|Roundup: Markoishvili on Fire|
November 27, 2007
Rafael Hettsheimeir is a Brazilian big born in 1986 who has been on the scouting radar for several years now. Actually, he took part in the 2006 Nike Hoop Summit and made his debut on the senior National team very early in his career. However, he has always been the typical guy who misses a little something to become an intriguing prospect (this time, skill repertoire) but who you always keep an eye on just in case he blossoms and becomes a legit NBA prospect.
Playing this season in the competitive LEB league (Spanish second division) with a strong team such as Plus Pujol Lleida, Rafael is becoming an increasingly useful player in Europe. This weekend, he had 21 points and 6 rebounds in barely 26 minutes coming off the bench, to help his team clinch a valuable road victory over Fundacio BasquetInca.com. He’s averaging 10.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in less than 23 minutes per game so far in this campaign.
However, as he becomes more productive at this level, his ceiling as a player seems to be growing thicker, and not precisely at a very high point. Standing 6-9, looking really strong, Rafael has evolved into a very inside-oriented player, virtually a center in a power-forward’s body. He has gained a lot of weight lately, which is hurting his quickness, leaping ability and explosiveness. While he used to be considered a good athlete, he falls into the category of just decent at this moment.
This physical evolution is driving Rafael even closer to the basket, making him a pure center. His first offensive option is usually the low post. He uses his big body pretty well, and his first objective is usually to bang with his match-up without the ball, pushing him as close as possible to the hoop, so he can receive and just turn around to leave the ball on the glass. If he’s not close enough to the basket by the time he gets the ball, he’s not nearly as effective, usually opting for turnaround jumpers or just to pass the ball, which he does nicely. Rafael doesn’t enjoy great footwork, just some basic stuff, and neither is he skilled releasing jump-hooks.
Rafael is basically an off-the-ball player. You won’t see him putting the ball on the floor to attack his opponent. Instead, he looks for open shots near the basket, often finding space from the baseline when a teammate slashes, while being able to finish with powerful dunks whenever he receives under the rim. He’s actually quite aggressive attacking the rim, and he won’t hesitate to try a dunk, even against opposition if he thinks it’s reasonably possible. He’s also pretty active in pick-and-roll plays as the screener, although he’s not the most effective guy in these situations. Being an inconsistent spot-up shooter, he enjoys range out to the three-point line, but so far has failed to turn his stroke into any serious scoring weapon.
An OK defender, you won’t see Rafael being outmuscled around the basket. However, he can eventually get beat by skilled post players who go strong inside and execute moves that Rafael, focused on not being banged, doesn’t expect, and doesn’t contest. He’s a solid defender on pick and rolls, nicely flashing out to stop the dribbler, but he’s not always equally effective on defensive rotations, sometimes a bit shy when it comes to stepping into the way of an opposing slasher. Besides, he’s not particularly intimidating, given his limited size and leaping ability. A decent rebounder, he takes advantage of his body to gain position, although he sometimes doesn’t properly box-out.
Being automatically eligible this season, there isn’t really much justification to rationalize spending a draft pick on Hettsheimeir. Unless he can make an impression in the NBA pre-draft camp or the EuroCamp in Treviso (showing up in better shape would help), his options are close to none.
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Nike Hoop Summit Preview: International Team
April 7, 2006
Rafael Hettsheimeir is a rarity in Brazil, as a center capable of playing with his back to the basket. The youngster has just a few years of organized basketball experience, but has worked hard and is really progressing well. Last year, Rafael dominated the Basketball Without Borders camp in Argentina, being named MVP. Rafael also played sparingly on the National Team at the America’s Cup last year, after working out with the seniors for two months.
Hettsheimeir plays for Akasvayu Girona, and he’s currently playing for Akasvayu Vic, on LEB2 - the Spanish third division. He averages 10 ppg, 5.3 rebounds, 0,6 blocks, and shoots 50% from the floor. This high rate tells you what he likes to do: score on the block, with a very good wingspan and nice hands. However, he also has a decent outside shot (38% on 3-pointers).
Rafael left Brazil with very raw moves and wasn’t very developed in Ribeirão Preto’s offense. His points came on garbage buckets, crashing the offensive boards or waiting for a pass underneath the basket. On defense, he is very strong (and he clearly can still add some bulk on his upper body) and isn’t afraid to bang with the big guys. In his last games with Ribeirão, he clashed in the playoffs against two National Team’s centers (Estevam Ferreira and Murilo Becker), dominating the boards and even blocking a few shots.
One concern is about his size (he’s listed as 6’9), because Rafael doesn’t have the agility to guard the Power Forward spot. Playing against the cream crop of United States can give us an idea regarding whether or not he has an NBA future.
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