|Team: NON-NBA College Team: Barcelona|
H: 7' 2"|
W: 220 lbs
(30 Years Old)
|Agent: Marc Cornstein ||
Hometown: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Drafted: Pick 44 in 2008 by Jazz
Best Case: Pau Gasol
It was a bittersweet week for Ante Tomic. His team Zagreb was eliminated from the FIBA Eurocup, and couldnít beat Buducnost either at home in the Adriatic League. However, he stayed very strong in adversity, delivering consecutive 20 plus point performances. Against Barons, he had 20 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Back in the Balkan competition, he added 24 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals.
What we are seeing this season from Tomic is both very intriguing, but also highly concerning. Itís intriguing in the sense that Tomic emerges as the ultimate finesse big man, but also concerning because his physical development is taking him way too long, seriously jeopardizing his ability to succeed at a top basketball level. Although you can notice some slight bulk added to his body, he still looks very skinny, both in his legs and upper body, while his frame doesnít promise great strides in the future.
Skill-wise, heís showcasing some truly impressive stuff from the low post. He can deliver really refined moves that include fakes, spins, and reverse-moves, as he exhibits excellent footwork and the versatility to use both hands to finish around the basket. As you can guess, heís not a banging type of post guy, but he neither avoids contact; in the end, his great size and abilities makes it work on a regular basis. He nicely complements his low-post game with a pretty solid spot-up mid-range jumper, although perhaps released a bit slowly. He also can easily put the ball on the floor with both hands and work his way to the layup, particularly against centers, showing excellent coordination in the process.
Ante Tomic got off to a rocky start after being forced by his team to pull out of last yearís draft. He had a dispute with his coach early in the season, and was questioned for a lack of effort and character. After starting initially in one game, Danijel Jusup took him out after just three minutes, and Tomic never returned. He learned his lesson from there it seems, and has been Zagrebís best player in the last stretch of games. The issues around Tomic remain the same. He is rebounding the ball a bit better this season, but his lack of strength and defensive shortcomings might see his stock drop as time goes by, since there is seemingly no significant improvement in these areas of concern.
Tomic is a very light player with narrow shoulders, and there is a serious possibility that he might never gain enough weight to take the banging of the NBA game.
"It is a long process which will take years. It is not easy to gain weight. I donít know what he has done before, but Tomic has started to work according to our program recently, and hopefully there will be improvement", said Zagrebís coach Danijel Jusup. Tomic is not bulky nor wiry, he is a weak player who gets pushed around and outmuscled in the post regularly.
The 7-2 center is not a particularly good rebounder, despite his size. He struggles to box-out, and is also not much of a leaper. Tomic does a fairly job of fighting and denying post position, but is weak on rotations and does not present a real shot-blocking threat. He is a poor defensive player at this point, and it will take a lot of work on that end of the floor to succeed at a higher level.
What makes Tomic desirable beside his sheer size is his extremely intriguing offensive package. Coach Jusup mostly uses him in the mid and high post, unlike last season when he got more opportunities to play with his back to the basket. Ante can shoot, pass or even put the ball on the floor from 15 feet in. He has good footwork and a pair of terrifically soft hands. Jump-hooks, spin-moves, up-and-unders, turnaround jumpers Ėthey are all part of his rather impressive repertoire. He feels more comfortable playing facing the basket, as he loses his effectiveness when matched up physically in the post.
Tomic has very good shooting mechanics and great touch from mid-range. Heís been hitting perimeter jumpers with great consistency this season, and his range extends to about 20 feet. Ante is also adept at putting the ball on the floor and driving to the rim. He has even shown somewhat of a pull-up jumper, which is rare when talking about a player of his size.
Tomic is also a great passer. He recognizes cutters intelligently, and has good court vision, but is prone to making flashy play over the simple ones, leading to a high turnover rate. While he is able to be a very good finisher around the basket (59.5% FG) thanks to the great touch he has, Tomic very rarely dunks the ball.
Tomic has good quickness and nice coordination for his size. He is a decent athlete overall, but his lack of vertical explosiveness is bothersome. As already stated, he will need to seriously work on his body if he is to pursue a career in the NBA. Tomic reportedly had a guarantee from a team picking in 20s in the 2007 draft this past June, but his European agents spoiled the deal by failing to tell his team Zagreb (and receive permission) that he was leaving for the States. He was disappointed and angry afterwards and might be looking to re-enter next year again. Depending on teams opinions are about his potential physical growth, Tomic could get drafted as high as the lottery or maybe even fall out of the first round completely.
