Tyler played 12 minutes and finished with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 fouls, 2 turnovers and 1 block on 2-4 shooting from the field this weekend, helping his Maccabi Haifa team secure the victory on the road over Barak Netanya. It's good to see him crack the rotation in a more significant way and find some productivity at such a young age. Hopefully he can build on this and continue to progress.
For those who are interested, Maccabi Haifas games are being broadcasted on tape delay on the DIRECTV channel Jewish Life TV as well as online at TriangleInternet.TV. There is also a program on both outlets called Inside Israeli Basketball which focuses on Maccabi Haifa and Tyler in particular.