|Team: NON-NBA College Team: Panathinaikos|
H: 6' 5"|
W: 194 lbs
(36 Years Old)
|Agent: SELF ||
Hometown: Kastoria, Greece
Clearly the most important player on Panathinaikos’ roster, Dimitris Diamantidis has established himself as arguably the top point guard in European basketball for quite some time, and possibly the best defender as well. This season he’s been playing as well as ever, improving his perimeter shooting (on a limited amount of attempts) and playing his typical heady, efficient, selfless brand of winning basketball. Diamantidis’ style of play wouldn’t lend itself automatically to the NBA if he ever decided to try and make the jump over, but he’s so versatile and such a valuable cog that a smart coach would likely find a way to make him an important contributor on the right team.[Read Full Article]
It’s obvious that at 12-2, tied for the best record in the Euroleague, Panathinaikos needs to have at least one player on this list. Considering just how incredibly deep they are (Sarunas Jasikevicius, Vassilis Spanoulis, Mike Batiste, etc) the best bet is probably to go with the one player who plays more minutes than anyone else—their point guard Dimitris Diamantidis.
Diamantidis is no stranger to readers of this site, as we’ve written about him numerous times in the past. He’s one of the more unorthodox players you’ll find around, a gangly looking Greek who is nicknamed “Octupus Man,” because of the length of his arms. He’s the type of point guard who plays the game at his own pace, showing great patience, terrific ball-handling skills, excellent body control, and your typical funky European moves (jumping off the wrong foot, using long and drawn out hesitation moves, throwing in an extra step after penetrating for a layup, etc).
He’s not a scorer, and probably even can’t be described as being particularly athletic in a traditional way, but he has a lot of different wrinkles to his game, which make him hard to defend. Diamantidis can post-up, create a shot for himself off a nice crossover, hit a spot-up 3-pointer with terrific accuracy, and especially run an offense. He’s incredibly unselfish, and sees the floor extremely well from his very high vantage point, standing 6-5. He knows when to push the ball and when to slow down, and is a pretty mistake free guy considering that he runs one of the fastest paced teams in the entire Euroleague. Scoring is not something he’s particularly concerned about, though, as you can guess by the 8.2 points he averages per game. Most of his shots come from behind the arc, in simple spot-up, wide-open fashion with his feet set. Simple is probably the best way to describe his game actually.
Defensively is where Diamantidis really earns his paycheck. We can’t describe his efforts here any better than our very own Luis Fernandez already has last summer…”A nightmare match-up, Diamantidis' strong 6-5 body and his endless arms are usually all over his opponents. He’s not an athletic freak, but he’s still nice in this area and a player who makes the most of it. Extremely active, and extremely smart in his efforts, his positioning is close to perfect, being equally good in man-to-man defense or team defense. He’s awfully hard to beat given his length and lateral quickness, he stays physical on his opponent, but doesn’t get obsessed with his match-up and gladly helps his teammates, either on the perimeter or the paint, but at the same time he’s capable of recovering to his man very quickly. Not risking his positioning, he’s always alert enough to come up with a steal in the passing line, while he’s also not a bad shot-blocker (leading his team in the Euroleague this past season in this department).”
At the end of the day, it’s hard to see Diamantidis making it over to the NBA anytime soon, although you can never say never. If he does ever decide to change his mind, he should have some suitors, even if his game doesn’t look like it might translate that well on first glance. There is no question that he can help someone, though. He will be trying to win his second straight Euroleague championship this May, and then needs to guide Greece through a qualifying process in Athens to reach the Olympics once again.
Alongside his countryman Papaloukas, the left-handed Diamantidis is probably at the very top of the European scene right now, especially after winning Euroleague Final Four MVP honors, but he’s quite a different kind of point guard though. While Theo does his real damage on the offensive end, Diamantidis is a defensive monster, downright scary.
A nightmare match-up, Diamantidis' strong 6-5 body and his endless arms are usually all over his opponents. He’s not an athletic freak, but he’s still nice in this area and a player who makes the most of it. Extremely active, and extremely smart in his efforts, his positioning is close to perfect, being equally good in man-to-man defense or team defense. He’s awfully hard to beat given his length and lateral quickness, he stays physical on his opponent, but doesn’t get obsessed with his match-up and gladly helps his teammates, either on the perimeter or the paint, but at the same time he’s capable of recovering to his man very quickly. Not risking his positioning, he’s always alert enough to come up with a steal in the passing line, while he’s also not a bad shot-blocker (leading his team in the Euroleague this past season in this department).
