|Team: Real Madrid|
H: 6' 3"|
W: 176 lbs
(29 Years Old)
|Agent: YouFirst Sports ||
Hometown: Mahon, Spain
Drafted: Pick 34 in 2009 by Nuggets
Best Case: Jose Calderon
Worst Case: Sani Becirovic
Our main point of intrigue, Sergio Llull, on the other hand, struggled badly, going 0/4 inside the arc and 1/4 from outside, finishing with just 6 points and 3 assists in a whopping 33 minutes. The amount of playing time he received in such an important setting tells you a lot about his importance on this deep and expensive Real Madrid roster. He's been playing incredibly well up until this game, stringing together some excellent performances in the Euroleague Top 16 (where his team is 3-0) and ACB (team record: 16-5), grabbing the reigns as his team's starting point guard in the process, which is pretty noteworthy for a 21 year old European guard (he's essentially an NCAA junior, as he won't turn 22 until November). Brandon Jennings can tell you more about the significance of that.
Back in the end of October we carefully discussed the surprisingly excellent season that Llull was having, wondering if he'd indeed be able to keep pace. Well 34 games in, it's safe to say that Llull is for real, ranking as one of the most efficient and prolific passing point guards in both competitions he plays in.
46% of Llull's offense comes in pick and roll situations, which should tell you quite a bit the role he plays for his team. He's clearly their most creative force, the best athlete on the team and an incessant shot-creator. His excellent first step and strong ball-handling skills allow him to pick apart defenses extremely well, going either left or right, which also makes him a dangerous threat in transition. He's been featured on a number of ACB league highlight reels this season because of his ability to drive down the lane at full speed and throw down impressive dunks. Even if he looks a bit wild at times, he's managed to keep his turnovers extremely low all season considering his style of play, which is a big reason he's earned so much trust from his coaching staff. In fact, he ranks 3rd in the ACB in assist to turnover ratio, and 5th in the Euroleague. His pure point ratio (PPR) also ranks in the top 5 in both leagues.
In this particular game, Llull got to the basket on a number of occasions but struggled to finish. Despite possessing strong leaping ability (especially for a European guard), Llull lacks some strength and possibly some toughness finishing around the basket. He gets to the free throw line at a good, but not great rate, and could still stand to improve on his ability initiating contact in traffic. At times he tends to just flip the ball up at the rim instead of going up strong.
Llull's jump-shot has been consistent all season long, and he's hitting it at an excellent rateó39/92 from behind the arc in 34 games, or 43%.He's got great form and deep range, being absolutely lethal in catch and shoot situation, and shows no hesitation at all taking big shots in the clutch. He needs to improve on his mid-range gameórarely do you see him pulling up off the dribble after creating his own shot, but he's proven capable of making them too from time to time.
The life of a young player in Europe is full of peaks and valleys. The most coveted prospects often get snatched up at an early age by the top clubs in the top leagues around, only to struggle to see playing time due to the extremely high level of competition their team plays at. Once an opportunity opens up, it must be seized immediately, as the rosters of the top teams in Europe are always incredibly deep, the stress-levels high, and the leash for tolerating the mistakes of youngsters about as short as they come.
After having regularly played throughout the season, it seems like coach Plaza thought that perhaps this Copa del Rey was a bit too demanding and important an event to trust Llull with meaningful minutes. It makes sense, since the young point guard is yet to settle his game down and mature as a playmaker. So he didn't step foot on the floor for the quarterfinal. However, he was given a chance in the semifinal, as Real Madrid was struggling late in the third quarter against Joventut, and he certainly didn't disappoint, indeed becoming a crucial factor in Real's comeback.
Playing as a shooting guard in the minutes he spent on the court, he did most of his work off the ball, and particularly stood out with his defense on Rudy FernŠndez, using his physical strength and athleticism to stay very aggressive on the ball, forcing the MVP into bad shots and turnovers. Offensively, he delivered a couple of nice transition plays, which is exactly the situation where he feels more comfortable, as he takes advantage of his quickness and fearless style of game (indeed a bit crazy at times).
Sergio Llull is looking extremely inconsistent during the last few weeks. We already knew he still wasnít a great distributor or floor general, but lately heís failing to get anything done as a playmaker. In a very surprising move, he was even conceded a starting spot in the Euroleague game versus Real Madridís archrival F.C.Barcelona a couple of weeks ago, but he had to be taken off the court after five forgettable minutes given his teamís struggles to properly run the offense. Llull still gets out of control too easily, which doesnít help him to recognize what he needs to do in a given situation. Still, he seems to have the confidence of the front office and coaching staff, but he looks like a long-term project as a point guard.[Read Full Article]
No other prospect enjoyed more exposure NBA-wise this week than Sergio Llull. Itís the advantage of playing a real NBA team and performing extremely well. He made sure everybody remembered him by netting 17 crucial points that greatly helped Real Madrid to upset Toronto Raptors during the NBA Live Tour.
The Spanish point guard played a fearless game, taking and making his open shots, running the court aggressively, delivering some nice passes and playing solid defense against the very quick NBA guards. What particularly makes him an intriguing case is his excellent athleticism, which will allow him to translate his game to more physically demanding competitions (such as the NBA).
At 6-3, Llull nicely fills the bill in terms of physical build, as he shows a good frame, with an already strong body considering his age. A promising ball-handler, still noticeably better with his right hand, his ability to dribble the ball doesnít limit his athletic gifts (for example, he can handle the ball at full speed). Enjoying the quickness to regularly beat his opponents, he can also knock his perimeter shots when he enjoys space, which makes for a really nice combination. However, heís not that active and effective taking his match-ups off the dribble, and despite his excellent three-point run against the Raptors, still emerges as a streaky guy with his jumper, also needing to work on his release off the dribble.
An aggressive player, active and fearless, Llull doesnít always manage to stay under control, sometimes overdoing things and getting himself into trouble in the process, showing questionable decision making. He can come up with nice passes, entries from the perimeter or kick-outs off the drive, but his distribution and ability to establish a rhythm for his team still needs to seriously improve. Heís still an inexperienced playmaker, and actually is getting most of his minutes with Real Madrid at the off-guard position, but he has the makings of solid point guard. A friendly game like the one he played against the Raptors was a perfect stage to showcase his strengths, playing transition ball where his athletic attributes can shine, and enjoying loose defenses that allowed him to operate comfortably.