Ante Tomic put his name in and will likely remain in the draft, or at least thatís what him and his agent have told DraftExpress lately. Ante also said recently in an interview for a Croatian newspaper that he will not be heading for the NBA next season even if he gets picked 1st or last in the draft, because he doesnít feel he is ready for the NBA competition.
With that being said, there is a legitimate question why he decided to apply for the draft this year, especially with the very strong class for big men and opportunity to improve his stock in the upcoming season. One possible reason could be the possibility of securing himself a spot in a friendly situation (like New Jersey or Utah for example) for when he does decide to come over, while there are also a couple of teams with multiple picks in the first round who could afford to wait on him.
Speaking of the current season, Tomic has been solid, but unspectacular, delivering some magnificent games, but generally not showing much progress in the two biggest areas of concern - body strength and defensive rebounding. His offensive game is coming along pretty nicely since he became a focal point of Zagrebís offense this season, already showing impressive versatility and an intriguing skill-set.
Tomic can play equally well facing the basket or in the post, which has become a rarity this days. Despite his modest assist average, Tomic possesses terrific court vision and passing ability, being able to direct the offense from the high post finding cutters or making deft interior passes. He doesnít pass out to the perimeter a lot, since he is still not a big enough threat to command double teams yet. He has ability to hit static jumpers at a solid clip from 16-18 feet, but considering the excellent touch he has, you might expect a bit more consistency in this area.
In the low post, Ante shows plenty of moves he can go to, but sometimes struggles to execute them when guarded by physical defender. Thanks to his phenomenal hands his finishing around the basket is very good, which shows in his high field goal percentage, but you would expect a player of his size to dunk the ball more often instead of just laying it in off the glass.
The defensive end is where Ante still struggles considerably, mainly because of his fragile frame. Tomic gets pushed around and has plenty of trouble holding his position on the low block. His defensive awareness and fundamentals are pretty good and he doesnít shy away from contact, but most of the time he simply cannot keep up with the strength of his opponents. His man-to-man defense is actually very solid, but he is a poor help defender, not showing any willingness to close out on the man with the ball or block shots from the weak-side. Speaking of shot-blocking, Tomic is extremely poor in this area for a player his size, being credited with just 10 blocked shots on the entire season, which translates to 0.8 blocks per 48 minutes. His lack of vertical explosiveness and lift shows also in his rebounding as well, as Tomic struggles to clean the glass and establish himself the way a 7-foot-2 player should.
Tomic is a work in progress and at least a couple of years away from contributing at the NBA level. As he pointed out to the Croatian media, the team that selects him would be wise to leave him in Europe and let him develop. The main issue remains his slight build, even if you can see that he is lifting weights, Tomic struggled to gain any significant bulk this past season and is far from having the type of body needed to compete at the NBA level.
He is a classic high risk/high reward pick since he has great potential thanks to his size, skill-set, feel for the game and quick feet. On the downside, there is a chance that he might never have the kind of body needed to hold his own at the NBA level. When itís all said and done, Tomic will most likely get selected somewhere in the 2nd half of the first round.
[Read Full Article]
This game showed us exactly why Tomic is considered such a high-profile prospect, but also why he is still some years away from contributing anything significant at the highest level. Starting with the negatives, Ante was unable to establish good position on either block, being outmuscled and outhustled regularly. He was able to come away with 9 rebounds, but his work on the glass was poor in the first half when Zadar was able to get many offensive boards. After the halftime break, Tomic played with better intensity and showed much more poise coming up with some difficult rebounds. Even more concerning was that he gave up good position down low to anyone he guarded. While Tomic shows some toughness and hardiness, his slim and weak body greatly limits his production at this current stage. Crucial for him is to gain at least 30 pounds, which he should be able to do, although his frame doesn`t look particularly good. His shot-blocking is almost non-existent, as Tomic lacks vertical explosivness and is fairly limited when trying to get off the ground, rarely playing above the rim regardless of his great size. This also limits him on the offensive side where he somewhat stuggles finishing in traffic and sees his shots swatted away at a higher clip than most 7-foot-2 players should.
