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Marko Tomas NBA Draft Scouting Report
by:
April 22, 2005
Strengths
(Kristian Hohnjec, April 2005):

Tomas is very good all-round player with solid athletic abilities, and should be considered one of the best shooting prospects in this years draft.

Marko has very good size for the SG position and is not undersized for the SF spot either at 6-7 3/4. He is a fluid player who enjoys a good vertical leap and is rather quick running the floor.

As of right now, the best thing about Tomas as far as the NBA is concerned is his shooting ability, being considered one of the best shooters this part of the world has to offer for his age. He has great shooting mechanics and a very quick release on his jumper. He has good range and shouldn't have any problems adjusting to the NBA three point line, because he has shown many times this season that he can shoot the ball from well behind the European arc. His shot off the dribble is pretty accurate and he uses it quite often. The best part about his stroke is the fact that he needs very little space and time to get it off.

He has shown some versatility this year in creating shots for himself as well as for his teammates at this level, as during the season he was forced to play the PG position at times and showed very decent, if not good court vision and passing skills. Although Tomas is the first offensive option on his team, he has very good shot selection and rarely forces bad shots.

Tomas showed very solid defensive footwork and can be a very aggressive defender and rebounder on occasion. He is aggressive on the offensive glass and gets a few offensive rebounds every night. Thanks to his vertical leap he is able to block some shots from the weak side as well.

Marko is a player who possesses great knowledge of the game and a high basketball IQ. The development that he has shown over last two seasons should tell you everything about his attitude and work ethic. Tomas is a pretty consistent player at this point who has shown that he can provide leadership on the court on a young team and take responsibility when the game is on the line, despite his young age.

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(Ivo Krka, May 2004): He's already a good basketball player at his young age. Has good size and quick feet. He's a good shooter, with a nice jump shot, which he can shoot either static or off the dribble. He can also put the ball on the floor. He has very good ball control, dribbles really well and causes lots of problems for the man defending him. His leaping abilities are quite good, he can dunk the ball in an attractive way, but he uses his dunks mainly on fast breaks. He's usually the first to run from one end of the court to the other in transition. His rebounding is excellent for an outside player, especially his offensive rebounding timing which is very good. His perimeter defense is OK, he has good footwork, but his defense in the passing lanes is what makes him a potentially very good defender, he anticipates opponent's passes well. He rarely causes turnovers, is very concentrated during the game and is a great teammate. He is a very gutsy player who doesn't give up.

Weaknesses
(Kristian Hohnjec, April 2005):

While his overall athleticism is certainly above average for a European guard, he will struggle to create his own shot at the next level as his first step is simply not good enough at this point.

In Europe he is a lethal scorer because of his combination of shooting and slashing ability, which makes him very tough to guard, but there is some doubt about whether he'd be able to beat most good NBA defenders off the dribble until he can learn the tricks needed to adjust his game to the speed in which the NBA is played at. For that reason it's hard to project him to the shooting guard position in the NBA, as he will find it tough to convince defenders not to guard him up close until he can prove that he can get to the basket and finish.

Physically, he is a skinny player at this point and will need to put on a good amount of weight in order to play the SF position in the NBA. Another concern is the fact that his wingspan is just average (6-7), even smaller than his height (6-7 3/4), further limiting his ability to get his shot off at the basket and defend his position.

In terms of penetration, its not just that he lacks an explosive first step, but his ball-handling could stand to improve as well, especially his left hand which he barely uses when dribbling the basketball. He doesn't excel without the ball in his hands and should improve his movement off the ball in order to become a better catch and shoot player, a skill he will have to have down pat to contribute to an NBA team.

There are not many good athletic defenders in the leagues he is playing in this season, but a couple of times when he was faced to play against bigger and stronger defenders his contribution was significantly decreased.

His defense will need a lot of work, because of his lack of strength he has problems fighting through screens and although he has shown some decent lateral quickness, it is clear that he will struggle to defend the more athletic shooting guards in the NBA. Further contributing to this problem is the fact that his defensive intensity in not always that high, although his role on offense probably had something to do with that.

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(Ivo Krka, May 2004): Physically very weak and I'm not sure if his basketball frame is good enough for the NBA (it depends on how much muscle his body can gain). He can't guard stronger and more experienced players right now. Currently he's playing SF so the guys he's guarding often go closer to the paint and try playing with their back to the basket. He should also improve his defense off screens. His perimeter shot is not very consistent and he should work on it a lot if he wants to play in the NBA. His passing abilities are OK, they are usually very accurate, but the problem is he doesn't create shots for his teammates often enough. When he passes the ball it's usually a pass back to the PG and not to the player in the best shooting position, although he's showed he's got a good court vision on some less important and more relaxed games.

