If you haven’t heard of Giannis Adetokunbo yet, get ready. This 6’10” prospect from Greece is flying up the big boards and could land in the 2013 NBA draft lottery come June.
You can count the Detroit Pistons amongst those intrigued by the 18-year-old, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reported that George David—the organization’s assistant general manager—scouted him last weekend.
It remains to be seen if the Pistons are even interested in drafting him, let alone using their lottery pick or one of the two second-round selections they hold in the event.
However, because of the scouting reports and video highlights surfacing of the “Greek Freak,” it’s necessary for Detroit and other franchises around the league to do their due diligence regarding this international man of mystery.
As mentioned, the young man stands at nearly 6’10” and weighs a reported 196 pounds. He has a 7’3” wingspan that allows him to block shots with ease, and gigantic hands that help him to handle the rock and swipe steals.
Adetokunbo has to add some bulk and muscle in order to play down low in the NBA, but some feel he could play a point forward role and even some point guard in the Association.
What is your initial impression of Adetokunbo?
He’s been playing every position for Filathlitikos, a team in the A2 league of the Greek minor league system. As you can see in the highlight tape, Adetokunbo tends to dominate the ball from the rebound to the finish on the other end, either flushing home a dunk or setting up a teammate for an open look.
His passing ability is quite natural and it seems that this kid understands the game on another level. He possesses a high basketball I.Q. and is adept at seeing things before they develop.
Due to the hand size, pure athleticism and creativity, the youngster is also an elite ball-handler, often blowing past his man and using the opening to slash to the lane or kick it out to an open man.
Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News spoke to one league exec about Adetokunbo and he confirmed his upside and first-round merit in this upcoming draft:
"He's a project, not long-term like Darko. Watched him practice. He's a ways away. 2 or 3 years from playing minutes. Still 1st rd pick."— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) April 27, 2013
Adetokunbo has to work on refining his jumper and extending his range to the three-point line—especially if he wants to handle the rock and become a facilitator in the NBA. He also must improve his footwork and intensity on the defensive end, as his size should allow him to dominate opponents on every possession at this stage of his career.
The level of competition Adetokunbo is facing is extremely poor—he’d face tougher defenders, better scorers and more impressive athletes in the D-League—but the raw talents of this prospect are undeniable and have been on full display over the past few months.
He could wind up playing anything from the point guard position to the power forward spot by the time he makes it stateside, which adds to his intrigue.
Watched Greek prospect Giannis Adetokunbo yesterday, who many compare to Nic Batum. Huge upside/talent is there, kid just needs to find it..— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) April 29, 2013
Much like Bismack Biyombo—the Congo prospect that came out of nowhere to get selected No. 7 overall in the 2011 draft—Adetokunbo is likely benefiting from his lack of exposure.
Teams can only see upside right now, which is a great thing for his draft prospects with such a weak class. There are plenty of teams—such as Detroit—that should be willing to gamble with hardly anything to lose.
Expect to hear much more from this interesting talent, as plenty more NBA front offices should be sending representatives to see him play over the next two months or so.