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Martynas Andriuskevicius NBA Draft Scouting Report
by:
June 13, 2005
Strengths
He is a versatile 7 footer plus with good agility, moves well up and down the court. Has a good wingspan, but doesn't use it enough quite yet. Offensively he is versatile, he can score from both inside and out. He has a nice shooting touch, and it's not a stretch to imagine him becoming a good midrange shooter in the NBA. He is a good passer, which lets his team dump the ball inside to him in the post and make things happen. He is good at using his height advantage to pass over smaller defenders to streaking guards. He actually is a good ball handler for a guy his size, although his dribble is a bit high. He can put the ball on the floor, going either left or right and finishing on either side. A good free throw shooter. Lots of potential to improve, especially on the defensive end because of his mobility and wingspan. Practicing in Sabonis' academy should certainly be helping his development.

Weaknesses
While the potential is there, he is not much of a defensive presence yet despite his size. Very foul prone, bites for too many fakes and gets caught out of position on rotations. He does change the occasional shot because of his height, but nothing consistently yet. Might lack the timing and the vertical leap to become an imposing defender in the NBA, but he has plenty of time to work on that. He is very very skinny, almost rail thin, and unlike a lot of skinny Europeans his age, he is also very weak. This is probably his biggest weakness and the #1 thing holding him back right now. He has trouble not being pushed aside in the paint, even against players his age who are 6 inches shorter then him. His rebounding and effectiveness around the basket on offense and defense suffer because of this. He will often get manhandled out of the paint, which makes him drift toward the perimeter. He seems to have trouble being defended by smaller defenders, especially when he is being bumped around. This is a big one on the NBA level, he has to work on this.

He seems to have trouble catching easy passes sometimes, that might be because of a lack of concentration. Footwork needs a lot of work, on both sides of the floor. Defensively, he is often slow to rotate laterally and provide help. Offensively, he doesn't have any real post moves to go to in the paint just yet. If you consider the position he is expected to play in the pros, that needs to change and quickly. Playing with more composure and a consistent level of intensity is a must. Minor, but recurring injuries hurt him somewhat this year. Should teams be concerned by that?

Lacks experience playing against the higher levels of competition. Has yet to dominate players in his own age group. Would probably struggle right now in a league like Spain or Italy or in the more physical ones like Greece of Turkey.

Competition
Andriuskevicius has yet to get his feet wet playing against any type of serious competition. He plays in the second league in Lithuania (LKAL), for Zalgiris' B squad, a team of youngsters and puts up good (but not great) numbers.

Playing for Lithuania's junior national team in the U-18 European Championship qualifiers (the challenge round) in the beginning of April, he averaged 14.3 points (54.5% FG, 72% FT, 0% 3P), 9.3 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3.8 turnovers and helped Lithuania make it to the real tournament this summer in Zaragoza.

At the end of the month in the Kamkabel International Junior Tournament in Tel Aviv, which is played alongside the Euroleague final four, Andriuskevicius did not live up to the hype and many came away disappointed from his overall performance. Some say that he had not fully recovered from his knee injury and came to Tel Aviv without practicing too much. See our article about this tournament to get a feel for the way he played.

He has had some small pesky injuries towards the end of the season. Before that U-18 tournament in Poland he was also injured and has missed some games in the LKAL (second Lithuanian league). He once again got injured in 4th game in Poland and missed the last meaningless game with Belarus. Due to that injury he missed almost all of the quarterfinal series in LKAL and his team which was the favorite and won the regular season lost to the 8th seeded team 3:1 (that same 8th seeded team won the championship later on). Andriuskevicius played in the last game, without participating in any practices beforehand, and after the game he felt that he went too early to play.

In the same exact youth tournament held alongside the final four just one year ago (this time in Barcelona) was when Andriuskevicius really burst on to the scene (contrary to what Chad Ford will tell you, it wasn't when he was first mentioned in ESPN Insider). Martynas helped his team win the tournament, and had a nice game in the finals—with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 blocks.

Outlook
In a perfect world, Andriuskevicius would be left alone to develop in Europe for the next few years. No would pay much attention to a guy that isn't dominating 6-9 players on the same age level, that hasn't even made a wrinkle on European basketball yet. He wouldn't read all the superlatives people are throwing at him, and he would be able to decide what his potential is for himself.

Unfortunately that is not the case. Every draft enthusiast knows his name and some of them can even spell it for you. His name has been entered into the draft this year, because there is a chance that someone will draft him right now in the lottery, solely based on what he might become in 4-5 years. From Martynas' and his agent's point of view, why not? International players do not operate under the same rules that NCAA players do. He basically has nothing to lose. Andriuskevicius can enter his name in the draft and pull out as many times as he wants to until the year 2008. Come draft day (if he stays in), the hype around him will be so intense that is almost going to be impossible not to give him a good hard look and start thinking about what a versatile and athletic 7-2 Center can do for your front line (way) down the road. And did we mention he practices with Sabonis? Write down how many times you hear that from now until the draft, it's usually the very first thing mentioned. From what his agent has told us, he (most likely) has no intentions of sending him over to the States for private workouts. Whatever teams know about him right now is exactly what they get. Considering the way he played last month in the junior tournament in Tel Aviv, he should feel quite fortunate that the word had already gotten out that he is not going to declare for the draft this year.

Comments
Martynas has all the talent in the world, but if the expectations from him are too high (like what is starting to happen with Darko Milicic) people are probably going to lose patience with him and they (fans/media/coaches) might kill his confidence and not let him reach his full potential. Sitting on the bench is not going to help him much. He could use at least another two years of regular playing time in a friendly environment, adding lots of strength to his body, learning to play like a true center inside the paint, and polishing his game. If he is drafted into the right situation (Portland with Sabonis anyone?), similar to the situation Nenad Krstic was drafted into, he has the chance to become an excellent player. If the situation isn't right he could just as easily be added to the list of 7 footers that never panned out.

 


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