|Team: NON-NBA College Team: CSKA Moscow|
H: 6' 6"|
W: 203 lbs
(38 Years Old)
|Agent: Maurizio Balducci ||
Hometown: Kaisiadorys, Lithuania
Ranked as the #1 player in our overseas free agents rankings, there will be a lot of NBA eyeballs watching the play of Ramunas Siskauskas this weekend in Madrid. Arguably the most complete player you’ll find outside the NBA, Siskauskas has established a reputation as being a phenomenal shooter, ball-handler, passer and defender, as well as one of the smartest guys you’ll find around. He has quietly (and finally) been piquing the interest of several NBA teams reportedly, and that’s something we are going to try and get to the bottom of here in Madrid. This is an important weekend for Siskauskas for a few reasons. Not only will he have a chance to win his second straight Euroleague title with two separate teams (a feat that’s never been done), a very prestigious thing indeed, but he also will give himself a free exit-clause for the NBA if he indeed wins it, as stated in his contract. If he has a great individual showing, similar to the way he played last year, he’ll probably win himself quite a few more fans as well amongst NBA executives. We’ll keep you posted…[Read Full Article]
Like a fine wine, that continues to get better with age, Ramunas Siskauskas is having a career year in his new CSKA Moscow uniform, under the tutelage of Ettore Messina. Don’t be deceived by the extremely slow pace that CSKA plays. Siskauskas’ numbers (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, free throw attempts, FG%) are up across the board per-40 minutes pace adjusted, while his turnovers are down. He also ranks as one of the most efficient players in the Euroleague this season.
Siskauskas is a player without a position, as you will see him at anywhere from the 1-4 on any given night, depending on what his team needs from him. He’s a terrific ball-handler, a lights out shooter, an excellent passer, and arguably the smartest player in all of European basketball. Not possessing great athleticism (to say the least) he has “figured out” how to maximize himself on the court, as he simply plays the game at his own pace. He has an old man’s game, with plenty of tricks up his sleeve, including excellent footwork, fluid body control, crafty finishing ability with either hand, deceptive use of shot-fakes, or even some back to the basket skills. He can also create his own shot fairly well, despite not having a great first step, and is absolutely superb running the pick and roll. An outstanding teammate, he does a great job creating shots unselfishly for others. Siskauskas’ average pull-up jumper (he doesn’t create great separation from his defender) might be the lone chink in his armor, besides the fact that he’s not a very explosive leaper.
Defensively, Siskauskas is outstanding, which is somewhat surprising when you consider his fairly average physical tools. He makes up for his lack of lateral quickness with a phenomenal combination of timing, effort and awareness, reading his matchup extremely well, and often being one step ahead of him to contest his shot. This is how he picks up a surprising number of blocks, as well as draws a fair amount of charges.
To emphasize just how much value Siskauskas has in Europe, consider that his current team, CSKA Moscow, went out and paid 1 million Euros to buy him out of his contract with (defending Euroleague champions) Panathinaikos, and then gave him over 2 million Euros per season as his salary. Siskauskas has one more year on his contract after this, but from what we’re told, will be able to leave for the NBA for free if CSKA is able to win the Euroleague. Depending on the circumstances, he could have some interest in the NBA if the situation is right, but it probably will take a pretty good offer considering the type of money he’s making right now.
With Jasikevicius out for the entire second half against Slovenia, the playmaking duties fell onto the shoulders of Ramunas Siskauskas, who has quietly emerged as a sleeper to take away MVP honors when it’s all said and done. Playing a point forward role, Siskauskas has done everything humanly possible to help his team, whether it’s with his outstanding distribution skills, poised ball-handling ability, terrific perimeter shooting, and clutch play when his team needs a basket the most. Siskauskas can create his own shot despite not having a great first step, and is a master of utilizing crafty ball-handling and unbelievable footwork to keep his man off-balance and constantly guessing what his next move will be. He isn’t a herky jerky type, but has incredible smarts and timing, being able to knock down shots both with his feet set or pulling up off the dribble, which makes him extremely difficult to guard. It’s pretty clear after watching him look infinitely better than almost every NBA player in attendance that he could carve out a role for himself in the league in the right situation. The problem is he just signed a massive contract with CSKA Moscow, making the NBA a tough sell after seeing how his fellow Lithuanians Sarunas Jasikevicius and Arvydas Macijauskas struggled to make the transition.[Read Full Article]
This skilled Lithuanian wing delivered a great Final Four, especially concerning the final game, actually challenging for the MVP award. He shares with Diamantidis his low-profile style: he’s a player that often goes unnoticed and doesn’t make much noise. Indeed he’s an underrated athlete who enjoys a nice vertical leap and is able to beat his match-ups off the dribble. He enjoys nice handles, good footwork and long strides to gain the lane.
