|Team: NON-NBA College Team: AEK Athens|
H: 6' 11"|
W: 215 lbs
(30 Years Old)
|Agent: Misko Raznatovic ||
Hometown: Belgrade, Serbia
Buried under the incredible depth of Panathinaikosí roster, Dusan Sakota somehow spent the past few seasons hiding the scoring power he had shown at the junior stages. This year, playing with Panionios, he has had a perfect chance to show what he can do on the basketball court, while finally enjoying consistent minutes. After some ups and downs, nice, but not spectacular performances, Sakota finally blossomed with a 22-point showing that greatly helped his team win on the road over a Euroleague squad such as Aris, and eventually granted him the weekly MVP award of the Greek League.
It was a three-point shooting outburst, as Sakota connected on almost everything he attempted from behind the arc. Itís been no secret for many years now that his great shooting stroke is the main weapon of the Greek forward, and nothing seems to have changed. Exhibiting his excellent mechanics with a very quick release, he netted 6 of his 8 attempts in which every single scored shot looked perfect, going extremely clean through the net. On the other hand, he also exposed his limitations, as he looked again looked like too much of a one dimensional player, precisely relying excessively on his perimeter stroke.
Dusan Sakota was never considered a big time prospect to start with, despite putting up solid numbers in junior competitions as well as a good performance in the Nike Hoop Summit game two years ago. Regardless, he received some attention from scouts in the past few years, but as went goes by, his attractiveness has decreased as many of his weaknesses became exposed at the Euroleague level. There are many question marks around how he might fare against the more athletic and physical competition of the NBA. The fact that he plays for one of the most powerful teams in Europe - Panathinaikos Athens, doesnít help either since Dusan has struggled to receive necessary playing time as he is not a regular part of the rotation.
Sakota lacks a true position, having the offensive game of a small forward, the size of a power forward, and the quickness of a center. He struggles to stay in front of most perimeter players since he doesnít have adequate lateral speed. He also hardly shows any post skills and his slight build makes him a regular victim in the post. His biggest asset is his size and perimeter jumper, standing somewhere around 6-9, possessing long arms to get his shot off. He is good shooter with range beyond the international three-point line, but mostly from static positions. Occasionally Sakota will show glimpses of a slashing game, putting the ball on the floor and taking advantage of the unbalanced position of his defender, but this is not his usual resource of scoring. Dusan shows good mobility running up and down the floor, but his athleticism would be a serious issue in the NBA. Defensively he has a lot work to do, even if he shows good awareness and instincts reading offenses and making quality rotations, his lack of speed and strength limits his overall ability on that side of the floor.
Considering that he doesnít have a true position, is not a impressive athlete and doesnít show a great skill-set outside of his jumper, Sakota is on the outside looking in when speaking about an NBA draft. While we cannot exclude the option of someone picking him up in the 2nd round, it will take either some great individual workouts or serious improvement in his game over the course of next season to see that happening. Sakota will need to start contributing on the European level sooner rather than later, and a change of scenery might be necessary for him to get some consistent playing time.
Dusan Sakota is suffering from the crazy depth of Panathinaikos (arguably the strongest European squad top-to-bottom) to the point that he plays and produces less than last season. He hasnít scored a single point in the Euroleague in over a month now, and when it comes to the Greek League he only averages 4.2 points and 2 rebounds in 18 minutes of playing time (he achieved 6.2 points per game last season). Beyond the playing time issue, this is also fed by the poor shooting accuracy that heís showing this season. Sakotaís first and most important weapon is his perimeter stroke, and heís struggling badly, netting only 14% of his three-pointers in the Greek League. This is an awful percentage, particularly when you consider than most of those attempts are wide open shots. If his shots arenít falling in, Sakota becomes a rather worthless player, as he rarely slashes or plays without the ball, his defense is average. His passing ability doesnít stand out, and generally speaking, he doesnít seem to be much of a physical presence on the court. All in all, the situation screams for a loan: Sakota would probably benefit from gaining experience and assuming some responsibilities on a weaker Greek team.[Read Full Article]
For a guy like him, not finishing among the top-5 scorers canít be considered anything but a disappointment. Sakota again showcased his terrific perimeter stroke, but his flaws where as evident as ever. A player apparently allergic to the paint, Sakota hung around the three-point line to display his perimeter-oriented game. He exposed a very average first step when putting the ball on the floor, which paired with a certain lack of aggressiveness, limited his effectiveness a lot in his timid slashing attempts. Besides, he left little trace of any kind of low-post game. Heís a 6-10 power forward without the athleticism of a wing nor the toughness of a frontcourt guy (for example, only 5.3 rebounds in 34 minutes per game). We were certainly hoping for more after spending a few years under the guidance of coach Obradovic in Panathinaikos.[Read Full Article]
The talented, but extremely young Dusan Sakota didn't play at all in the semi-final against Maccabi, as it was too crucial a game for coach Obradovic to trust this young, skinny forward with any playing time.
