Oleg Pecherov is another example of your stereotypical European big, a long guy not in love with the paint but rather skilled who enjoys a very nice shooting touch. Standing 6-11, the Ukranian is gifted with excellent size for a power forward and nice athleticism to play that position, indeed fairly good if we consider that height.
Pecherovs main virtue and best skill on the floor is his shooting stroke. Many of the offensive situations he enjoys have the jumper as the final purpose. He displays nice mechanics, looking fluid while executing it, being able to nail his shots off the dribble, although feeling more comfortable in static fashion, while he enjoys three point range. He also uses his shooting ability in the low post, where he likes to finish with a rather effective turnaround jumper that rather difficult to stop.
Oleksiy can put the ball on the floor for slashing purposes. He has a decent first step, feeling more comfortable going to his right, and enjoys the quickness and ball-handling skills to be capable of beating his power forward matchups. Able to play without the ball, hes automatic finishing around the rim with a dunk whenever he receives the ball near the basket, showing a good vertical jump and reactivity. He certainly has very good resources to put the ball in the basket regardless his opponent.
In the rebounding department, even if he isn't the most active or aggressive player on the floor, he displays good positioning to take advantage of his size and athleticism to come up with a good amount of boards.
Showing a nice basketball IQ, Pecherovs best weapon rests in his potential. He has some intriguing tools for a guy of his size, and could develop into an offensive force.
Pecherov shares most of the stereotypes for Europeans bigs in the weaknesses section as well. The first and most noticeable, his poor intensity, which primarily affects his overall game. Hes not a natural-born fighter; thats easy to see at first sight. Hes not the first guy going after loose balls or looking for rebounds, and the level of activity he shows on court is average at best.
That problem is reflected in his defensive rotations, rather timid and therefore inefficient. When it comes to his man to man defense, things dont get too much better. He has more than enough mobility for a power forward, but his lateral defensive movement is not on par. He is too upright defending his man, hurting his reactivity and mobility to stop his matchups. He should start by bending his knees better, getting lower to the ground and continue by being a bit more aggressive. It doesnt help that he usually gets outmuscled, which leads us to another of his serious flaws: Pecherov is a skinny player, and whats even more worrisome, his frame is not the best to add weight, as he shows rather narrow shoulders.
When it comes to his skills, theres work to be done. With his nice mobility, he could take advantage of it better by putting the ball on the floor more, which would also help him to get more spaces for his jumper, although its not easy for a youngster playing with veterans to take these kinds of offensive responsibilities. Also, some other resources in the low post beyond his shot, such as more polished footwork or a semi-hook shot wouldnt hurt his game; at least make it less predictable. Hes also nothing more than an average passer. Even speaking about his jumper, hes not still a deadly shooter. In general, his accuracy suffers whenever hes forced to make a sudden rhythm or direction change, whether with the ball in his hands or cutting to receive and fire.
All in all, the Ukranian is still a rather immature player who needs to continue to see consistent action against veterans at a good level before hell be able to reach his full potential. Its starting to happen more lately, but hes still behind many of his generation mates in terms of the high level experience he has garnered in his career so far.
After spending a couple of seasons playing for Politekhnik Kharkov in the Ukranian second division, Pecherov made a big splash in the international scene by leading Ukraine to the gold medal at the Global Games in Dallas in 2004, earning MVP honors while averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds.
After moving to BC Kiev (a team soon to become the strongest act in Ukrainian basketball), he spent most of the 04/05 season playing for the second team again in the second division.
However once the summer arrived, he shined again in what seems to be his favorite competition, the Global Games, averaging 26.2 points and 14 rebounds, including 19 points and 10 rebounds against a nice US team made up of top college players. Earlier he showed up at the U-20 European Championships, settling for 12.7 ppg and 9.4 rpg. The summer was crowned by a call from his National Team to play in the 2005 Eurobasket (Mens European Championships). Ukraine displayed the worst basketball in the competition, so Pecherov enjoyed ample opportunities to play, and didnt disappoint averaging 6 points and 4 rebounds per game.
The start of the current season again brought the doubts about his playing time in BC Kiev, so it was decided to send him on a loan to Paris Basket Racing to play in the French League, which globally is considered to be as good of a league, if not better than the Ukrainian, although Paris is not in the range of BC Kiev in terms of quality as a team. Since arriving in France hes averaging 9.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in less than 15 minutes of playing time. In the last five games, these averages raise to 14 points and 7.4 rebounds in less than 20 minutes of action. Excellent production per minute indeed that NBA scouts have surely noticed.
At this point, Pecherov is probably nothing more than second-round material, a possible bet for some team willing to gamble on nice upside in the part of the draft where that makes the most sense. Even if his current situation in the French League might allow him to significantly change his current stock, its not clear that todays Pecherov is the answer to what NBA teams look for in the first round.
Therefore it wouldnt be surprising at all to see Oleksiy waiting another season, to gain consistency, experience and strength, improve his overall game, and try to make a run at the first round in 2007 when he becomes automatically eligible.
Pecherov is the kind of international player that seems to scare NBA teams away as of late. Hes very skilled considering his size, particularly facing-up the basket, but also inconsistent, skinny and not too intense.
It might be significant that he has been forced to temporarily leave BC Kiev looking for playing time. Kiev is not a bad team at all, but also its far from being a European powerhouse; and the competition this team plays in the Ukranian League and FIBA EuroCup are not by any means top-tier leagues in Europe. Whether this is the team and coaches fault for not trusting him, or his own fault for not being ready enough is a matter of debate, and will likely be answered by his play the rest of the season in Paris.