The most intriguing Euroleague Newcomers (II)

Basketball website Double-Double is going to try to present you the most intriguing Euroleague newcomers for 2018/2019 season. This list will be consisted of 15 names with short scouting reports and it will be published in three sections in following days.

  1. Thomas Walkup (SG/SF, 193 cm, 1992, Zalgiris)

Thomas Walkup is atypical player covering guard and small forward positions. He can defend everyone in Europe 1-3 and can make advantages in every situation.

Thomas is good player in pick and roll situations, he delivers good passes and finds interesting angles, while he has good recognition of different kind of situations on the court. At the same time, Walkup can punish every defense  out of pick and roll with his shooting and penetration skills. Thomas likes contact game, enjoys in traffic and can be additional power for Zalgiris master-mind offense. Some problems in his pick and roll game are centred around his basic ball handling skills.

Thomas has fast release, he can punish every open situation very well, while using his finely reading. Walkup uses room on the floor perfectly, while he is capable of penetrating both sides. Another big plus in Walkup’s game is transition skills. He is very active on ball defender, making steals and capable to run the transitional offense. He is very aggressive in that situations, strong in contact and he likes to dunk whenever it is possible.

In defense, Walkup is great defender in pick and roll situations. He has good anticipation and positioning on mental side of the game and his body in physical aspect. Walkup likes fighting through screens, has good lateral quickness and he is always highly concentrated.

Thomas allows switches far too easily, which can be cosidered as serious cons at the highest European level and he is sometimes bit late in rotations.

  1. Marius Grigonis (SF, 198 cm, 1994, Zalgiris)

Marius is back home after few seasons of long trips around lower level teams and ALBA Berlin. Grigonis is exceptional shooter, but he will need more qualities to stick around the starting 5 in Zalgiris.

Marius is creative player in offense with great skills in pick and roll game and transition, while he is fantastic shooter from every spot on the floor. Pick and roll game for Grigonis is full of varieties – he can shoot, penetrate and find his teammates with very accurate passes. Marius is not so strong in contact game and his dribbling is bit high. That helps strong defenders to contest his game out of picks.

Marius is safe option when left open, but his off ball movement is not the perfect one. He is bit slower and sometimes not so resolute as should be in building up his open position by himself.

Grigonis is power in transition game as well. He is very wicked finding his shot in these situations – he can run lightening fast and be first on a rim, but also he can intentionaly wait a bit and stay quite open behind.

On the other side of the court, Marius is not so brilliant as in offense. He is below average rebounder and not so reliable option in defending pick and roll sets. He tries to avoid screens, goes bit wide around and pins easily in strong screens.

Marius rotates well, keeps every shot contested and makes good decisions on the weak side. It seems that he is constantly concentrated on the defensive end as well.

  1. Zach LeDay (PF, 201 cm, 1994, Olympiacos)

Zach LeDay had almost perfect season in Hapoel Galil Gilboa and got deserved acknowledgement signing with Greek powerhouse Olympiacos Pireus. His new coach would be iconic name on Old Continent David Blatt.

Zach LeDay is energy big man, completely unpolished at the moment. His shooting stroke is horrible and he makes many mistakes in other situations. Still, Zach is a potential steal for summer transfer window – since Kyle Hines Europe has not seen so much energy and potential in one undersized big.

To sublime his offensive game, we can use the following term – immensely dangerous around the rim and given more room, at the same time pretty harmless if left wide open at mid range or 3pt line.

What impressed the most is Zach’s ability to be great cutter at next level, as well as very good low post player. He chooses good directions and is hard worker off the ball, with strong but mobile body. At low post Zach is fighter and has some nice back moves and hook shots.

In defense, LeDay is immensely gifted player with good footwork, great physical tools and fast reactions. At the same time, very unpolished and far from finished product. He rotates well, but the problems on the defensive end are (at this moment) numerous: Zach is easily beaten at 1 step, he comes bit late at covering shots, struggles against taller and technically gifted centers, has bad positioning defending low post.

  1. Shavon Shields (SG/SF, 201 cm, 1994, Baskonia)

Shavon Shields was the main factor in Trento successes last season. His role has grown throught the season, with its peak in Serie A play offs. Shields used his right sign out of contract, being sure in his abilities and market value.

Shavon is dangerous finisher out of pick and roll sets. He is very strong penetrator, more than capable of scoring around the rim or drawing fouls with ease. Shields game is full of energy and he has added additional quality of outside shooting. Shields is not natural shooter, but he has filled up with confidence and everything looks very easy for him at this moment.

Additional area where Shileds is very strong is transition game. He can be bit wild in passing, buth his high motor and good handling are main values to care about in this aspect. In general he is fast moving guard with excellent size and growing talent.

In defense, Shields is not easy to beat definitely. His pick and roll defense is active with a lot of fighting through screens and very fast reactions. Lateral quickness is more than solid, body is big and strong enough and Shields can only grow more and more in this area. Also, Shavon is always active on defensive end, try to help all the time and has good understanding of game. Rotations are timid and anticipation of opponents moves helps him a lot.

  1. Nigel Williams-Goss (PG, 191 cm, 1994, Olympiacos)

Partizan standout guard Nigel Williams-Goss won Serbian cup title in Black-White colors, with MVP honour next to his name. Next stop for this talented guard will be Greek Powerhouse Olympiacos Pireus.

Nigel is immensely talented guard with good court vision, size and ability to control game tempo and attacks of his guys. His qualities are centred around his great passing skills out of different sets, as well as his quality mid range shooting and improved 3pt shooting.

Defensive part of a game is kind of problematic for former Gonzaga guard. His rotations are bit slower and he is still gaining experience for European type of basketball. Williams-Goss has great understanding of game and basketball IQ, but he has not transferred that talents to real impact on the defensive end. Also, despite his size Nigel is still some kind of “soft” in tough physical play and bit slower than expected, but all these aspects will improve significantly after only half of season in the best European competition.

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