|Team: NON-NBA College Team: CSKA Moscow|
H: 6' 9"|
W: 246 lbs
(36 Years Old)
|Agent: Rade Filipovich ||
Hometown: Trbovlje, Slovenia
Most of the offensive load has fallen on Slovenia’s two stars Jaka Lakovic and Matjaz Smodis--both outstanding-- going a long ways in helping erase the “soft” and “not-clutch” stigma that has been chasing the Slovenians for years. Smodis has been particularly impressive when considering the players he’s matched up with and gotten the better of—Dirk Nowitzki comes to mind especially here. His ability to score equally well both facing and with his back to the basket combined with his toughness and basketball IQ makes him one of the toughest players to defend at this level. Watching him completely outplay Nowitzki in an embarrassing blowout win over Germany really makes you wonder if the NBA is missing the boat on him…According to people with knowledge of the situation, Smodis has never really been seriously approached by an NBA team. Even though he’s not a prototypical NBA athlete, the way he played here has to have raised some eyebrows amongst people in the league.[Read Full Article]
Smodis has succeeded David Andersen this season (actually when the Aussie fell injured in the past season) as the main frontcourt reference for CSKA. His offensive versatility, intelligence and defensive work are priceless for his team. Perhaps Matjaz didn’t deliver his best games of the season, also losing his temper a bit too easily in some stretches during the final, but he was a steady performer for the Russian team.
The 6-9 Slovenian is a typical modern power forward that rolls out to the three-point line whenever the point guard commands both bigs to offer him picks (while Savrasenko, Van Den Spiegel and even Andersen, when both share the floor, roll inside in this setting). He enjoys a very reliable three-point stroke, particularly in spot-up fashion from the top of the key, which greatly helps his team to open the floor and allows the playmaker and the other big man to easily perform a classic pick-and-roll to finish under the basket.
Still, despite enjoying this nice jumper, Smodis never passes up on an opportunity to score in the low post. He’s a very tough guy who loves to bang and use his body to gain space and release his jump-hooks. He can also put the ball on the floor, but he’s not the most prolific guy around trying to attack his opponent from the perimeter. On defense, Smodis delivers that same toughness, good positioning and quick moves for a big guy.
NBA-wise, he’s not the most intriguing guy, as he’s undersized and not particularly athletic. But his versatile skill set, basketball IQ and toughness playing the game would surely help him make a living in the American league if he so desired.
Together with Theo Papaloukas, Matjaz Smodis was most responsible for CSKA’s Euroleague crown last season. He really shined in the Final Four in Prague, even in areas where he usually does not thrive - rebounding and low post scoring.
This season, Smodis has been taking way more outside shots, and rightfully so, because he has been on fire from three-point line-- hitting 15 of his 28 attempts. But he hasn’t displayed the same level of intensity and hustle in the paint that he showed in Prague.
Matjaz is a strong and skilled Power Forward with a good outside-in offensive game. He has excellent hands, which shows in his finishing around the rim, passing and outside shooting. On the defensive end, Matjaz isn’t a great rebounder or shot-blocker, but he does a good job in man to man defense, exhibiting solid footwork and toughness.
He is a bit undersized by NBA standards, while his athleticism is just around average also. Matjaz could certainly help an NBA team in a similar way Jorge Garbajosa is doing for the Raptors. It is questionable if he will get a tempting enough offer to leave his very rich Moscow club, but he’s had NBA offers in the past.
Matjaz Smodis is a relatively new name in NBA "circles". He was never considered a big time prospect and is not quite a superstar in Europe right now, but he’s developed into a very solid big man who drawn some interest from NBA teams because of the unique skills he brings to the table.
This 25-year old forward has been playing for the European powerhouse Climamio Bologna over the last couple of seasons. Before that he was playing for another Bologna powerhouse in Kinder. Climamio has good depth under the basket so Smodis only played around 20 minutes per night. Nevertheless, he put up very solid numbers. Matjaz averaged 12.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in the Italian league, while in the Euroleague he logged 10.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He missed the first months of the season due to an injury, but when he came back Smodis became Climamio’s most reliable big man.
Smodis has an NBA body, he is quiet stong player (especially upper body). Matjaz is your typical, fundamentaly sound big men who can play with his back or face to the basket.
Matjaz has a very solid back to the basket game, knowing how to establish position in the post and showing solid footwork there. He doesn’t have a huge repertoire of post moves, but can take advantage of his size and strength to perform a turnaround jumper or a semi-hook shot. He has a very soft touch around the basket and can finish with contact due to his strength and toughness.
There is no question that he prefers to play with his face to the basket. Matjaz is a skilled player, and one of his best assets, especially as far as the NBA is concerned, has to be his jumper. He has very good mechanics and elevation on his shot. Smodis has range out to the international three-point line and is consistent from there, shooting 37% in the Italian league and 44% in the Euroleague, combined making 68 of his 148 three-point attempts.
Smodis has good ball-handling skills for a big man and clearly likes to put the ball on the floor. He doesn’t show it very often, but can definitely take his man of the dribble in Europe.
Defensively, he is very solid. His man-to-man defense is good, using his strength and grit to stay in front of his man. Smodis is an intelligent player who understands knows his role on the team and will never force things. He has plenty of experience at the highest level of play outside the NBA, the Euroleague.
Matjaz lacks NBA athleticism and that will be his biggest problem if he’s to come to the League. At 6-9 he doesn’t have great size either and is almost undersized for the power forward position. His vertical leap is limited right now, so you will rarely see him finishing with a dunk or blocking shots.
His back to the basket game will have to improve in order for him to become a scoring threat in the post in the NBA. Due to his athletic ability he would probably have some problem finishing around the rim.
Matjaz is also not a great rebounder. While he knows how to box out his man he is sometimes just outmatched by his opponents’ size and athleticism.
While he might have the tools to be more then a role player, Matjaz seems just happy with his current role.
WHY SIGN HIM?
While Smodis might not be NBA starting material, he could probably play a solid role for someone off the bench because of the skills he brings to the table. Obviously his best asset is his jumper. There are few better shooting big men in the NBA as of right now. He has an acceptable buyout of 500,000 Euros (most of which can be paid off by an NBA team) and teams should have no problem bringing him over should the offer by close to what he is about to land in Europe. Washington and Charlotte have both showed the most interest in Smodis, who is seeking a 3 year guaranteed deal for about 2 million dollars per season. This is the sum of the contract he is about to sign for a top level Euroleague team, which would make him on the highest paid players on the continent should he decide to take it If he can’t get an NBA team to offer him comparable money (which seems to be the case right now) look for him to sign with one of the top teams in Europe. CSKA, Real Madrid, Tau Vitoria and Barcelona have all shown the most interest so far and appear to be bidding against each other for his services.