Before we begin today I just wanted to give over the likelihood of each of these players coming over and playing for the Sixers. I’ve seen a lot of conflicting opinions ranging from “we should bring all three over next season” to “none of these guys are close to ready”. So here’s the official rankings on the first Kevin’s-Who’s-Gonna-Come-Over Big Board…
1. Jonah Bolden is far and away our best stashed pick. He has shown ability to do it all on the court. He’s developing his shot more and more as the Euroleage season progresses. On offense he’s very good in the post at facing up or taking his man off the dribble and putting up floaters, or dishing it out to an open man camped on the three-point line. On the defensive end he has some Robert Covington type hands; every game I’ve watched he’s been deflecting passes, disrupting shots, and soaring for rebounds and in most cases, there’s a good chance he at least got a fingertip on the missed shot. Sixers fans saw a tease of this in summer league, when Bolden looked solid and just know that he is getting even better over in Europe. I believe he is very far ahead of the other stashes and has the best chance at coming over next season.
Player Comparison: Draymond Green/Kevin Love Hybrid
2. Mathias Lessort has shown some very good signs that he could be an NBA talent. He is very active on defense and explodes off the floor for blocks and dunks. He is one of the most willing screen setters I have ever seen in my life, and he excels when getting a full head of steam while plunging down the lane and ferociously attacking the paint. However, he has shown no signs to be a pick and pop threat and teams are starting to learn that they can play off of him when he receives passes around the elbow. Now, he is shooting an improved 71% from the line this season (he was 59% last season) so I’m hoping that is something he can improve on as this EuroLeague season progresses. He is fearless and hyperactive on defense, as he is always going up to block shots and get his hands in the passing lanes. I’d give it at least 2 seasons until he has a serious shot at playing NBA basketball.
Player Comparison: Kenneth Faried
3. Anzejs Pasecniks naturally, the 7 foot Latvian center draws a whole lot of Kristaps comparisons, but he is still nowhere near Kristaps’ level (if you read my last Euro article, he is still the Omndroid v. X4). He has the physical assets to be Kristaps-ish, but his shot is still inconsistent, and for his height, he does not grab nearly enough rebounds. He still struggles to dribble and pass and his overall basketball IQ isn’t there… yet. I know it sounds like I’m hating on him, but of course I’m rooting for him to get better.
Kristaps Porzingis Dragan Bender
Drafted 2nd Round, 36th Overall 2017 PF/C
Plays for Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (Euroleague/Israeli Premier League)
Sixers Reddit has informed us that on December 10th, Bryan and his collars will be traveling over to evaluate how Bolden is doing (he’s doing very well)…
[UPDATE: A team source has said that Bryan Colangelo will be checking out all of the Sixers’ stashed players on the overseas trip.]
In Bolden’s game against Vasilije Micic, Brandon Davies, and the rest of the Zalgris club, he only recorded 6 points on 1/4 from shooting… so he sucks right? WRONG!!! Bolden proved he could do literally everything as he stuffed the stat sheet with 6 points, 10 boards, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 4 blocks. He was a block and an assist away from the rare and coveted 5x5. Not enough can be said about how dominant Jonah was in this game, but instead, I’ll let you watch the highlights and see for yourself…
He didn’t score enough points to get his own highlight video, so I sifted through the full game highlights and picked them out…
0:24 second mark- two handed pass on a rope to a cutter
3:06- cross court pass on the money for 3
4:12- nifty pass for Norris Cole for 2
5:26- The Chase Down. The Block. The Stare down. The Trash talk.
8:05- Second chase down block
Directly after- Cuts from corner for dunk
9:00- whips a pass to the corner for 3
9:49- steps out and drills the 3
Apart from these highlights, Bolden is showing that he is the vocal leader on defense for Maccabi. I often see him calling out screens, whether or not he is involved in them, and he is constantly getting on himself, and on his teammates for busted assignments and defensive breakdowns.
I cannot wait for this young Aussie to come over.
Drafted 2nd Round, 50th Overall 2017 PF/C
Plays for Crvena Zvezda (Euroleague/Adriatic League)
Lessort and Crvena Zvezda faced off against the Luca Doncic led Real Madrid team and pulled off a wonderful upset. However, Lessort made a minimal impact shooting just 2/7 from the field and grabbing just 5 total rebounds. Lessort has now fallen to 9th in total rebounds per game (5.7 per), and is still sitting at 3rd in offensive rebounds per game (3.2 per). Lessort’s next matchup is against another good rebounding team in Anadolu Efes, so it’ll be interesting to see if he will be able to figuratively and literally rebound in that game.
Drafted First Round, 25th Overall 2017 (acquired from Magic via trade) Center
Plays for Herbalife Gran Canaria (EuroCup/Liga ACB)
Pasecniks also faced off against Doncic and Real Madrid and he too had another underwhelming game; he hit a total of 2 (count em, TWO) shots from the field for a grand total of 4 points. He did manage to snatch 9 rebounds in his 14 minutes of game action, but again, nothing to eye catching from the Latvian.
Drafted 2nd Round, 52nd Overall
Plays for Žalgiris (Euroleague/Lithuanian Basketball League)
Micic faced off against Jonah Bolden and had a pretty terrible game. He tallied 6 points, 2 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a whopping 5 turnovers. This was my first time watching Micic play because frankly, I don’t think he’s worth my time, but he looks like he is a common case of a Euroloeague player who has a high basketball IQ, but doesn’t necessarily have the skill to pull everything off. Ok, I’d rather tell how how Hollis Thompson has been doing so let’s talk about him instead.
Hollis Thompson is ALMOST back up to shooting 30% from beyond on the season. In his latest game he went 1-2 from 3 and totaled 7 points. Hollis’ team, Olympiacos, is currently tied for first in the Euroleague and I can sleep well at night knowing that Georgetown’s greatest alum is contributing to a winning team overseas.
Speaking of contributing to winning teams, Sergio Rodriguez and CSKA Moscow are tied with the Hollis lead Olympiacos squad for first place. Sergio is still averaging 5 assists per game and is somehow shooting 43% from three. Sergio looks like he’s back at home across the pond as he is flourishing in the Euroleague’s style of play.
Pierre Jackson was facilitating as he helped Jonah Bolden and gang to a win over Zalgris. Pappy Gawd finished with 12 points, 6 assists, and two steals. Although Pierre was overshadowed by the 2013 Finals MVP Norris Cole (who finished with 26/5/4), he still found ways to be a spark plug for Maccabi FOX and help ensure their victory. They Sleep. He Eats.
Chukwudiebere Maduabum finished with ONE POINT and TWO REBOUNDS as he continues his campaign with the Cyberdyne Ibaraki Robots. I still love Chu Chu, so I’m rooting for him to sign with a bigger league so I can stop struggling to navigate through Japanese websites to find his stats.
Arturas Gudaitis so far this season has posted a true shooting percentage 67.9%, which just so happens to lead the entire Euroleague. Pick swap part one is killing it.
Luka Mitrovic has been the less impressive part of the pick swap players, as the Serbian is rolling out of bed and getting 5 and 4. That’s is all from him.