USC's power forward/center Nikola Vucevic opened eyes at the 2011 NBA Draft Combine and might have propelled himself into the first round in the upcoming NBA Draft.
He entered the Windy City as an unknown, but he measured out very well there and in a draft that's short on both good players and big players, he could be a good big player. That possibility made him the hottest prospect to come out of that combine and propelled him into the first round in several mock NBA drafts. He might go mid-first round, even.
And one of the most interested NBA teams in Vucevic are the San Antonio Spurs who will be working him out tomorrow according to the latimes.com:
From Houston, Vucevic will head to San Antonio, where he'll work out Friday with the Spurs, who have the 29th pick in the first round.
Not only are the Spurs going to work him out, it seems the team has been scouting him at several USC games:
The Spurs had scouts present at several of USC's home games this season and are reportedly very interetsed in the 20-year-old Vucevic, as are Phildelphia, Charlotte, New York and New Jersey.
Here are his measurements from the draft combine:
He measured out a shade shorter than 7-feet at 6-11 3/4 in shoes -- the tallest there; was the second heaviest present at 260 pounds but had just 6% body fat; had the second longest standing reach at 9-4 1/2 (a half-inch bigger than former No.1 overall pick Greg Oden); and, to boot, had the second-best wingspan at 7-4 1/2.
Last season he averaged 17.1 points, shot 50.5% from the field, 75.5% from the free throw line, 10.3 rebounds, 1.4 blocks in 34.9 minutes for the Trojans.
He sure seems to fit the Spurs need for a big man and all Spurs fans know how much Popovich likes foreign players so it may not be a surprise to hear Vucevic's name be called when the Spurs are on the clock and he is available at pick 29 in the first round.
What do you think Spurs fans? Like what you see in Vucevic?
Well, there were questions about Anderson Varejao & Serge Ibaka when they were drafted & those 2 picks worked out. Then again, there's also Ian Mahimni, so who knows. I just don't think it's a good idea to look past Norgueira if he's there. I do like the idea of JaJuan Johnson as well. Not sure if he'll be there at 29 though.
@yowhatupT Varejao spent 3 years in euroleage (FC Barcelona) and Ibaka 2 (also in Spain). They arrived to their respective teams with developed bodies (if not games) and professional experience. Ibaka averaged less than 8 reb/10 pts this year. Still not a productive enough player. Ian Mahimni is/was a total bust and is only kept on rosters because "you can't coach size". I would rather take chances on players of the year in their respective college conferences than Norguiera.
Norguiera is not a viable solution to adding size to the Spurs frontline. Too raw, too skinny, too young (don't reference Tony, was already playing pro ball overseas for a few seasons), NOT ready for the NBA. Drafting him would mean placing him overseas and hoping he develops skill set and body and that does not provide the IMMEDIATE help the Spurs need. Either Vucevic or JuJuan Johnson would be able to provide minutes off the bench or short term time in the D league before being called up. And all of this is really moot, because who as ever been accurate in "projecting" a pick that Pop makes?
I really like this kid. He could make an impact right away. But if he's taken before 29, I think they should take a good look at JuJuan Johnson, he might be skinny but that's what the strength trainers are for
I saw Lucas Norgueira play in las summer's FIBA U18 Tournament. I covered three or four of his games and I was impressed. He's athletic, can rebound and block shots, and in fact gave the US bigs some trouble. He really needs to work on awareness on the court. If he does that he can be a shot blocks machine. Offense isn't great, but it doesn't really need to be. I may write a full draft profile on him in the coming weeks.
Norgueira is a SKINNY brazilian kid that's a seven footer, too much of a long term prospect than a player with an NBA ready body like Vucevic.
As I recall, when Timmy came out of Wake Forest, the only knock on him was a "lack of athleticsm". Turned out pretty well for the Spurs anyway. He doesn't need to be an athletic shooter like Nowitsky, just a big that can patrol the paint and make outlet passes to the wings.
I wouldn't mind this, because he seems ready to play now. But in Chad Ford's draft combine breakdown, Vucevic was one of the least athletic guys in the draft. I like the potential of Lucas Norgueira out of Brazil.
@JeffProjectSpurs @ZILLA @yowhatupT I've never seen Norgeira play but from the reports I've heard and the youtube clips I've seen he seems to be a Hassan Whiteside type that came out of Marshall last year. A tall, long, skinny, athletic guy who is super raw. Has little in terms of offensive game but his defensive game is more advanced which is typical with raw big men. I'm not a fan of drafting guy's purely on potential, but the potential is there for sure.
@JeffProjectSpurs @ZILLA @yowhatupT I wouldn't take him at 29. I'm not a fan of raw projects even late in the first round. The talent is there and I could understand why someone would jump at him but I think there are plenty of developed college players that will come in and guarantee help the Spurs.
If he can play defense and rebound pick the guy that's what they need a defensive big, along with Splitter they can develop defensively and could be shut down defenders in the paint.If they sign Ryan Richards and possibly Nano De Colo to the D-League that could be great for the future of the spurs.