Adetokunbo Scouting Run An NBA Event

JESOLO, Italy – No mascots, no Red Panda or Quick Change at halftime. No lob dunks, no TV timeouts, no air rifles shooting balled-up T-shirts into the crowd in the upper deck. No crowd in the upper deck.

But what an NBA happening Saturday night.

Greece-Croatia in the opener of a four-team under-20 tournament inside Pala Arrex was not just another age-group matchup in another neutral setting in another sleep gym that couldn’t build excitement if it had a quarry’s worth of equipment. It was Giannis Adetokunbo, international man of mystery, in a real game at the same time the adidas Eurocamp was taking place 30 miles away in Treviso, and that meant it was a league event.

Dozens of executives and scouts broke away from Eurocamp in the early-evening to make Jesolo by the 6:15 p.m tip, putting recognizable faces everywhere among the crowd of approximately 300, in the latest attempt at a decision with the June 27 draft bearing down and Adetokunbo still tracking to the end of the first round.

Is he a worthwhile investment for a team willing and able to be patient with a long learning curve or a one-hit wonder of 2012-13 who has gone from nowhere to the guaranteed money only because he faced very weak competition in a lower-division Greek league?

Saturday offered little in the way of concrete answers. Or as one front-office veteran said when asked afterward what he learned from Greece 62, Croatia 52: “Not much.”

Adetokunbo is smooth and has a good feel for the game for a 19 year old with little, and maybe less than that, experience against elite players. He can handle the ball at 6-foot-8, a particularly intriguing aspect, though nowhere near well enough to seriously be considered a possibility for a matchup nightmare at point guard. He can’t shoot. And he needs to get a lot stronger.

“Three or four years,” one scout said of a realistic timeline for Adetokunbo to make an impact in the NBA. “Maybe five.”

The Croatians were probably a step up from the competition Adetokunbo had faced in Greece, the equivalent of Division II or III in U.S. colleges. He did not, however, overwhelm the opponent in the way a prospect with size, mobility and court sense should torch a junior national team 19 days before the draft. The unknown to at least some of the NBA evaluators, and maybe all, was whether he was unable to assert himself or was simply fulfilling the role handed down by the Greek coach.

To members of personnel departments seeing him for the first time, it was not a great first impression. But there will also be more chances. The age-group tournament continues Sunday evening with Greece against Turkey, as the Europcamp also continues in a dose of convenient timing and location for NBA front offices. Before leaving Jesolo on Saturday, some had already bought game tickets to return.

The Eurocamp itself faced further attrition with the loss of two of the biggest names, with French center Rudy Gobert going from planning to play one of the three days in Treviso to withdrawing all together because of food poisoning and Australian shooting guard Dante Exum skipping at least the opening day to rest a foot injury. Exum instead did light shooting on a side court in the La Ghirada complex.

Neither absence will have a major impact – Gobert, trying to make a push to get into the end of the lottery, was at the Chicago pre-draft combine and has a full schedule of visits to NBA teams leading to June 27, while Exum is not in the draft until 2014 at the earliest and possibly 2015. Additionally, small forward Sergey Karasev, who would have been a candidate to play at Eurocamp, or at least show up for private workouts and interviews with NBA executives, has cancelled all visits, Yahoo! Sports reported. Karasev apparently has a promise from a team, but also gives up the chance to impress someone else enough into pick him higher and make more money.

20 Comments

  1. […] NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper was at the adidas Eurocamp and like many NBA representatives made the trek to Jesolo, Italy, to take in a U-20 Greek game. The reports from the past week are all the same. Adetokunbo didn’t do anything to help his draft stock, often playing well within his potential but putting up decent enough numbers. In the game against a Croatian squad, Draft Express cut up some video of Adetokunbo, not for highlights but for a general feel of his game. […]

  2. Emmanuel says:

    You’ve gotten incredible knowlwdge these.

  3. J says:

    Giannis Adetokunbo international man of mystery eh mmm…………………….yeah baby!
    Giannis Adetokunbo i dont even know how to pronounce that

  4. Cactusball says:

    A 6’8” point guard?? Is it just me or is the PG position becoming too tall? I thought players like Deron Williams and Derrick Rose were big enough at 6’3”, then players like John Wall and Tony Wroten come in at 6’5” or 6’6”. This kid either shouldn’t be playing guard or isn’t NBA material.

    • qq says:

      Magic Johnson disagrees.

    • TJ says:

      Ever hear of a guy named Magic Johnson?

    • The Worm 91 says:

      Magic Johnson is 6’9 and was playing point guard

    • jordan says:

      get off NBA.com possibly the most stupid thing ever written… Check how tall Magic was before saying stupid things like that…

    • sendoh8800 says:

      Don’t you recognize the name Earvin “Magic” Johnson???
      He’s a point guard and listed as 6’9″ but most probably 6’8″
      Don’t underestimate someone if their height doesn’t fit their role

    • Heron says:

      I agree, I like pgs in the 6-6.2 range, I would like any of these guys calling you an idiot to name me at least one other mildly successful point guard over 6.6, just look at the likes of tyreke evans for proof

      • RJ says:

        I like big point guards, if they can keep up with the little guys. Right now and over the last decade, a lot of 6’3″ and 6’4″ guys seem to be effective at point though. There’s a whole lineage in the league now: Devin Harris to Deron Williams to Rose, Westbrook, and Bayless, to Jrue Holiday, Steph Curry, Rubio, and Lillard. Kind of between the big point forwards, and the old school little zippy point guards. Jury is still out on Tyreke. hasn’t really been in good health since his rookie year, and that roster hasn’t really had defined roles.

        In any case, it seems this article implies Adetokunbo has SOME pg skills, but won’t be able to play the position in the NBA, like a lot of 6’7″ to 6’9″ guys who can occasionally take the ball up court, but don’t normally orchestrate an offense.

    • GW says:

      anfernee hardaway would’ve had a HOF career had it not been for injury. was also 6’7 at PG

      • GW says:

        LeBron James, Scottie Pippen though not Point guards handle the ball like one when needed by their teams.

  5. Ray Charles says:

    Sounds like you were there?

  6. GO HEAT GO I <3 the Heat :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)