In the 3rd-4th place game, Obradovic gave the kid some playing time and he responded pretty well. Despite being charged with fouls he never committed, he looked comfortable and was able to take a few shots when his teammates passed him the ball. Being long and flexible, he managed to beat his opponents twice off the dribble, while on one occasion showing a splendid slashing movement, drawing three defenders and ending up with an impressive assist. He also scored a trey from the corner, despite being guarded well and had one easy basket after an assist.
Overall, he did just fine and managed to stay on the court until he fouled out. The only awkward moment for him was his idea to try and bring the ball up the court at the end of the 4th quarter against CSKA's full court press defense, which ended with a turnover and the basket from CSKA, forcing the 1st overtime.
He showed good movement, a key contribution in the team's progress in the court, nice court vision, quick legs and some improvement on defense. As always, his shooting touch is great, as is his cold blood. Slowly, he will become a regular contributor, wherever he plays next season.
Sakota attempted to bang with the US big boys in the first half, with disastrous results. He didn't have nearly enough strength to post anybody up, and looked a split second too slow on nearly everything he attempted to do. However, Sakota got a chance to play out on the perimeter for a stretch in the second half, and acquitted himself quite nicely. He has a beautiful quick release jumper, and enough of a first step to do some damage off the dribble against post players that come out and try to defend him. However, his lack of strength is a critical deficiency at this point. Dusan Sakota probably has some potential down the road, but would be wise to wait a couple of years and add weight to his frame before attempting to make the jump.[Read Full Article]
Promising, long-term talent, with an excellent shot for his height. Despite being only 18, he has the type of experience that other players could only dream of. He "plays" for one of the best teams in Europe (Panathinaikos, Greece) and has been a factor offensively in the few times his coach has asked him to enter the court during the past two seasons.
He is not afraid to take the crucial, last minute shots. He has cold blood and is able to release a trey even when he is being guarded closely. He is a smart player, making good decisions and taking the shot in such a way that it is impossible to be blocked. His shooting style shows that the guy is as pure a shooter as they come, with a curvy way of getting his shot off.
He has developed a nice slashing game, which allows him to create mismatches with opposing SF's, as he is too tall for other players at this position at close to 6-11.
In defense, he may not be big, but he can steal the ball in a very smart way, due to his quick, long arms.
Considering his age (18) you could say that he has a lot of potential to improve down the road. His father is a coach in Greece and therefore has been around basketball his whole life.
Except for a sweet outside shot, his all-around game is not developed at all.
First of all, he is a liaility on defense. He is very skinny, needing to add at least 15-20 pounds, and a bit clumsy defensively. He misses almost all of his opponents on D, regardless of their size, strength or quickness. After he was acquired by Panathinaikos, one would think that he would be hitting the gym on a daily basis, but that never happened.
His rebounding is OK, but really nothing more than that. When other stronger or bigger players are in the box he has no chance of coming up with the board. His offensive rebounding ability is basically nonexistent. He'll grab an offensive board only if the ball lands perfectly into his hands.
Offensively, he hasn't rounded out his game as much as you might have expected practicing everyday with a top Euroleague team over the past two years. All he can do right now is shoot, which is good, but this makes him extremely predictable once the scouting report on him is out. Only rarely will he try to slash to the basket, but when he needs to pass the ball, we realize that he doesn't excel here either.
His skills are not bad in general, but he has lacked the playing time to really work on them. His athleticism is below average, but it can definitely improve as he continues to gain strength. Right now, he is very weak and he hasn't shown any kind leaping ability. His quickness isn't bad but he rarely runs the floor at full speed.
