First off, I’m very sorry this is the first Euro Stash Update in a while, my midterm schedule set me back a few weeks, and I don’t like talking about these guys unless I’ve watched as many of their games as I can.
Anyway, let’s jump in to it...
The Euroleague Playoffs are underway but, unfortunately, both Jonah Bolden and Mathias Lessort failed to qualify for the playoffs as each of their respected teams fell short of making the Top 8 teams in the Euroleague.
So let’s give a season review of our Euroleague friends.
Drafted 2nd Round 36th Overall 2017 PF/C
Plays for Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (Euroleague/Israeli Premier League)
Jonah is obviously our most anticipated arrival from across the Atlantic, the bouncy and lengthy forward finished the season averaging 7 point, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist in 21 minutes per game. He shot 62% from inside the arc (that’s 13th best in the Euroleague) but just 31% from distance and 51% from the line. As of the last Euro update, Jonah was playing some very solid basketball and showing improvements in several aspects of his game, while also showing the potential to improve in others. It is with a heavy heart that I inform you, Bolden regressed a bit while the season progressed. He shot just 7/24 (29%) from distance in the last 10 games of the Euroleague season and never seemed to find a steady and consistent stroke. However, that’s no discredit to him still being a very, very good player. Jonah is still a lanky and wiry player who makes the most of his physical frame to crash the glass and make it a nightmare for offenders matched up against him. The three-point shooting is hopefully something he can work one once he comes over for summer league and works with the Sixers coaching staff but, I am still very, very excited for this Aussie to make the trip to Philadelphia. Here are his highlights from his last career Euroleague game where he posted 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals against Valencia Basket.
More will be written on Jonah as the summer goes on and he inevitably… “comes over.”
Drafted 2nd Round 50th Overall 2017 PF/C
Plays for Crvena Zvezda (Euroleague/Adriatic League)
The Frenchman is a curious case for the Sixers and will hopefully draw his fair and well deserved look on a Sixers Summer League roster. He finished the season averaging close to 9 points and 6 boards per contest, but showed some strides in his game as the season progressed. Lessort is 2nd in the entire Euroeague in Offensive Rebounds per game, snatching 2.87 per game (5.16 per 40) and does his hard work on the defensive glass as well, where he grabs 2.8 per game (29th in the league). Overall, Mathias Lessort ranks 8th in the Euroleague in total rebounds, pulling down 170 total rebounds (5.67 per game), Lessort is 4 spots ahead of stash Jonah Bolden, who yanked a total of 159 rebounds (5.48 per game).
The concerns for Lessort are still his lack of a jump shot, his struggle to find touch around the rim (we all know he can dunk, but it’s the baby hooks that need work), and his size. Lessort stands just 6’7 and struggles with some of the large, wide big men of the Euroleague; and without a jump shot of any kind, he is just asking for NBA defenses to play off him, and attempt to attack the larger defenders off the dribble, something Lessort also hasn’t perfected.
With that said, there is still much to love about his game, he works his ass of on the glass and scores most of his points of put backs from offensive rebounds. His dunks seem to energize his lackluster team and his passion for the game is obviously there.
Arguably his best all-around game of the year came against Valencia Basket on March 15th, where he finished shooting 6-7 from the field and 4-4 from the line to total 16 points (3 short of tying his season high) along with 7 rebounds (4 offensive), 2 assists, 2 steals, and a brutal block.
Drafted First Round 25th Overall 2017 (acquired from Magic via trade) Center
Plays for Herbalife Gran Canaria (EuroCup/Liga ACB)
Welp, 6 months since I started writing about these guys, and the 7 footer Anzejs Pasecniks’ biggest strength is, that’s he’s 7 feet tall, that’s about it. Pasecniks and Herbalife are wrapping up their season in the coming month, and so far, AP (calling him AP is easier) has posted 7 points and 4 rebounds a game, getting most of his points on blown defensive assignments when he can easily lay the ball in over a smaller defender.
He hasn’t shown any of the “unicorn” characteristics that we’ve seen from these other European prospects. He made just 4 of his 19 attempted three-pointers across all the leagues he played in this year (ACB, Eurocup, Spanish Cup). Still not seeing why we traded up to draft him, but maybe he’ll change my mind soon.
I don’t know what it is with Sixers’ stashes playing very well against Valencia Basket, but Pasecniks also had his best game against them, which included a Boban-esque non jump dunk.
Drafted 2nd Round 52nd Overall 2014 Guard
Plays for Žalgiris (Euroleague/Lithuanian Basketball League)
With the Euroleague’s 10th highest total number of assists, Micic ended the season averaging 4.2 assists per game, along with 7 PPG, but unlike Jonah and Mathias, Vasilije’s team did qualify for the Euroleague postseason, finishing 6th in the league. He will go up against Hollis Thompson and Olympiacos in the first round of the Euroleague Playoffs.
The aforementioned Hollis Thompson and Olympiacos finished 3rd in the Euroleague. However, Hollis did not neccesarily do his part in helping them get there. Hollis had a season he’d like to forget, as he posted 5 points and 3 rebounds per game, while shooting just 27% from distance on the season. I’ll give you some highlights from his best game of the season, way back in October
Unlike Hollis, former Sixer Sergio Rodriguez did have himself a fantastic season. His team, CSKA Moscow finished atop the Euroleague in the regular season and he played an immense role for the team. He finished the regular season putting up 14 points, 5 assists, and 2 rebounds a game, while shooting an incredible 45% from distance. The tandem of Sergio, and former NBA guard Nando De Colo have lead CSKA do the top spot with a 24-6 season.
Jonah Bolden’s pick and roll partner Pierre Jackson finished 8th in total scoring for the entire league. Pappy Gawd averaged 14.5 PPG while getting his teammates involved with 4 assists per game. The Jackson/Bolden duo was certainly a fun one; several times over the season, Jonah would pull down a rebound, pass to Jackson who would initiate a fast break, and Jackson would find a cutting Bolden who would streak down the lane for an easy two. The Ghosts of Process Past and Process Future working together was a sight to see.
Chukwudiebere Maduabum ended his Japanese B League season averaging 8 points and 6 rebounds, 1 point off from the coveted 6/9 rebound/point stat line (nice). That’s really all the news I have on him.
Thing 1 of the Kings trade, Arturas Gudaitis, finished the Euroleague regular season averaging 10 & 6 while shooting 67% from the field, that’s good enough to earn him the 2nd spot in FG% in the league (he should be 1st, someone with 9 less games played is ahead of him just due to the smaller sample size, higher percentage).
Thing Two of the Kings trade, Luka Mitrovic, had a less impressive season because he was injured for a good chunk of it. He still finished the season averaging 4 points and 3 rebounds.
As the offseason nears (post NBA Finals), more attention will be paid toward Jonah Bolden and his inevitable arrival...