|Team: Hawks College Team: Pau-Orthez|
H: 7' 0"|
W: 260 lbs
(30 Years Old)
|Agent: Sam Goldfeder ||
High School: Institut Nacional du Sport de Lexpertise
Hometown: Paris, France
Drafted: Pick 25 in 2005 by Supersonics
Best Case: Samuel Dalembert At Full Potential
Worst Case: Steven Hunter
Overview: A young French center who has great natural physical tools, but doesn’t have the fundamentals or feel for the game to take advantage of them at this point. Tall, long, and extremely well built. Moves well for a center. Possesses decent vertical explosiveness. Relies on his athleticism to be effective at this point in his career. Has some unpolished offensive tools to work with, but does not know his limitations in the least bit. Shows decent touch around the rim on occasion. Shoots a very poor percentage from the field. Good shot blocker, with the potential to be great. Could improve immediately by cutting down on fouls. Lack of experience makes it hard for him to be consistent defensively. Possesses the tools to be a good defender. Pretty raw in all areas of the game. Needs to bring more intensity and effort to both games and practice to begin to get to where he needs to be. Has been known to mail it in at times. Lets his emotions get the better of him on occasion.
Offense: A very raw center who is still struggling to find himself on the offensive end. Gets about half of his touches in the post and from spot ups, with the other half coming from hustle plays. Not efficient in the least bit relative to his height. Displays a decent jumper for a player his size, but tends to fall in love with it. Will try and put the ball on the floor to score at times, but struggles badly doing so. Does most of his post damage on the left block where he can turn over his left shoulder and go to his right handed hook shot. Has gotten better in that regard, but is still working on his touch. Will use his athleticism effectively to grab some offensive rebounds and be the beneficiary of good passes from his teammates. Finishes at the rim at a decent rate, but not a good enough one for an athlete of his caliber. Needs to expect more from himself. Shoots a great percentage from the foul stripe. Doesn’t have a lot of polish outside of that. A poor passer who can be a bit of a black hole at times.
Defense: Has the size, length, athleticism and strength to be a good defender, but is very green on the defensive end. Will get fakes off his feet from time to time. Very foul prone. Decent rebounder. Needs experience and seasoning in practice, but may lack the natural feel to get all that much better at this point. Could become a very good shot blocker down the line. Needs to learn how to read offensive players better.
One of the more maligned prospects in this year's draft, Petro is clearly a victim of his own potential and subsequent failure to achieve it as quickly as many have demanded out of him. For how long he's been on the radar, and with the way some people talk about how he hasn't developed, one would think that he's pushing 30 already. At the end of the day, though, he is still 19 years old (younger than Gerald Green), still 7 feet tall and still extremely athletic for his size, even if he's been around the block once or twice.
In terms of physical attributes, they just don't make them like him in the States anymore, and that's what makes him super intriguing to me personally. He has great size and an outstanding body for a 19 year old, a body that is ready to come in and get minutes right off the bat as long as Petro prepares himself the way most NBA players do for the season. His frame is excellent and is ready to put on about as much muscle as he'll need in the NBA. His wingspan is very good as well, and he already knows how to use it quite well to intimidate around the basket. Athletically, he moves awfully well for a 7 footer; fluidly and with good coordination. He has somewhat of a laid-back demeanor to him, but when he wants to, he can certainly get up off the floor, on both ends around the basket. He's not Amare Stoudemire or anything like that, but he'll definitely be considered one of the more athletic 7 footers in the league almost right off the bat. I especially like his quickness moving around the court; he's mobile moving both east to west and north to south.
In terms of skills, nothing he does is too polished just yet, but he is doing pretty well considering his age, and he certainly has a big upside to continue to improve. Defensively is where he'll earn his minutes in the league initially, and I am sure he will relish the fact that NBA refs will actually let him play for a change. Physical big men and Europe just don't seem to go well together for some reason (ask Tim Duncan about that). The kid wants to bang, but the refs call ticky-tack fouls on him like they are going out of style, and that really takes away from what he's able to contribute on the court at this point. That style of play will definitely go over much better in the NBA, and I am sure his coach will appreciate it.
