Nearly six years removed from leaving his home country of Brazil to sign with Spanish Euroleague team Unicaja Malaga, Augusto Cesar Lima is automatically eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft, having been on the radar of international scouts for what seems like forever. After missing much of last season with a back injury, Lima has filled a small role this year for Unicaja, which finished a disappointing 9th in the ACB. He appeared in 55 games, but played sporadically—just 10 minutes per game on average-- despite having become a naturalized Spanish citizen a little over a year ago and no longer occupying the spot of an import/American (non-European Union) player. He had somewhat of a bounce-back performance at this week's adidas EuroCamp, coming up with one strong game in particular in day two after fading in the first day and then sitting out the last day of action.
Augusto Cesar Lima Interview
Lima's intrigue as a prospect hasn't evolved much in recent years, remaining predicated on his combination of size, athleticism, and energy. Standing over 6'10 in shoes with a 7-foot wingspan, 9-foot standing reach and a solid 234-pound frame, Lima has the size and length to play either big man spot. He's a very good athlete whose mobility and willingness to bang on the boards allow him to impact the game with his hustle in spurts, particularly when his motor is running hot.
Offensively, Lima remains very limited, having averaged just 2.7 points over 10 minutes per-game this season, or 11 points per-40, the third worst rate of any player in our top-100 prospect rankings. Nearly half of his field goal attempts come on catch and shoot jumpers from the midrange, but most of his scoring is the result of his ability to finish off cuts, offensive rebounds and pick and rolls. Shooting 30% in the post and away from the rim as a jump shooter according to Synergy Sports Technology, Lima lacks consistent shooting mechanics and refined post moves. He doesn't have a consistent means to create his own shot with the ball in his hands and remains unpolished on the offensive end overall.
Lima does his best work on the offensive end when he's running the floor, setting screens, moving without the ball, and staying active. He doesn't have great touch around the rim and is not adept at finishing over defenders in a crowd, but his mobility and leaping ability make him a good target for lob and dump passes underneath. Capable of playing above the rim and finishing emphatically, Lima shot an impressive 60% at the rim this season.
Lima is a much more impressive defender than he is a scorer. Though he still has an occasional lapse in his fundamentals, and doesn't play with the same intensity all the time, Lima is a versatile defender when dialed in. Willing to bang on the block, Lima could stand to continue improving his frame to deal with stronger back-to-the-basket scorers, but he does a nice job inside the paint and going straight-up on the shot. Ranking among the top-20 per-minute pace adjusted defensive rebounders in the Euroleague this season, Lima can hold his own on the glass as well, although not quite to the extent that you might hope considering how limited he is in other areas.
Perhaps more impressively, though, Lima does a great job closing out shooters and defending away from the rim. Possessing good lateral quickness, he gets in a very low stance and moves his feet well defending the perimeter. His ability to show and recover on the pick and roll is impressive, and he could emerge as a rock solid player on this end of the floor with improved strength and seasoning, even if he isn't going to be a dominant shot-blocker.
Glued to the bench for long stretches this season behind former Magic draft pick Fran Vazquez and 2012 ACB Most Valuable Player Andy Panko, Lima had some nice moments in limited time this season, but has not taken a major step forward in his development the past few years to carve out a larger role. Having split time between the ACB and Unicaja's second teams for years, this was Lima's first season playing for the club's senior team full-time. The best stretch of Lima's career on paper came two years ago when he averaged 16.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per-40 minutes pace-adjusted on loan with then last-place Granada prior to turning in a couple of strong games among middling performances at the 2011 Eurocamp.
Considering his relative lack of opportunity and improvement in recent years, NBA teams will have to ask themselves just what kind of potential Lima has on the offensive end. He doesn't have the best feel for the game and is clearly limited in the scope of what he brings to the table on that end of the floor, but his defense and rebounding leave room for optimism should he be paired with the right set of players and focus on the things he does well. His day two performance at the 2013 adidas EuroCamp was encouraging, and could put him back in the mix to get hear his name called late in the second round, but ultimately Lima isn't generating the same excitement he did a few years back due to his stagnant development and the question marks about his motor. [Read Full Article] 2013 adidas EuroCamp: Day Two June 9, 2013 -Brazilian big man Augusto Cesar Lima played much better today, scoring 14 points on 7/11 shooting and pulling down 4 rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Drawing a couple of charges and rotations over for a few weakside blocks, Lima brought great energy and made an impact defensively and on the glass. He was pushed around on the inside by some of the bigger players in attendance, and needs to continue improving his 234-pound frame, but had a strong showing defensive overall. Offensively, he shot a couple of midrange jump shots, but didn't connect, doing most of his damage right around the rim. Not having developed his skill level significantly, and still trying to carve out a significant role with Unicaja Malaga, Lima is essentially the same player he was two years ago, when he equally impressed with his Treviso performance. He's a hustle player, and while he has room to improve, there's value in 6'10 long, athletic players who compete. Scouts would like to see him bring the same intensity level every time he steps on the court as he did today, but there's little doubt he helped his stock among those who weren't intimately familiar with him as a prospect already. [Read Full Article] NBA Draft Prospects at the 2012 Copa del Rey February 23, 2012 Lima hasn't had an easy season thus far. He wasn't able to play until December due to an injury, and then had to bide his time on Unicaja's second team in the LEB Gold waiting for his Spanish citizenship to become official. Now no longer forced to occupy the spot of an American (non-EU) player for Unicaja, the Brazilian is attempting to work his way into the struggling team's rotation, which has not proven to be easy due to their abundance of big men options.
