|Team: Zenit St Petersburg|
H: 6' 9"|
W: 198 lbs
(26 Years Old)
Current: SF |
Hometown: Murmansk, Russia
The extremely disappointing Russian National Team was stacked with long and skinny, but promisingly built and athletic forwards, just like a brand out of a factory. Among them, Valiev was the man standing out, both in terms of physical-athletic gifts, as well as because of some very raw skills. He comes to join the endless list of sized Russian small forwards (he stands 6-9) that regularly fill the international ranks.
Still physically underdeveloped, a bit thin-framed (still pretty decent for a small forward) and enjoying long arms, he's also nicely athletic for his size, and pretty active using his light feet. His game resulted as poorly consistent as his team's, but he left drops of some ability shooting, passing and even slashing, everything in a very early stage of development.
Valiev didn't shy away from shooting the ball, regardless of his poor accuracy, but still showcased good range out to the three-point line, off-the-dribble skills from mid-range distances and some decent mechanics that need to gain consistency. Facing the basket from behind the three-point line, he found his teammates regularly, as he can nicely see the court. He would eventually try to cash in off his size in the low post, but he wouldn't show refined low-post footwork, instead trying to use his quickness to beat his opponents. Valiev indeed shows a decent first step to attack his match-ups off the dribble, but he suffers a blatant lack of ball-handling skills with his left hand, greatly limiting his options on the court.
Active on defense, he looks for rejections on defensive rotations, moves his feet pretty fast, and should be able to match-up against wings when everything is said and done. Besides, he crashes the boards searching for rebounds on both ends of the court.
Anyway, Valiev has such a long way to go that we shouldn't consider him anything else than an intriguing youngster with long-term potential. But at least he shows some nice attitude and solid basketball instincts.