Petro is a good shot-blocker and has plenty of room to continue to improve here, thanks to his size, wingspan and vertical leap. He needs to improve his timing and court awareness a bit, as well as using his body better to stay out of foul trouble (it's not all the refs' fault, he could be smarter sometimes), but all the tools are there. Man to man, he uses his hands a little too much, which is where a lot of his fouls actually come from, but I think he will get better here because he can move his feet pretty well as he possesses very nice lateral quickness.
Offensively, he has a nice half hook shot which is his go-to move right now. It's pretty hard to block as he performs it swiftly and fluidly off the dribble, sometimes off a quick spin move, but with a very soft touch. He had that move last time I watched him about a year ago, although it wasn't as polished.
He appears to have expanded his game a bit and improved his footwork in the post since the last time I saw him as well. He still hasn't fully learned to use his physical tools around the basket, but I like the fact that his hands look good and he showed that he can make shots around the basket with either hand. He makes his fair share of mistakes still, but I don't know any other big men in the draft besides maybe Andrew Bogut who don't. What I do like is that he doesn't seem to be shy about trying, unlike the more tentative big men offensively in this draft like Splitter or Channing Frye for example. He's not afraid to make mistakes, which is probably why his very conservative coach won't trust him too much despite the fact that he's a lot better than any of the other big men they have on that team. He's on a pretty short leash from what I saw.
In terms of weaknesses, he has his fair share, as does every other player in this draft. His feel for the game is not off the charts, as he doesn't always play very smart or within himself, which comes to play in the foul trouble he often finds himself in. Rebounding seems to be his biggest flaw right now. He just doesn't have very good fundamentals when it comes to boxing out his man and establishing position, although he has all the physical tools needed to excel here. Part of that will come with better coaching, but he also lacks a certain degree of fire to his game, not always looking like he is giving 100% and fading from time to time in terms of his intensity on the court.
His offense is a bit raw still as well, especially when you take him outside of the paint (although he is 7 feet tall, so how much would you want him to do that?). His footwork could certainly use some polish and he could afford to add some more moves to his arsenal by diversifying his game outside of that half hook shot, which seems to be a nice weapon, but can get a bit predictable I imagine. He showed off some nifty ball-handling skills, taking his man off the dribble straight to the hoop in one game I watched, but I'm not sure how much of a fluke that was, because I only saw him do it once.
All in all, I don't think he's a can't miss prospect in this draft, but he is certainly unique enough to start getting looks starting around where the Knicks are drafting and all the way down to the teens at the very latest. There have certainly been much less skilled players his size taken in the lottery, and they aren't always as athletic as he is (see: Rafael Araujo, Andris Biedrins, Robert Swift, Melvin Ely). For what the NBA is going to need him to do, he should be just fine as long as he lands in the right situation. How good he'll end up will have a lot to do with how hard he works and just how good he decides that he wants to be, because he clearly has all the tools to become a very solid NBA player.
Petro's biggest strengths at the moment relate to his physical attributes, which put him in a class of his own in this year's draft class.
Petro has great size and an outstanding body for a 19 year old, being ready to come in and get minutes right off the bat and take the pounding that NBA big men dish out after some minor work in the weight room. His frame is excellent and is ready to put on about as much muscle as he'll need in the NBA. His wingspan is very good as well, and he already knows how to use it quite well to intimidate around the basket.
Athletically, he moves extremely well for a 7 footer, running the floor quickly, fluidly and with good coordination. He has somewhat of a laid-back demeanor to him, but when he wants to, he can certainly get up off the floor, on both ends around the basket. He's not Amare Stoudemire or anything like that, but he'll definitely be considered one of the more athletic 7 footers in the league almost right off the bat. The ease in which he moves around the court is particularly impressive, he's mobile moving both east to west and north-south, and can show on the pick and roll and then get right back to his place in the post.
Offensively, Petro relies mainly on a lethal baby hook shot, which is clearly his best asset in the paint. It's pretty hard to block as he performs it swiftly off the dribble and fluidly, sometimes off a quick spin move, but with a very soft touch. He is adding range to his shot (out to about 14 feet), mostly from the baseline or from various positions around the post (although no bank shot at all), but he has room to improve here still. Through his hard work, Petro has become a very good free throw shooter for a 7 footer, going from 46% two years ago at the line, to 50% last year, and up to 72% this year in the French league and 75% in the Euroleague. He has the footwork and quickness to beat his matchup in the paint and enjoys attacking the rim, not being soft at all and having no problem taking contact around the basket. He has a decent handle for a player his size, although he does not use that much because of his role on the floor.
