Tuesday, April 7, 2015

2015 Draft Scouting (2nd Round): Aleksandar Vezenkov

Aleksandar Vezenkov
SF/PF
6'9, 210
Aris BC
Nicosia, Cyprus
8/6/1995
Big Board Rank: 45




Aleksandar Vezenkov has been one of the most productive players in the Greek Basketball League (GBL) this season.  Vezenkov leads the league in scoring, ranks second in rebounding and is one of the top five outside shooters by percentage.  At only 19 years old, Vezenkov appears ready to test his talent at a higher level of competition.  A gifted lefty with range, the ability to attack off the dribble and enough size to play both forward positions, he could prove to be a steal in the second round if he enhances his physique.  Vezenkov is attempting to become the first NBA player from Cyprus, and one of only three players of Bulgarian nationality to play in the world's highest league.


Vezenkov has been playing professionally in the GBL since 2011-12 and has a long international history playing for Bulgaria in various tournaments.  He's been a productive and efficient scorer and rebounder at every level:

Season
PPG
RPG
APG
SPG
FG%
3P%
FT%
2013-14 GBL
(26 games)
11.1
5.8
2.1
0.8
50.7%
38.5%
75.6%
2015 EuroBasket Qualifying (6 games)
17.3
6.3
1.5
1.2
50.6%
37.1%
72.2%
2014-15 GBL
(22 games)
18.9
7.9
1.8
0.9
51.5%
42.2%
77.3%

Vezenkov has put up dynamic numbers for a competitive Aris BC team this season, the most impressive being his 42% three point shooting on 4.6 attempts per game.  Vezenkov has also made a habit out of getting to the free throw line this season, notching 4 attempts per contest.

STRENGTHS

Vezenkov offers a versatile offensive game, built on his superb outside shooting.  A true threat to knock down shots in catch-and-shoot situations, especially in the pick-and-pop, Vezenkov is adequate enough off the dribble to be a threat attacking off of a pump fake.  He also has a variety of moves in the post, although a lack of bulk and athleticism may limit this trait against NBA post defenders at the PF position.

WEAKNESSES

His greatest weaknesses come in the form of physical limitations.  Vezenkov will likely need a few years of an NBA strength and conditioning program before being ready to play consistent minutes night in and night out.  This will also cause issues for Vezenkov defensively.  He lacks the athleticism to defend NBA SFs, but is not big enough to handle an NBA PF on the block.  All of this adds up to it being a few years before Vezenkov makes an impact.

FIT WITH THE PISTONS/AVAILABILITY

Vezenkov's size and shooting ability would fit nicely within the Pistons offense at either forward position.  His upside seems to offer flexibility similar to what Mirza Teletovic has offered the Nets in his NBA career.  Although the Pistons appear desperate to make a playoff appearance, spending a second round pick on a guy who is still a year or two away from making an impact may be logical due to his upside and fit.

Mock Draft (Date)
Vezenkov’s Position
Detroit’s Pick
Draft Express (4/2)
36th – Minnesota
38th – Tyrone Wallace
CBS Sports – Vecenie (2/27)
44th – Philadelphia
38th – Ron Baker
Basketball Insiders - Koutroupis (3/1)
36th – Philadelphia
38th – Damian Jones

Assuming Vezenkov chooses to enter the 2015 draft, it's hard to say whether he'll still be around when the Pistons pick between 37 and 39.  A team like Philadelphia, who isn't in a hurry to win may see him and use one of its two early first rounders before the Pistons even have a chance to grab him.  Granted that he is available, the Pistons would be well served to make him their pick.  He's a high risk, high reward player, but at the cost of a second round pick, he would be a cheap mistake to make.  Should he pan out, he would be an excellent floor stretcher around the pick-and-roll and give the second unit some scoring punch.

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