H: 6' 9"|
W: 234 lbs
(32 Years Old)
|Agent: Rade Filipovich ||
Hometown: Liege, Belgium
Drafted: Pick 52 in 2005 by Nuggets
Best Case: Reggie Evans
Worst Case: Michael Bradley
-Axel Hervelle (#22 on rights held ranking) may be the one affected most by the signings of American combo forwards Jeremiah Massey and Quinton Hosley, as they play essentially the same position of him. The scrappy Belgian is having a far worse season than last year, seeing his efficiency numbers drop dramatically, as both his 2-point and 3-point percentages are down by around 10%. He’s also rebounding much worse and turning the ball over much more, making him quite a bit less interesting for the NBA than in the past. Considering the tightrope act Denver is walking with the luxury tax, it seems highly unlikely that we’ll see him coming over anytime soon. He signed a three year contract this past summer regardless, for over a million Euro per year.[Read Full Article]
The Denver Nuggets’ second round pick out of Belgium in 2005 had a very nice showing here at the Copa del Rey, looking like he’s continuing to make strides in various parts of his game, to the point that he might be ready to make the jump over to the NBA as early as this upcoming summer.
An undersized power forward in the Eduardo Najera mold, Hervelle isn’t the most talented player you’ll find around, but he’s definitely a very useful guy to have. 6-8, with long arms, excellent hands and reasonably good athleticism, Hervelle gets most of his production through sheer hustle, whether it’s running the floor, grabbing offensive rebounds, setting excellent screens, and being very physical and aggressive on both ends of the floor. He plays solid team defense, showing nice awareness in this area and even being capable of blocking a shot on occasion. His skill level seems to be getting better as well, showing a nice stroke from mid-range and behind the arc, and the ability to take advantage of spaces to put the ball on the floor if the situation calls for it. He’s also a good passer, and seems to keep his mistakes to a minimum, which further helps his cause as your consummate glue-guy that every team needs at least one of.
The problem for Hervelle is that the Nuggets already have not one, but two players at his position who somewhat overlap with what he brings to the table as far as size, physical tools and skills are concerned—Eddie Najera and Linas Kleiza (even if they differ in various areas as well). For that reason, it might be hard to justify bringing in a third player in that mold. It’s a good problem to have, though, and considering is his age and how much Najera makes, it might make sense to bring in Hervelle soon and start grooming him to take over that role soon.
Although a player with limited skills and abilities, Axel Hervelle is a hard-working guy who is perennially improving mode. This edition of the King’s Cup was a good test to check his stage of development.
As usual, he shined the most in everything that had to do with intensity and activity. His defense was remarkable, showing excellent positioning and staying physical on his opponents. His strength, mobility and wingspan are good tools to remain effective on a regular basis. He was also very active cleaning the boards on both ends of the court, getting as a result several points off offensive rebounds. Actually, he was one of the few guys who came alive in the massacre his team suffered in the final, recording a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Since the first game he played in Madrid, two years and a half ago, Hervelle has always showed a nice basketball IQ in defensive settings, while it’s everyday more visible in the offensive end. You can see him more integrated in the offensive flow, recognizing advantages, taking good and quick decisions or eventually trying things like penetrations to give good use of his explosiveness. Still his main offensive weapon is his perimeter shot, not that much effective in this Cup, but a nice resource to spread defenses and add points.
With the Denver Nuggets holding his draft rights, he’s a player that might eventually receive an opportunity in the NBA, possibly as soon as this summer. He could become a very decent role player there, although perhaps he lacks the tools (size, skills) to emerge into something more.
The Belgian delivered his usual effort and intensity, getting the defensive work done and grabbing some rebounds. But he was non-existent offensively. He had played some nice games heading into the Cup, becoming a menace from behind the three point line and taking part in the offensive game, but in Zaragoza he disappeared.
If Axel Hervelle were to be judged by this competition alone, there would be no shot whatsoever of him being drafted. Luckily for him that's not the case. Anyway, considering the time left for him to impress, performances like this one don't help at all for a guy who is a borderline second rounder as it is.
This little known Belgian player has made some noise this season in the Euroleague. Having signed with Real Madrid after the season already started, Axel Hervelle has fit on to his team right away. He needed no time to adjust and made no excuses at all. He has contributed from day one, delivering maximum effort and always staying focused.