Competition
(Kristian Hohnjec, April 2005):

This past season was huge for Tomas, who became one of the most dangerous scorers in the Balkans and a target for many European powerhouses who were looking to acquire him (see links). Tomas was the 2nd leading scorer in the Adriatic league this season at a very young age with almost 20 points per game. He also grabbed around 4 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. He shot 47% from the floor, 40% from downtown and 78% from the charity stripe.

Tomas was a regular member of the Croatian Junior team who won the silver medal at the European Championship two years ago. He was the 2nd best player on that team (after Ukic), averaging around 15 points per game. He is now a member of the senior Croatian national team and is expected to play big minutes this summer in Belgrade in the European Championships.

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(Ivo Krka, May 2004): He has been playing in the Goodyear Adriatic league for the past two years. Last year he didn't get much playing time (14mpg, 4ppg), but while he was playing he showed a lot of potential. This year he's already proven he's a very good player. He's averaging 14 ppg, 5 rpg (2 offensive rebounds), and 2 spg on the year. The improvement he's made in just a year is incredible. He is competing against a lot of solid guards and forwards, but the most interesting games are usually those when Tomas' team plays Roko Leni Ukic's Split team because in those games they are both very motivated to show who's the best young player in Croatia at the moment.

Outlook
(Kristian Hohnjec, April 2005):

After a disappointing performance in last years Chicago pre-draft camp, Tomas needed a huge season to restore his reputation as a first round prospect. Obviously he did great and is now one of the hottest international names in this year's draft.

Where he will end up being drafted highly depends on his buyout situation, as he has four years left on his contract and no clear escape clause written in. His team has already turned down an offer of 600,000 Euros (about 800,000 dollars) from the Spanish powerhouse Tau Vitoria, and its unclear exactly how much money they would have to be offered to release him. Considering that the CBA is expiring this year and the amount that NBA teams will allowed to contribute is unknown (although it must go up) at this point, Tomas will most likely have to get drafted somewhere in the top 20 to have enough money in his rookie contract (those figures are also unknown at this point) to satisfy his team. Tomas is clearly a first round talent, but all these question marks on his end about where he will get drafted and how much of his contract he'd be able to keep, along with the concerns from potential NBA suitors about the uncertainty regarding when they'd be able to bring him over, might force him to wait another year. His father (after the Tau Vitoria saga, see links) said that his son will not be staying in Zagreb next year, even though he says he knows that's not the best option for him as he would like his son to play at the top level of Europe before he makes the jump across the ocean.

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(Ivo Krka, May 2004): If he makes half the improvement this season that he made the last year, then he's a sure mid-late first rounder in the next draft.

Comments
(Kristian Hohnjec, April 2005):

Ignoring the buyout issues, I'm not sure Tomas is ready for NBA at this point anyway. He could really use at least one more season at the highest European level (the Euroleague) to prepare himself for the challenge that awaits him in the NBA.

However, that is not likely to happen since his club KK Zagreb is likely going to demand more money then most European clubs can pay.

Marko is getting a lot of media hype here in Croatia this year, but I'm not sure I am sold on him just yet. I think his NBA future is at the SF position, because I'm not sure he is not fast enough for the SG spot.

His development over the last couple of years is really remarkable and it seems like he still has a lot of room for further improvement. Knowing his work ethic, I expect this guy to become at least a good role player in the NBA with time, if not more than that.

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(Ivo Krka, May 2004):

I'm sure Tomas is going to become a well known player. If he doesn't succeed in the NBA I'm sure he'll do a lot of great stuff in Europe. It all depends on his weight training. But he should also be very careful not to lose some of his quickness. We're going to see him this summer at the U-20 European championship and there we'll be able to see how good he is for his age.

Facts
Has been playing on the same team with his brother Ivan since he was in elementary school.

(Ivo Krka, May 2004):

He's a member of Croatian junior team that won the European junior championship in 2002. His older brother is playing for the Croatian national team, as a PG on Marko's team and is the main player in KK Zagreb at the moment, but Marko is going to be their main player next season if he doesn't leave. The exact moment Marko impressed me was this one: last year Zagreb were playing Dino Radja's team (Radja was dominating the whole season) and on one occasion the only player that was in front of Marko and the basket was Radja. Tomas tried to dunk from almost the FT line (he was one step into the paint) over Radja. Naturally he was blocked, but the thing that impressed me was his braveness: no other player tried to dunk over Radja the entire season.

 


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