Like many of his teammates, he looked very aggressive against CSKA; particularly when Diamantidis was on the bench due to foul trouble. In those moments he took over his team’s offensive lead attacking the basket to finish himself, drawing personal fouls or dishing the ball, ending the game with 20 points and 5 assists. Siskauskas is a solid passer that has greatly helped solidify his team’s offense this season in Panathinaikos. Ramunas is also an excellent shooter; although he was very erratic in the Final Four (a combined 2/9 from behind the arc), he credits 47.1% throughout the entire Euroleague season, well-reflecting his accuracy and honoring the Lithuanians’ shooting reputation. Anyway, he’s an unselfish guy, very team-oriented, with a high basketball IQ, the kind of player every coach loves having on his roster.
Siskauskas barely slows down on defense, where he’s a reliable guy. Standing somewhere between 6-6 and 6-7 (he’s clearly 6-7 on shoes at least), he uses his athleticism well to keep up with his match-up. Perhaps he’s not the strongest guy around, but still he’s fairly tough. All in all, Siskauskas would probably make a nice complimentary wing player in the NBA; a player who helps ease the offensive flow, nets his open shots and contributes on the defensive end. He has a clear and very manageable $500,000 buyout as far as the NBA is concerned, but it’s not clear if any team will be able to compete with his salary in Greece, which is rumored to exceed over 1.5 million Euros per season.
If someone in Lithuania would have read Siskauskas’ name next to the word “Star” a year ago, they probably would have called the writer crazy. However crazy is the situation to which defending European Champions Lithuania fell lately. This year, despite having a record six players in the NBA, this little nation (of 3.4 million people) can’t rely on any of them for the National Team side. Due to various reasons, 10 Lithuanian players are missing in this Championship. This year you can only dream about the ideal Lithuanian starting five of: Sarunas Jasikevicius, Arvydas Macijauskas, Saulius Stombergas, Darius Songaila and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Another 5 players, which would keep the team solid (Rimantas Kaukenas, Donatas Slanina, Mindaugas Timinskas, Linas Kleiza and Eurelijus Zukauskas), are skipping the tournament as well. If to be precise, new Hornets SG Arvydas Macijauskas was in the National Team preparation camp and played in some friendly games, but in one of them he injured his calf and even if he was healthy enough on the day the tournament starts, he (and his new team the New Orleans Hornets) will likely decide to play it safe. We felt that this little intro is necessary to make it clear why Siskauskas ends up being "the Star" on the Lithuanian roster, which is usually loaded with talent, but is rather depleted this time.
The 6’6 natural swingman Ramunas Siskauskas would perfectly blend with the players mentioned above. He always has done so. Siskauskas is your typical team-oriented player, but in this year’s situation, he could be forced to take the leadership burden onto his shoulders. Being only 27 years old (birthday on September 10th) Ramunas is already called a veteran in the version of the Lithuanian National Team. He’s the only player left from the 2000 Sydney Olympics squad – the one which frightened Dream Team for the first time (Lithuania lost by 2 points in the semifinal). His nickname in those days, “the Baltic Pippen”, reflects the versatility of this interesting player. Siskauskas has a variety of tools in his offensive arsenal: good long-range shooting, decent penetration skills, relying a lot on his athletic ability. He is one of the best perimeter defenders of the team (along with Dainius Salenga), using his long arms and athleticism in that department, allowing him to defend positions from 1 to 3.
With Jasikevicius resting, Lithuania lacks a top class PG. Playmaking itself doesn’t give so much problems for a team as this which shares the ball so well, but bringing the ball up the court is a headache arriving with the smallest pressure from the opponent team. Out of necessity on this Lithuanian team, Siskauskas will have to taste PG bread as well. Though most of time he will probably spend in his usual swingman position.
Ramunas, although a highly-gifted player, has earned a reputation throughout his career as one who is content to remaining in the shadow. He will have to demonstrate a lot more assertiveness - even healthy egoism - in order to carry his team in Serbia and Montenegro.