Notebook: Preseason Standouts

Lucio Redivo (1.7, Bilbao)

At 183 cm and average athleticism, Redivo’s physical appearance doesn’t blow you away (similar to e.g. Bruno Fitipaldo), but the former Weber Bahia guard is a microwave scorer who’s been burning nets in ACB preseason, dropping 26 points on Zaragoza on his debut, 18 on Obradoiro, 24 on Joventut and 24 on Hapoel Jerusalem while finishing 2nd in the ACB Supercopa three point contest. While jumpshot-dominant, Redivo is no pure gunner: he’s quick, attacks the hoop in transition and has a repertoire of advanced rim finishes. Came off the bench for Argentina at the Americup. Very smooth and skilled. Took 9.2 jumpshots per game last season, averaged a very good 17.0 points per 30 minutes. Finished in the top 3 percent in transition PPG in Synergy Sports’ international leaderboards last season. Drilled a very good 113 of 253 mid range jumpers. Instant offense.

To consider: The fact that he’s already in full shape after playing at the Americas whereas teammates/opponents aren’t there yet.

Garrett Nevels (1.5, Reggio Emilia, 2015 Class)

Made noise as a deadly pull up shooter (a crucial and translatable stat) for Lleida last season, where he shot 52.4 eFG% (44.4 FG%, 1.053 PPP) on pull up jumpers — 20th amongst 203 players in Synergy Sports’ international leaderboards with 150 pull up attempts or more for the season, just between Milos Teodosic (18th) and Kyle Fogg (22nd) — and exploding for 39 points against CB Clavijo on the last day of the LEB Gold season. He’s been averaging 15.3 PPG on 1.122 PPP (62.3 eFG%) for Reggio Emilia this pre-season, scoring the basketball in a variety of ways just as he did last season. He’s no one trick pony, had a 71% jumpshot-to-FGA rate last season, has good burst, attacks the basket off the catch or coming off the ball screen, while taking care of the ball (single digit TOV% in PnR).

Nevels, a late Reggio Emilia signing, has embarked on a spectacular Euro journey that started in Albacete (Spanish EBA) in 2015 after a pedestrian college career with Hawai’i.

Dallas Moore (1.0, Pesaro, 2017 Class)

Moore ticks many boxes as a modern playmaker: handle, burst, pull up shooting and a deadly runner in the lane that is an extremely valuable tool in pick and roll ballhandler offense. Many college offenses are quite distinct from Euro or NBA offenses, but Moore led a high-tempo, middle PnR-based spread offense at North Florida (Moore finished 8th in the NCAA D1 in PnR possessions per game) with three, often four shooters around him: translatable. Led the D1 last season in transition PPG. The quick trigger is in his DNA and has been on on full display this preseason. Playmaking tools are there; defense, toughness, leadership will be under scrutiny.

Matt Thomas (2.3, Obradoiro, 2017 Class)

Thomas provided smart off-ball play, knockdown shooting and disciplined defensive execution for Iowa State last season, and preseason play indicates he’s stepping into a bigger role in Obradoiro. Thomas was a pure off-ball player in college (just 20.8% of his possessions were of the creative type — iso, PnR or post) and extremely jumpshot dependent (87% jumpshot-to-FGA ratio), then proceeded to knock down open shots set up by Lonzo Ball for the Los Angeles Lakers Summer League team in Las Vegas, but he’s showing a more assertive and diverse game in the ACB, attacking the hoop in transition and appearing as more of a playmaker — though with mixed results.

Mike Tobey (5.0, Tenerife, 2016 Class)

Tobey, a long time NextStep favourite for his hustle, no-nonsense play, physcality, dominant offensive rebounding and potential floor-stretching ability, was one of the class of 2016’s youngest rookies (he’s still just 22). Tobey is a rare non-NBA U.S. 7-footer with a strong motor, and he’s a disciplined, aggressive ball screen finisher, where he keeps the defense guessing with his ability to roll or pop. Tobey had a 40% pop rate on ball screens for the Greensboro Swarm in 2016-17 but drilled just 30.1% of his catch and shoot jumpers. Early numbers indicate he’s more of a roll man in Tenerife (just 20% pop rate), but time will tell. Area to improve: Passing, especially making mid-roll reads.1

Notables

Coty Clarke (4.0, Avtodor, 2014 class)

Clarke had an incredible 2015-16 D-League season with the Maine Red Claws, playing the four and even the five in a Draymond Green type of role, before being asked to play a lot of three in Kazan 2016-17 with Keith Langford dominating the basketball — hardly a tailor-made role for him. Playing power forward in Avtodor’s transition-heavy offense is a much better setting, hence: watch out.

Dar Tucker (2.0, San Lorenzo, 2009 Class)

The lefty on-ball two guard burned both the Real Madrid and FC Barcelona defenses in pre-season, knifing through the lane at will and finishing at the rim en route to a couple of big wins for San Lorenzo over Euro top ten clubs. Not far behind: His teammate Gabriel Deck, who dropped 24 points and 14 rebounds on Barcelona.

  1. I’ve seen players drastically improve in mid-roll passing within the space of 1 1/2 seasons (e.g. Raymar Morgan), so there’s hope.