Enter Anzejs Pasecniks (actually…Anžejs Pasečņiks.)
(Pronounced An-zes Pah-sek-niks)
Much has been made of the Brooklyn Nets scouting of overseas talent. Sean Marks has been spotted watching European competition on multiple occasions. Some of that scouting has linked the Nets to Milos Teodosic. But Marks, along with Trajan Langdon, have also looked to the draft and other avenues as well.
Anzejs Pasecniks is a 21-year old center hailing from Latvia. He last played for Gran Canaria in Liga ACB in Spain. Pasecniks stands 7’2’ (and you can’t teach that) and weighs in at 229 pounds. His draft position varies from a mid-first round pick to early second round pick in various mock drafts. The big man is currently slotted #29 in DraftExpress’ latest mock draft and #39 on the Ringer’s Big Board (shoutouts to Danny Chau!)
If drafted by the Brooklyn Nets, Pasecniks could be an ideal Euro-stash candidate.
Anzejs Pasecniks and Offensive Versatility
The “Unicorn” label gets thrown around way too much these days. But it’s all in good fun. I understand. Fans like to put their greatest hopes and dreams and rookies, and that’s understandable. Anzejs Pasecniks could entrust Nets fans with that hope.
The most intriguing part of Pasecniks’ game is his do-it-all ability on the offensive end. Pasecniks shows a tremendous ability to run the floor, bucking the trend of slow big men. He runs in a fluid, straight-line motion, completely comfortable in his huge frame. That leads to some easy finishes in transition, and on the pick and roll. His overall fluidity and coordination extend to his finishing around the rim, where he looks completely comfortable. He shows some good hands catching lobs and is fluid when turning around out of the post. Check out some of those finishes, screens, and general fluidity below…
In today’s NBA, the ability to dive off of screens and move without the ball is imperative for centers. Part of Brook Lopez’s offensive expansion this season was his ability to space the floor with his shooting. Next season, Jeremy Lin will have open driving lanes thanks to Lopez’s ability to knock down jumpers like a 6’6” dude.
A developing (or broken) shot?
Pasecniks, to go with the Unicorn label, also has shown a developing three-point stroke. This season, he shot 44.4% from deep for Gran Canaria. The one caveat is the sample size – he shot only 18 threes, and his previous numbers were uninspiring. He shot below 30% from three in his previous three seasons in both domestic and international competition. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor (AKA Sandy Mui’s “favorite writer”) brought up Pasecniks’ mechanics, calling his shot a bit slow. While Pasecniks may be a work in progress from downtown, he does have a nice touch from midrange.
I’m a big proponent of being able to make free throws. Unfortunately, Pasecniks sorely lags in that area, shooting a lackluster 56% from the charity stripe this past season. His field goal percentage is better than his free throw percentage! That’s definitely an area where he needs to work on. He may need to overhaul his mechanics as a shooter, but hey, he’ll be a rookie.