After 7 rounds of the #INTLHoopsDraft, we are proud to announce the first of several articles where outside analysts critique our skills as general managers. I (@rlawrencem) would very much like to thank Rafael Zamorano (@rafazdiaz) for taking time out of his busy schedule to write a few words on ten of the teams.
Krasnodar (@jailedflynt/@courtside_drs): Joe Ragland (PG), Antoine Diot (PG/SG), Luka Doncic (PG/SG/SF), Kyle Kuric (SG), Raymar Morgan (SF), Shayne Whittington (PF) and Ognjen Kuzmic (C)
With a spaced floor thanks to sweet-shooting guards and wings in Diot, Ragland, Kuric and Whittington, Raymar Morgan’s scoring game and Luka Doncic’s pick-and-roll chops would be on full display. There are enough questionable defenders that they might struggle against elite competition, but big bodies like Antoine Diot, Luka Doncic and Ogjnen Kuzmic could be enough to hide the more limited players on the roster enough that they can outgun the opposition on the other end.
Andorra la Vella (@Pierre_CLS): Alberto Díaz and Quino Colom (PG), Edwin Jackson (SG), Adam Hanga (SF), Luka Mitrovic (SF/PF), Anthony Randolph (PF/C), Giorgi Shermadini (C).
This team is gonna be looooooong. It’ll be tough to score on a team in which Adam Hanga and Anthony Randolph man the forward positions and youngster Alberto Díaz defends the point of attack. Despite Edwin Jackson’s gunning, their starting 5 might struggle with spacing, since none of Shermadini, Randolph or Hanga are reliable shooters. However, with Quino Colom coming off the bench to provide the necessary off-the-dribble creativity and Luka Mitrovic unlocking small-ball lineups featuring Randolph at the 5, this team could still prove extremely tough to beat.
Zalgiris Franca (@GabrielAndPaula): Leo Westermann and Stefan Jovic (PG), Jaycee Carroll (SG), Jannis Timma and Jonah Bolden (SF), Quincy Miller (PF) and Ekpe Udoh (C)
Thank God for Ekpe Udoh, because otherwise Zalgiris Franca’s porous perimeter defense would give away game after game. Luckily, Leo Westermann and Jaycee Carroll form as terrific an offensive combo as their defense is terrible, and coupled with Jovic’s passing chops, Timma’s all-around contributions, Bolden’s shooting and bounce and Quincy Miller’s athleticism, they should be tough to stop –and fun– on offense.
Rathmines (@bie_basketball): Milos Teodosic and Maodo Lo (PG), James Nunnally and Jeff Taylor (SG/SF), Trey Thompkins (PF) and Ante Zizic and Jared Sullinger (C)
This is just a well-balanced, well-built roster. Although Teodosic’s defensive limitations will be on full display playing with slow-footed bigs like Thompkins, Zizic and Sullinger, his world-class pick-and-roll mastery would prove unstoppable with Nunnally, Taylor and especially sharp-shooter Trey Thompkins spacing the floor. Defensively, Taylor and Nunnally would likely be overstretched given the lack of good defenders, but the hope is that Ante Zizic can prove solid enough positionally to utilise that 7 foot frame and contribute just enough to tilt the scales their way and outgun the opposition.
Belgrade Eagles (@Vu1ak): Charles Jenkins and Kendall Marshall (PG), Cory Higgins and James Feldeine (SG), Nikola Kalinic (SF), Derrick Brown (PF) and Gustavo Ayón (C)
Despite Ayón’s known defensive struggles, this team would absolutely be a nightmare to score on. Charles Jenkins might’ve been one of the 3-5 best defenders in Europe last season, whilst Cory Higgins, Nikola Kalinic and Derrick Brown have the length and athleticism to shrink the court and strangle the opposition’s spacing. They’d have to lean heavily on Ayón’s passing and on fastbreak scoring to eke out points, although Feldeine’s shooting ability and Marshall’s brilliant passing would give them some breathing space off the bench.
Lyon Kings (@savasbdl): Aaron Jackson and Jordan Theodore (PG), Marko Guduric (SG), Kostas Papanikolau (SF), Nicolo Melli (PF) and Nikola Milutinov and Ante Tomic (C)
This team just oozes basketball IQ. The constant cutting-and-shooting of Jackson, Guduric and Papanikolau would be rewarded with consistent feeds by renowned high-post passers like Melli and Tomic. Milutinov’s contributions, especially on defense, would be necessary to avoid depending on Ante Tomic’s shaky defense, and Jordan Theodore would definitely fit into a role here as the man trusted to break down the defense and make something happen if the defense catches up to the starters’ heady play.
Kaminia Is For Lovers (@rodhig7): Thomas Heurtel (PG), Nemanja Nedovic and KC Rivers (SG), Tyler Honeycutt (SF), Earl Clark and Kim Tillie (PF) and Chris Singleton (PF/C)
This team would be a fantastic experiment as to how well small-ball can actually work. With a well-spaced floor, Thomas Heurtel’s well-known pick-and-roll game and Nedovic’s explosive scoring capacity would be on full display. Chris Singleton –possibly the Euroleague’s best defender last season–, Earl Clark, Tyler Honeycutt, Kim Tillie and KC Rivers could easily switch screens, making hiding Thomas Heurtel an easier task on defense.
Tynda (@chernykh): Alexey Shved (PG/SG), Chris Babb and Sinan Guler (SG), Sergey Karasev (SG/SF), Nikita Kurbanov (SF/PF), Nick Minnerath (PF), Zach Auguste (PF/C)
Look, I don’t know that these guys can win games. Granted, there’s enough awesome shooters on the team, but the whole “sharing the ball” and “playing defense” concepts aren’t gonna be all that great. That being said, would I watch a team with Shved, Guler, Karasev, Kurbanov and Minnerath? It’s a yes / no question — and the answer isn’t “no”… If only for comedy purposes.
Tomos Ljubljana (@IllegalScreens): Vangelis Mantzaris (PG), Errick McCollum and Levi Randolph (SG), Tornike Shengelia (PF), Alex Tyus, Bojan Dubljevic and Artsiom Parakhouski (C)
Welcome to the unofficial bully-ball team of the International Hoops Fantasy Draft! 4 big men out of 7 players so far. And the good thing is they’re pretty varied too. Want a classic, strong, bulldozing, post-up centre? Sure: Parakhouski is about as good as it gets at that role. Want your big man to fit the athletic rim-runner, roll-man mold? Alex Tyus has been your man in the Euroleague for the past half-decade! Want a more modern big man who can step out to the perimeter while still punishing small-ball lineups or switchy defenses? Dubljevic is the man for the job! Couple this barrage of big men with shooters like Mantzaris, McCollum and Levi Randolph and hey, the team’s looking quite good! If only there were any available wing players…
Bologna (@rlawrencem): Mike James and Pierre Jackson (PG), Janis Strelnieks (SG), Luka Babic (SF), Andrey Vorontsevich (PF), James Gist (PF/C) and Khem Birch (C)
This roster is just an powerhouse built around their explosive point guards: both Mike James and Pierre Jackson are athletic guards well-known for their scoring outbursts. They’re surrounded here by an all-around core of solid players (Strelnieks, Babic, Vorontsevich), a defense-first, rim-rolling centre in Khem Birch and the rare big who can sort of switch screens, protect the basket and shoot from the outside in James Gist. They might need another creator on the perimeter, but there are still a few available roster spots to fix that and plenty of guys who fit the bill.