Thus far he's played just 75 minutes for Unicaja this season, the majority of which have come in garbage time, and another 86 for their “junior” team Clinicas Rincon. Barring something dramatic changing in his situation in Malaga, or possibly another strong performance at the adidas EuroCamp, Lima may need to wait until his draft-eligible year of 2013 to get picked as high as his potential indicates he should. [Read Full Article] 2011 adidas Eurocamp: Day Three and Final Recap June 14, 2011 Big man Augusto Cesar Lima followed up day two well. After struggling shooting 1/9 in the early game again, Lima had a big evening game playing with the EuroCamp All-stars against the U19 Croatia team. Lima finished with 18 points on 7/8 shooting and 7 boards. Clearly the best athlete on the floor, Lima made a killing finishing on the pick and roll, showing excellent hands and terrific length attacking the rim.
Federica Donadi / adidaseurocamp.com
At 6-10, with a solid 7-1 wingspan and very nice leaping ability, Lima looks the part of a NBA big man, especially looking at his frame. His feel for the game does not appear to be the best, his skill-level is still in need of work, and his motor tends to run hot and cold at times, but Lima has the physical tools and upside NBA teams love, and should be a player that's followed closely next year in anticipation of the 2012 NBA draft. [Read Full Article] 2011 adidas Eurocamp: Day Two June 13, 2011 Augusto Cesar Lima, who came in here with plenty of hype but had been having a very underwhelming camp, blew up in the All-star game in the evening producing on both ends with a stat line reading 20 points on 8/8 shooting, 12 rebounds, 6 steals and 2 blocks. Throughout the game, Lima showed quick hands and a knack for finishing on the put-back. His body, length and athleticism put him in a different class of prospect compared with most big men here in Treviso, and the fact that he saw solid playing time in the ACB this year has obviously helped him a great deal. Lima's feel for the game, skill-level and occasionally his motor leaves something to be desired at times, but he's capable of making a significant impact on the game when dialed in thanks to his outstanding physical tools. We'll see how he continues to produce in day three. [Read Full Article] European Roundup: Super Mature Aguilar November 30, 2009 A couple of injuries along the frontline for Unicaja Malaga has opened up playing time for one of the youngsters they’ve been developing for a few years now, 1991-born Brazilian Augusto Cesar Lima. Still sharing time with Malaga's farm team in the Spanish 2nd division (LEB Gold), Clinicas Rincon, Lima has been coming off the bench lately and seeing real minutes in non-garbage time situations.
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 doesn’t possess great strength, and isn’t a very skilled offensive player at the moment. He doesn’t 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. [Read Full Article] Euroleague Final Four: Nike International Junior Tournament May 8, 2009 Brazilian Augusto Lima was somewhat up and down over the course of this tournament, but he was potentially one of the more intriguing prospects around due to his excellent physical profile. Lima has good size at 6-9, to go along with an excellent wingspan and nice athleticism, which evolved first and foremost on the offensive glass, where he was a force at times. Offensively, he’s not terribly skilled or smart, but he does run the floor well and looks comfortable facing up and attacking the rim from 8-12 feet. His perimeter shot looked inconsistent and he was fairly hit or miss on the defensive end, appearing to lack some awareness on this end of the floor. He’s a fairly limited guy at the moment, but considering that he’s only 17 years old, he still has plenty of time to develop. [Read Full Article] L'Hospitalet 2009: Mirotic Makes History January 8, 2009 We were intrigued last year with Lima's potential, and while his physical development appears to be ahead of schedule, the skill department looks well behind. Actually, he hasn't developed any reliable scoring weapons, just producing on both ends of the court with his superior strength and athleticism. Lima is really filling out his body, and his impressive shoulders just let us think that he can still add more weight.
Back to his abilities, Lima never showed a refined low-post game, a reliable shot or any improved ability to put the ball on the floor and allow you to think that he can beat his opponents off the dribble on a regular basis. He does show good positioning, decent timing and interesting coordination, but we'll still need to see some more meat before calling him a serious prospect. [Read Full Article] L’Hospitalet 2008: It’s a Big World January 16, 2008 After the likes of Vitor Faverani and Paulao Prestes, Unicaja continues exploring the Brazilian market with Augusto Lima. Still not very skilled, Lima displays very interesting characteristics. He’s a very athletic player, quick and reactive, also very coordinated, who stays pretty active throughout games. Although a bit skinny, his frame looks very promising enough to add weight, also showing a good wingspan.
Right now, Lima is basically an on-ball player, but he does a nice job moving without the ball to look for opportunities near the basket. Probably the most intriguing part about his scoring game is his excellent touch around the basket with his right hand. He can also connect on some mid-range jumpers with promising consistency. On the other hand, besides his right-handed jumphook, he still doesn’t have any real post-up game, but his coordination, promising frame and effectiveness around the basket is an excellent building block for a productive low post package.
Although we never saw Lima attacking his rival off the dribble, he did put the ball on the floor a few times when completely open, suggesting a moderate optimism about his ability to develop some ball-handling skills. A decent passer, especially from the low post, he seems to enjoy a solid basketball IQ.
Everything in his game speaks promise and potential. He’s a very limited guy now, but with the tools to develop into a serious player. We’ll keep an eye on him. [Read Full Article]