Tomic ran the court extremely well today, on couple of sequences being the first Zagreb player to get back on the defensive side. He has quick feet and nice mobility as well as good footwork in the paint. Tomic moves much better horizontally than he does vertically. He didn't score much today, but was an important part of Zagreb's offense, because of his nifty passing and great understanding off the game. Tomic fed his teammates very well from the high post, recognizing openings in the defense and making good decisions - not commiting single turnover in 30 minutes. Ante's upside lies largely in his great hands and feel for the game. He can catch anything thrown his way and has great tehnique, whether speaking about passing, shooting or ball handling. He got plenty of good looks from the mid-range area, but was able to knock down just two of them. While he has good touch on his jumper, more fluidity in his shooting mechanics would probably make him a much prolific jumpshooter, although he is already above average for a Center. Unlike many youngsters, Ante is also pretty skilled in the low post, possessing a variety of moves with his back to the basket. He can release a hook shot with either hand, although not with equal consistency. He is very assertive, being patient and not forcing the shot if the opportunity doesn't present itself.
Ante Tomic is making baby steps towards becoming the player many project him to be. As it usually goes with Centers, especially this tall, Tomic is progressing slowly, but notably. His averages in the Adriatic league are significantly better than they were last season, and he is now a much bigger factor when on the floor, being an important facilitator in Zagreb's offense from the high post. His coach Zdravko Radulovic is also pleased with his development, saying after the game: " In a great final, maybe even the best in quite some years, two young players were brilliant in Zadar's Jure Lalic and my Tomic. Two young diamonds...it's a win for Croatian basketball. I have a personal satisfaction, because Ante is a better player than he was last year."
While Tomic would likely be eaten alive at the NBA level right now with his frail stature, he is considered one of the most talented young players in Europe thanks to his combination of size, skill and terrific feel for the game. Considering the tender stage of his development as well as the extreme depth of the upcoming draft, it would be a surprise to see him declare for the draft this year. With expected improvement, Ante has a good shot at being a lottery pick in 2008 or 2009. In the best case scenario Tomic, could develop into a quicker version of Zydrunas Iglauskas, while if he rushes
into the NBA too soon, could end up just like Z's countryman Martynas Andriuskevicius.
Offensively there are very few players over 7-feet tall featuring such an impressive skill-set. Tomic is a complete threat, being able to play with his back to the basket, as well as step outside and nail a mid-range jumper showing fluid mechanics and solid consistency. Ante has very good footwork in the post, and an array of moves he can rely on: hook shot, spin move, drop step, turnaround jumper etc. Tomic is an exceptional passer from both the high and low post. When he has the chance, Ante can also put the ball on the floor exhibiting his nice ball-handling. His technique comes from the earlier days in his career, when he was playing the point guard position before growing from 6-3 to 6-11 in just a year.
Defensively, Tomic is not quite as impressive. Overall, he is an above average athlete featuring nice mobility, good footspeed and a long wingspan, but his vertical leap isnít up to par with his other tools. Heís also a very skinny player, who still gets pushed around the basket and suffers against stronger opponents. In general Tomic is not the kind of inside presence one would expect from a 7-foot-2 guy, he doesnít corral many rebounds and is well below average when it comes to shot-blocking. Before stepping on an NBA floor, Tomic has plenty of work to do in this department. He should bulk up, but also needs to show more toughness and aggressiveness on the defensive end.
If he continues improving, Tomic should be a lottery pick in a year or two given his enormous size and advanced offensive skills. Raptors assistant GM Maurizio Gherardini was in Zagreb the past month to check Tomic, while several scouts attend every Zagreb game.
Since Nemanja Aleksandrov didnít recover in time to participate in any games this Adriatic season, Ante Tomic is easily the prospect with the most potential playing in the competition at the moment. It was the first season in which Tomic got significant playing time, and while he didnít overly impress, he also didnít disappoint either.
You often hear the statement "he is hurt by his lack of body strength" when speaking about European prospects, but there might not be anyone for whom this is as big an obstacle as it is for Tomic. Ante was unable to hold his position on the low block on either end of the floor and was overmatched physically by most of his opponents. Because of his physical weaknesses he was forced to use his hands excessively on defense, putting him in foul trouble too often and not letting his coach give him more playing time. He had some impressive games like a 15 point, 7 rebound performance against Zadar or a 13 point, 10 rebound outing at Hemofarm, but was inconsistent all season long, scoring in double figures 5 times, but never twice in a row. Most of Tomicís immense talent was visible on the offensive end, where he showed many skills with the ball in his hands.
Except for great size and good athletic ability, Tomic offers an impressive, yet still unpolished skill-set. He can shoot the ball from mid-range at a decent clip, showing rather good mechanics for someone this tall, while also being capable of playing with his back to the basket thanks to a variety of post moves, which werenít always that effective against stronger opposition. The strongest parts of his game right now are his ball-handling and passing skills, which isnít strange since Tomic was a PG as a cadet before growing an incredible 8 inches in just a year. Tomic can beat his matchup off the dribble thanks to his impressive ball-handling ability and is a great passer either from the high or low post, occasionally acting like a PG in setting his teammates up and directing the flow of the offense.