On the defensive end, his size, wingspan and athletic ability make him very intimidating around the basket. He has very good lateral quickness, which allows him to stay in front of his man in the paint. He used to be incredibly foul prone, and although he still has trouble with this occasionally, he has reduced the amount of unnecessary fouls he commits drastically this year, showing that he is coachable and able to learn from his mistakes. The fact that he is a physical player that likes to bang (allow the refs rarely let him), along with his excellent physical attributes, should tell you that he has a future on the defensive end in the NBA.
Considering his age (he'll only turn 20 mid-way through all-star weekend next season, being younger than both Robert Swift and Gerald Green), size, frame and athleticism, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that he has a big upside to improve. He's already a much better player than he was last year when he entered the draft.
Rebounding seems to be his biggest flaw right now, he just doesn't have very good fundamentals when it comes to boxing out his man and establishing position, although he has all the physical tools needed to excel here. Part of that will come with better coaching, but he also lacks a certain degree of fire to his game, not always looking like he is giving 100% and fading from time to time in terms of his intensity on the court. His motor isn't bad, he just loses his focus at times and makes youthful mistakes, something that hopefully he will improve on as he continues to mature.
Defensively, he can block shots due to his size, wingspan and leaping ability, but still needs to improve his timing and court awareness a bit, as well as using his body better to stay out of foul trouble. Man to man, he uses his hands a little too much, which is where a lot of his fouls come from, but he shouldn't have a problem getting better here with good coaching and experience because he can move his feet quite well.
Offensively, like most athletic teenage 7 footers he is still a bit limited besides simple moves like the catch and dunk and an excellent little baby hook shot. His footwork could stand to improve and he would benefit from adding more moves to his arsenal in the paint. He has all the physical attributes in the world to be a dominating player inside the paint, but needs to learn how to use them better.
Overall his feel for the game is not off the charts. He struggles at times with set plays in the half court offense, like on pick and rolls for examples. His improvement has been slower than expected the last two years mainly due to a lack of playing time. Sometimes his team will give him big minutes and he'll be very productive, and sometimes he'll come in for a few minutes at a time or won't play at all.
Petro started playing basketball competitively at the age of 13. He was recruited by the French academy INSEP (home of Tony Parker, Ronny Turiaf and many others) from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe (home of Mickael Pietrus and others), a French colony where he played from 2000-2003.
Petro signed with Pau-Orthez, one of the leading teams in France, in 2003 and was played sparingly in his first season. He was named to the All-European Junior Championships team (see: Centers of Attention article in links section) last summer with a big game against Italy for the Bronze Medal
This past season Petro became a solid rotation player and even started at times, being a little bit inconsistent in terms of minutes played and production, but still having some fine games even in the Euroleague. The French league is considered a second tier league in Europe, just behind Spain, Italy and maybe Greece, but right there in the mix amongst the best leagues in the continent after those. It's an extremely athletic league that resembles the NBA (in terms of tempo and style of play, not talent) more than any other domestic competition in the world.
Petro declared last year for the draft and despite being considered a lock for the first round and even supposedly garnering a promise from the Nuggets at #21, he withdrew to develop for one more year in Europe and earn a lottery selection.
This year he has declared once again, and while some experts have pegged his stock in the mid twenties, NBA teams feel that there is no shot at him falling past the teens considering his physical attributes and upside. Athletic 7 foot teenagers with budding skills usually don't stay on the board that long. His range appears to be from about 7-20.
Like Martynas, he's extremely gifted physically. A legit seven footer, very athletic and already really strong, a beast considering his age. Like many of the French basketball players, his body looks much more like an American's than that of a European's. He's perhaps a little bit narrow shouldered, but all in all, he features all the physical tools you would like for out in a center. And there isn't the slightest doubt we're talking about a center in this case. Johan's natural habitat is the paint, and his effectiveness out of it takes a huge drop. And although he's athletic enough for the four spot, he just doesn't show power forward skills.