Scouting Outlook: Zanis Peiners

The most intriguing addition for Partizan BC this summer, from scouting standpoint, is Zanis Peiners. Knowing Rade Zagorac abilities well, it becomes even more interesting to predict and understand which coach idea stays behind this transfer move. Peiners comes from top European competition with Darussafaka, averaging 6.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.5/1.3 AST/TO ratio.

Zanis Peiners was slightly more efficient in domestic BSL with 7.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 1.9/1.2 AST/TO ratio. He was the most efficient in duel vs Anadolu Efes with 18 points, while he had truly good shooting season with 56-39-82 numbers.

Physical Profile

Zanis Peiners is 203 cm – 96 kg Latvian small forward. He started career as big shooting guard, but he became position 3 in meantime. He is not super quick nor athletic, but has long strides, solid lateral quickness and solid rebounding ability. Also, his frame is bit narrow and, in general, lanky built does not help him especially in defense covering better athletic players.


Offensive Game

Latvian small forward is truly talented player with big offensive repertoire. He is dangerous both with and without ball in his hands and it will be really amusing to watch Partizan with coach Trinchieri and at least three good to great ball handlers on the court together at times. Huge versatility of Peiners is proven in sets he is very dangerous in: pick and roll, cuts, transition and as pure stretch option.

Pick and roll sets are area of game in which Peiners flourishes. He is equally lethal as penetrator, creator or shooter, but he uses last option bit too rarely. Zanis is “old school” player with so “basketball like” moves, especially in penetration and finishing around the basket. In some, he reminds on former Partizan BC legend Dusan Kecman in that aspect, as both of them are pretty shrewd and full of unlikely options at times. Peiners finishes around the rim very nicely, with soft touch, and in most cases using board a lot. Furthermore, despite being not so athletic, Peiners is very fast in pick and roll, both as executor and decision maker. He has many euro moves, hesitation fakes and long strides to make it difficult for defense to cover.

Vision in pnr for Peiners is next to elite, but his passing is not so brilliant in execution. He can be turnover prone at times and very predictable as well. In most situations Peiners looks for kick out passes, while his collaboration with rolling man is not polished enough (lot of his turnovers comes from bad timing for passes to big man).

Zanis Peiners is excellent cutter and difficult to guard without ball as well. He uses room perfectly, has good decision making in the process and he is always active looking for cracks in defense. His reading and anticipation is also elite, which all helps him finish easily with cuts and around basket. Despite being not so athletic, Peiners can dunk pretty fiercely.

Transition game is another part of game where Latvian forward is pretty effective. He can be ball handler, but his perfect fit is simple runner in transition. He can finish as penetrator or from the traffic around the rim, but he is dangerous as shooter as well. Zanis has good positioning and he is also danger to steal ball with his active hands and always on passing lanes. Additionally, a lot of nice moves help him go coast to coast.

Zanis is, despite being Latvian who are well known as perfect in the segment, pretty average shooter. He has irregular release, bit slower and predictable, but percentages from last season were pretty good. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to stronger EuroCup defenses, as well as ABA league and if he will transit his good numbers again.

Defensive Game

True problems in Peiners game start in defensive area. He is pretty physically limited, but many issues in this segment comes from the fact he is pretty average (even below average) defender.

Peiners tends to make many mistakes in rotations. He loses his man easily, over-rotates or over-helps at times. It is not rare to see that he collects from totally wrong opposition players (perfect shooters like Datome, Simon, Melih), but many of these cons he compensates with really good energy, hard nosed attitude and solid movement. Another area where he is good is when defending 1 on 1, where he shows positive reactions and good prediction of moves.

In pick and roll defense Peiners is very aggressive at very start, but he gambles a lot and opens lanes for opposition to execute easily. It can be said that he is not so strong through screens and pretty easy to be forced to switch. Very positive is that he reacts good in miss match situations and always tries hard to stay in front of his man. Peiners has long arms, so he is very difficult to beat from pick and roll shooting 3 pointers or mid range shots. There will be many problems in defending pick and roll experts for him at ABA level, as well as EuroCup.

In general, Zanis has solid lateral quickness and he predicts well. In some situations he reacts on fakes easily which opens many easy lay ups for opposition.


Final Opinion

Zanis Peiners type of player is rarely seen as foreign reinforcement in Serbian clubs. He is very creative and interesting to watch, but it will be hard work for both sides (coach-player) to find the best role for him in pretty physical league like ABA.

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