We find most of his deficiencies on the defensive end. As already mentioned he is very frail and therefore not a very good man-to-man defender at this point. On a positive note he doesnít avoid physical contact and is willing to bang down low, but doesnít have the body to do so with any consistent success. Tomic is also not good enough at boxing out his man at this point, positioning himself under the rim and all the other dirty work that centers are supposed to do.
He will must work hard on his body this summer, because that is the only thing keeping him from being a top Center in this League and go-to-guy for his Zagreb team. Given his combination of athleticism, size and skills, Tomic is a very intriguing prospect for NBA teams, despite being a project at this point. KK Zagreb will be very demanding regarding his buyout (which does not exist at the moment according to his agent), but if Tomic enjoys a good season next year that will not be a big problem since Ante has a good shot at being selected in the lottery if he continues to improve. As for his NBA comparison, a young Zydrunas Ilgauskas is probably most similar to Tomic.
Tomic had pretty decent stats, but the overall impression wasnít so good. Still, when you consider that he has never played that many minutes at the senior level then you get a slightly different impression from what was seen here..
His skinny body jumps at you as by far his biggest weakness currently. He is very narrow, especially in the lower body with his rail thin legs. He was completely outmuscled on both ends of the floor, struggling to establish position in the post and being exposed in man-to-man defense. You canít deny that he put in the effort and fought hard, but he simply has no body to play in the post as of right now. He has a great motor and is very quick for someone this tall, though. Tomicís vertical is also good as he picked up his fair share of rebounds despite struggling to box-out at times. His lateral quickness is also above average and Ante definitely has potential to be a good defender down the road as he gets stronger. On the offensive side he couldnít do much in the post, but managed to show flashes of his remarkable skill-set regardless. His ball-handling is exceptional, just like his court vision, and he passed the ball accordingly extremely well for most of the game to finish with 3 assists in 22 minutes. His court sense is pretty rare for a 7 foot center, reminding at times of his countrymen and Maccabi Tel Aviv star Nikola Vujcic is this department. He didnít take any jumpers in this game, but during warmups you could see that he can knock down shots from mid-range with regularity, showing smooth mechanics in the process. All of his points came from easy layups so there isnít much else to speak off in terms of his offensive game. He would have played even more if he didnít pick up two silly fouls early in the 2nd half before fouling out. Zagreb will obviously give him a great chance to prove himself and we are looking forward to following his development, as his potential appears to be huge.
Tomic was the most pleasant surprise of the tournament, a player every NBA team is likely drooling about. Given the usual pattern with international bigs these days, Tomic is almost just a few characteristics short of being a ďdream come trueĒ. Picture this: a 7-1 center with really nice mobility, all around skills, but particularly gifted to play in the low post. Forget about all those seven footers in love with their jumper; Tomic can nail them, but he will primarily look for menacing near the basket. Itís rather surprising when you consider that he used to play the point in the past, before growing like crazy.
The first thing that claims your attention when he grabs the ball in the low post is how comfortable and under control he looks there despite his physical flaws. He evaluates his options and usually takes the right decision. If he sees an opportunity to score, he knows how to get it done. For a skinny guy like him, weaker than his average matchup, itís remarkable how he manages to bang and make space down low, faking, and executing precise moves while perfectly controlling the ball dribbling it. Once heís reached a good position, he will deliver a nice half-hook shot with either hand. He already features a soft touch, although itís still improvable.
If Tomic doesnít feel confident about his chances of scoring, he looks for the pass. Tomic perfectly uses his size to see over the other guys on court and feeds the cutters or punishes a double team by finding the open man on the perimeter. Heís also a good passer facing the basket from the high post or even the three point line.
Ante can score facing the basket through his static jumper, enjoying range out to the three point line. His mechanics are ok even if the release is a bit slow. His can also be productive on pick and roll plays, and despite rarely showing any slashing movement, he can carry the ball in transition thanks to his excellent handles.
The biggest concern about this player is his strength. In Belgrade, he was regularly outmuscled in many situations, particularly on defense and fighting for rebounds. His frame is not the worst seen around, but it doesnít look like a true centerís one. Nevertheless, with the appropriate work, he could be able to bulk up enough to hold his own in top competition. He should definitely start playing consistent minutes against mature guys in the Adriatic League as soon as possible.