The buzz around Axel when he came suggested that he was a combo forward on his way to the small forward position. Soon it was clear that Hervelle had little to do with a small forward (at least for the moment). Hervelle contributed more from the paint initially this year for Real, using his quickness, strength, athleticism, intensity and a pretty good basketball sense. He has become quite a valuable player on defense (especially team defense) and rebounding, providing his team with more aggressiveness and a better transition game, as he's an excellent floor runner. On the other hand, his offensive skills looked very poor, with nothing more than garbage points to speak of.
But as the season has advanced, he has begun showing a better perimeter shot every day, to the point that he has scored half of his treys attempted, which became quite a lot by the end of the regular season (he has averaged 3.4 attempts in his last seven games). This consistency has given him more confidence on the offensive end, daring to try even more things with the ball. It has also been noticeable in his passing, which is somewhat improved.
The top-16 stage awaits him, and given the offensive progression he's showing, his role in Real Madrid might grow hand in hand with his statistical production. He seems to be quite a competitive player, and he surely won't shy away from this challenge.
However, Hervelle is still rather unpolished, not particularly skilled; a role player in a competition where he barely reaches the category of an average player. But he has written his name in the second round bubble thanks to his effort on the court and his willingness to improve.
Unlike the majority of international big man coming to the NBA, Axel Hervelle is much more of a physical-oriented athlete rather than an incredibly skilled player. He displays good athleticism, enjoying a good vertical and quickness that make him a very mobile paint player, always running up and down the court. His body looks decently strong, showing broad shoulders and a good frame to keep adding weight, and a nice wingspan.
Hervelle is a high-energy guy. He’s very intense on the court, and never saves any effort playing the game. You can see him all over the court, running the break, going after any loose ball, flying to get a block, actively looking for the rebound, multiplying himself on defense, etc. Indeed, being a nice defender with an accurate lateral quickness, he excels on team defense. His sense of positioning is great, rarely committing any mistakes in defensive rotations. He’s particularly aggressive looking for the offensive rebound.
On the offensive end, Hervelle moves reasonably well without the ball which allows him to get open looks near the basket. He also is working on his shot, being able to make the international three pointer with some accuracy. His mechanics aren’t bad, and his release is rather fast.
The Belgian is a team player, a hard worker who always shows the right attitude.
Hervelle barely shows any reliable offensive weapons. His shot is very inconsistent at this point, and his low post game looks rather unpolished the few times he uses it, due to his poor footwork. He’s not a slasher either. So we’re talking basically about a guy who scores most of his points off garbage, getting points out of offensive rebounds, after getting feed by a teammate in the paint, perhaps finishing a fast-break or hitting the occasional jumper.
That’s really a big knock on his game. When you picture a 6-9 power forward prospect, you usually guess he will compensate his average size with some decent offensive skills. Well, it’s clear this is not the case here.
Regarding his defense, while he’s a very good defender, when a bigger opponent gets position near the basket, it’s rather difficult for Axel to stop him, which is logical for a 6-9 paint player.
Hervelle played in Belgium all his life up until this season, mostly for Pepinster. There, in a league not considered particularly strong in Europe, his best season was the last one, in 2003/04, when he averaged 10.2 points and 9.6 rebounds in the Belgian League, and had 9.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in the ULEB Cup.
He moved to Spain early in the current season looking for better competition and more exposure, and he’s averaging 7 points and 4.7 rebounds in the Euroleague so far with Real Madrid, and 5.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in the ACB league.
He’s also played for the Belgium National Teams since the cadet level. In September of 2004, he participated in the qualifying round for the 2005 European Championships with the senior National Team, finishing as the second best rebounder with 10.7, behind only Dirk Nowitzki.
Although it’s far from being a sure thing, Hervelle will likely have a chance to get drafted this year (he’s automatically elegible). If that happens, anything higher than a mid-low second round should be considered a notable reach. Any team betting on him will probably look to leave him in Europe with the hope of a future development of his skills.
Hervelle is not the most exciting prospect around. His strengths barely make up for his weaknesses. His current abilities make him at best a marginal contributor from deep off the bench in the NBA. But we can’t rule out a certain development of his offensive game in the near future. I guess that will be the thought of any team picking him in the next draft.