The podcast moved to tonight, so how about another draft profile instead?
With Cleveland’s four draft picks, the option to draft-and-stash a Euro exists, similar to last year with Milan Macvan. Today, two of the draft’s highest rated Europeans get a look. Not having seen much of these players, this profile stays brief.
Evan Fournier generally falls on draft boards around Cleveland’s 24th pick. At 6’ – 7” tall, he possesses great size for an NBA wing. Despite not turning 20 until this October, he lead his French League team in scoring, at 14 per game, and also won player of the month for March. Not an elite league; the French sent four teams to the early rounds of the Euroleague competition, but none advanced to the final sixteen. The five teams competing in the lesser Eurocup finished with only 16 victories compared to 24 losses. But I digress; nineteen years old and the best player in a respectable pro league for a month – that is really solid. This season, he proved most effective attacking the basket, making 52% of his two-point-field-goals and 75% of his four free-throws per game. Strong ball-handling, combined with his size, allowed him to convert 63% at the basket this season according to Synergy (via draftexpress). This June, at the annual Adidas Eurocamp for NBA draft prospects, he made the first-team, thanks to 26 points in 57 minutes on 68% effective field goal shooting. According to reports I have seen; he clearly played at a higher level than others, scoring inside & out and looking strong & fast in transition. Downsides include average athleticism, as his test results look similar to William Buford and Khris Middleton of other 2012 draftees, and inconsistent shooting, where he knocked down only 28% of the shorter European threes in 2011 – 2012.
Tomas Satoransky stands 6’ – 7” tall and plays point guard in the Spanish League – the second best national league in the world. Of course, he’s a back-up and not terribly effective; tallying 5 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists on 43 / 27 / 71 shooting in 17 minutes per game this season. Turning 21 prior to next season, this is his third ACB season, and last year he played much better, including 45 / 42 / 75 shooting across ACB & Eurocup games. Not an NBA level point guard, he never posted a positive Pure-Point-Rating for a full season, and this season for that metric, he ranked 35th of 42 Spanish League point guards in the draftexpress database. He exhibits plus-ball handling, but plays slow, struggling to beat his man off the dribble and to stay in-front of quick players on defense. Named first-team at the recent Adidas Eurocamp; his play was praised for excellent court vision, a smooth shooting stroke, and the ability to score in traffic.
Summary: I’d be excited about the Cavs drafting Fournier. He has great size and a knack for scoring. Apparently owning great confidence, he strives for NBA success with a strong work ethic. In a report on his private Eurocamp work-out, mention was made of him closing out the workout by finding twine on five straight shots from way outside NBA range. Also, he converted 4 of 7 threes in the Eurocamp games. If Fournier added shooting range to his game, I would not be shocked if he ended up with a top-ten career from this draft class. I remember last year reading that Kawhi Leonard spent a lot of time leading up to the draft working on his shot. Reports from workouts raved about the improvements he made. I was skeptical – after all, he made less than one-quarter of his NCAA threes after two seasons. Then he stepped into the NBA and drained 38% his rookie season. Certainly it is not that easy, but for a hard working teenager like Kidd-Gilchrist or Fournier, with great shot-specific coaching, a shot can be reconstructed and amazing strides made. Possibly Fournier is already making those changes, and certainly my evaluation of MKG relies to some extent on the same.
Satoransky – meh. I mean, his PER was 10 in the Spanish League last year as the equivalent of a college junior. If he proves his 2010 – 2011 shooting as a non-aberation, maybe an NBA career is there for him, but I don’t see it.