He plays for Panathinaikos Athens. This is the best team in Greece, the champions last year and a top-16 team this year in the Euroleague, with high possibilities to make it in the quarter finals.
After some games with very limited playing time, his coach has now excluded him from the 12-player squad, after adding some important veterans for the Euroleague games. In the Greek A1, he has only played in 8 games, averaging 12 mpg, 6.1 ppg shooting off 50% from the field and 44% from behind the arc and also 1.0 rpg and 0.5 spg. In the Euroleague, he played 6 games, averaging almost 6 mpg, 2 ppg and 1rpg.
Despite his size, shooting touch and smarts, it isn't difficult to realize that a player like him who is seriously lacking in strength, experience through playing time and also has not shown any specific signs of athleticism, shouldn't really be thinking about the NBA right now.
What is good for Dusan, the son of successful coach Dragan Sakota, is his age. He is only 18, he already has been a major star for the younger National Teams of Greece and his potential is high, at least concerning his size and shooting ability.
According to rumours in Greece, Sakota will be leaving Panathinaikos this year, maybe for Spain, but preferably to a team that will actually play him. But even then, he will need to show much patience and persistence, in order to gain some increased playing time and also bulk up and become an all around player offensively and less of a liability on defense. This sounds like a very heavy burden for a young player to handle, and this will probably take Dusan a little while at least.
As for this year's draft, Dusan has already declared, but will only keep his name in if he's a mid-first rounder, which means that he probably won't be in the draft this year after all. His chances next year, assuming that his work ethic will improve significantly, will definitely be higher. He might reveal some hidden secrets of his game too.
Sakota was completely unknown before the Summer of 2003 when he played at the Junior world championships. Here he first appeared as the 12th man for the Greek U-19 NT. He was the youngest and least known player for a team that included Clippers draft pick Sophocles Schortsianitis and two other players that are featured on DraftExpress, Costas Vassiliadis and Panayiotis Vassilopoulos. Greece finished 3rd in the competition and in one game, Dusan scored 14 points in 4 minutes, while making all his shots.
Last summer, he was the best scorer of the U-19 team of Greece in the very competitive European Championships. In a crucial game versus the highly touted big man Martynas Andriuskevicius and Lithuania, he scored a career-high 35 points on 7-12 treys and grabbed 11 boards.
Dusan is the son of Dragan Sakota, former Serbian player and current coach in Greece. And it doesn't come as a surprise when you observe his more refined skills. Sakota's main strength is undoubtedly his shot. He is a consummate gunner, capable of realeasing his jumper from any position as soon as he recieves the ball. He never needs to draw a precise route for the ball to leave his hands. For example, he can recieve the ball over his head and simply throw it from there. It makes him really quick and hard to stop, especially when you consider that he's 6'10. A 40% clip from behind the arc with nearly 9 tries a game is a great percentage.
Beyond his shot, there is nothing really outstanding about his game. He can put the ball on the floor using some nice handles, but he is rarely able to light up his defender. He is not all that quick (he isn't slow either, just average), although that seldom gets him into trouble, as he passes the ball quite well against pressure, even when double-teamed, to find the open man on the other wing. Right now he doesn't seem to be a player capable of creating his own shot at the next level, at least not on a regular basis. Despite his 6'10 frame, he is not a post player. If he finds himself with the ball in the low post he usually looks for a turnaround fade-away shot. He doesn't seem to like the contact too much.
And that is at the heart of what I dislike the most about his game: his lack of aggressiveness. He is too cold on both ends of the court. He gets knocked on defense, which is quite logical considering he is still rather skinny, but sometimes it looks like he is not even trying. Offensively, it's too much of a shooting one-act, and he doesn't show passion in his game. Having said that, it deserves mention that he is a player who doesn't hide when it comes to taking the decisive shots. He's very confident and makes many of them.
So, Sakota is a most intriguing player when you consider his stroke and his fairly athletic, 6'10 body, but he leaves many questions up in the air. Will he play small forward or power forward? In Zaragoza he played the four position, but he lacks aggressiveness to defend the paint. From the wing he is too slow at both ends of the court. NBA potential? Sure. But he doesn't look like the kind of guy capable of fulfilling it.