Offensively, he’s a very good player, quite unspectacular, but really solid. Besides, he’s growing as a playmaker and scorer. A nice ball-handler, he uses his strength and footwork to effectively attack his match-ups, although he could be a lot more active in this department. He often settles for a kickout pass instead of going all the way to the basket, showing solid court vision (he sees the weak side really well) and decision making. It’s a pattern in his game, the way he avoids the spotlight, sacrifices for the team and shows great unselfishness. Diamantidis takes advantage of his size to create mismatches posting-up smaller opponents. His shot has gained a lot of consistency lately, looking solid out to the three-point line and also quicker in the release, which provides him a lot more opportunities to fire.
Dimitrios is not a greatly creative player, nor is he the type of point guard who likes to dominate the ball and the offense, but he shows an excellent basketball IQ, commits few mistakes and always stays focused. Really a hard-working guy.
A hypothetical future in the NBA looks very unclear at this point for Diamantidis. He has repeatedly stated that he’s not interested in the American league, while he’s an extremely highly appreciated player in Europe, and particularly in Panathinaikos, which means that he’s making very good money (recently having signed a 3-year contract for a reported 5 million Euros net). Anyway, if by any chance he ends up playing in the NBA, don’t expect a star, but the ultimate team player, a complimentary player who does the dirty work and shares the ball with his teammates, a real glue guy.
Octopus Man they call him. With that name, he should be the bad guy in this movie, the nemesis of the hero (Papaloukas). After all, he’s the current Euroleague Defensive Player of the Year… for the third consecutive season; so he would be the character in charge of destroying Theo’s creativity. They even match up physically pretty well: both are big playmakers, and if Diamantidis is a couple inches smaller, he makes up for it with his superb wingspan. We would have a story there, but Dimitrios is much more than a stopper, he’s actually an excellent point guard in his own right. Besides, it would be hard to convince anyone in Hollywood to produce this movie, since this time it was the bad guy who prevailed in the end.
That’s right, Diamantidis led Panathinaikos all the way to the Euroleague title and collected the Final Four MVP award that distinguished him as the best player in the event. It was a well-deserved reward. He did a splendid job on the offensive end, but particularly (and as usual) was a monster on defense. Dimitrios doesn’t greatly stand out for his quickness or general athleticism, but he manages to get everywhere on court. He’s so smart, tough, sacrificed, that his great wingspan on his 6-5 body becomes a nightmare for his rivals. He’s truly a stopper for his match-ups, but still has time to realize multiple defensive rotations, take charges, contest shots, even block them, scoping out the passing lanes… and recover his match-up on time to keep him under control. You can bet he still would be an excellent defender at the NBA level.
For people buying into the defensive-specialist stereotype, the things Diamantidis can do on the offensive end might come as a surprise, but we’re dealing with a very smart point guard, effective distributing the ball, who enjoys nice ability to drive and dish and who is developing a very consistent perimeter stroke.
Like Papaloukas, Diamantidis uses his superior size and strength to drive towards the basket and unbalance the rival’s defense, also displaying very solid ball-handling skills and footwork. Indeed he was quite aggressive in the final, successfully trying to make things happen with his slashing moves. He’s a nice passer, seeing the floor over his rivals and finding his teammates even on the weak side. He can shoot off the dribble, with three-point range, and he’s increasing the quickness of his release. He shows an excellent basketball IQ, even if he’s not so dominant controlling the game (and its tempo) as his countryman. Indeed, Dimitrios is a low-profile type of player, never searching for the spotlight, but who ends up shining due to his incredible work ethic on court and developed ability to play the game.
Diamantidis has often expressed that he has no interest in the NBA. Whether that’s completely true or not, the only certainty in our eyes is that he’s a hell of a player that could do a terrific job for many NBA franchises. Particularly, there are countless teams featuring highly effective scoring guards, where he would perfectly fit as a glue guy to dramatically improve the team’s defense while making good decisions with the ball in his hands and knocking down open shots on the offensive end.
Diamantidis is the top defensive player in international basketball, and the leader of a very powerful Panathinakos squad; one of the main favorites to claim the Euroleague title this season.
Dimitris has posted his usual all-around numbers across the board to complement his amazing defensive ability. Diamantidis is a tall, gritty point guard with long arms, good lateral quickness and extremely impressive defensive instincts and awareness. He is a lockdown defender who makes good decisions on the offensive end and shows steady playmaking ability.
Diamantidis can get by his man, as well as make shots when needed. He has above average court vision and passing ability, being efficient rather than spectacular. He is not much of a scorer and is at most an average athlete who lacks some speed and explosiveness.
Still, his low profile character, excellent defense and solid playmaking ability will get him strong looks from NBA teams in the upcoming summer. The question is whether he is at all interested, since he’s repeatedly down-played that possibility in the past. He’s probably one of the more humble and “low maintenance” guys you’ll find, even by European standards.
Just like in last year’s 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 were benched.
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, he’s 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.