Just like in last years DraftExpress Eurobasket preview, everything on the Greek National team begins and ends with Dimitris Diamantidis
. Considered one of Europe's best at his position and tested in a number of various situations, Diamantidis paced Greece in last summer's Eurobasket triumph and then continued with another fine Euroleague season, where he won the Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight season.
At 6-5, Diamantidis excels mainly on defense and has significantly improved his court vision. Not being a prolific scorer, he settles for a minimal offensive role in Panathinaikos' perimeter game and offered only complementary help when the more offense-oriented Jaka Lakovic and Vassilis Spanoulis
A wonderful defensive player and an all-around guard overall, Diamantidis has gained a lot of confidence both in zone and man to man defenses, becoming a very useful tool of the coach who usually pushes him to guard the best offensive player of the opposing team, or allows him to lead his teammates in a very well worked team defense plan.
His body type, characterized by his long arms and strong legs allow him to come up with more steals than almost anyone in Europe. Aided by his smarts, toughness and above average vertical leap, hes an excellent rebounder and shot-blocker for his size, with most of the blocks coming on rotations.
Offensively, despite his lack of a decent long-range shot, he can use his slashing skills well enough and either finish or look for the open teammate.
On the other hand, though, as good and effective as a player like him can be in International play, Diamantidis has a few shortcomings which severely limit his potential in the individual game, with most of them coming on the offensive end and stemming from his lack of creativity. His court vision, although improved, still needs much work, as it lacks the initiative to create scoring opportunities for teammates, except if he is given specific directions on that.
His offensive game is and will always be limited, as he is not a shooter and his inability and often hesitance to take any type of shot but a layup causes defenses to lax, and thus, his game becomes quite predictable.
On defense, his feet are strong, but he lacks the necessary athleticism to follow some quicker players, especially off the dribble, even though his defensive game will not meet any significant problem, as he is more athletic than most European guards.
Overall, Diamantidis stays on court more than any other Greek player and, despite the existence of some terrific perimeter guards in the team roster, he is the most valuable player of that team; always flexible enough to move to any perimeter position on both ends and either be the star or the role player. The lack of a fluid offensive game doesn't mean that he will not be the guy that will always be on court, even in a complementary role to help his teammates achieve easier baskets, as it is obvious than whenever he is benched, Greece lacks the spark and patience needed to win the game and keep the pace stable.