In the previous post, we’ve discussed about European backcourt prospects that could help the Toronto Raptors.
Now, we will talk about the prospects from across the Atlantic who would add depth and talent to our team’s frontcourt.
Kyle Hines, 27, 6’6”, PF/C: If you want to have a small but quick, athletic and strong PF/C, don’t get Chuck Hayes. The best in the market is Kyle Hines. 2-times Euroleague champion (2012 and 2013), very athletic defensively but also offensively, considering his height. He can hustle, defend, block, dunk and even run the ball if it’s necessary, because he’s extremely quick. His excellent seasons with Olympiacos, made him a high-earner in Europe last season, when he signed for CSKA Moscow. His cumulative Euroleague stats (playing for the top-tier European competition since 2010-2011 season) are: 9.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 58.4 FT% (his only deficiency) and 59.2 FG%. He has the “team first, individual second” mentality needed to blend easily with his teammates. He has a player option this year (and he’s thinking of leaving Russia). Masai Ujiri, don’t pass on this player.
Gani Lawal, 25, 6’9” PF/C: A defensive monster, extremely long and athletic, who can add depth to Toronto Raptors team. He shone for Virtus Roma in 2012-2013, many teams offered him a contract last season and he decided to stay in Italy but changed team (Emporio Armani Milano). His stats don’t reflect his talent (6.3 pts at 14.9 mpg, 4 rpg, 1 bpg, 71.7 FT%, 60.7 FG %). The only concern is that he tried his luck on the NBA (with the 76ers in 2013) and he was unsuccessful. He is currently a free agent. Masai, have a look to your compatriot Nigerian player.
Ante Tomic, 27, 7’2”, C: Probably the most talented Center in Europe. A 7-footer that has a great basketball IQ. He may not be very strong, but he’s so talented and year by year he’s improving his skills and moves. His cumulative Euroleague stats are 10.2 ppg, 5.10 rpg, 1apg, 0.8 bpg, 65 FT%, 58 FG%. His numbers, especially the rebounds, are not as high as they have to be for his position and height, but every year is improving them. Last season he had almost 7 per game. Unfortunately, there are two obstacles for this player. First, he has an active contract. Second, Utah Jazz hold his rights, and they are thinking of buying out his contract.
Kostas Kaimakoglou, 31, 6’8″, SF/PF: Kaimakoglou is another interesting prospect from Europe. A former Euroleague champion (2011) with Panathinaikos, very strong (250 pounds) forward, who can play and defend both F positions effectively. Defense is in his mindset (very interesting part for coach Dwane Casey), but whenever he gets the chance he shoots effectively either inside our outside the rim. He likes to go beyond the arc and shoot the 3, where he has very good stats (41.4% last season). His 2013-2014 stats were: 8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.7 apg at 24.16 mpg , 82 FT%, 46.3 FG%. He’s a free agent and currently rumors say that Olympiacos team is chasing him.
Georgios Printezis, 29, 6’9″, PF: Two times Euroleague Champion (2012-2013), who is currently in the transfer buzz, even if he has one more year in his contract. The Raptors held his NBA rights from 2007 to 2011, when they traded them to the Dallas Mavericks for Alexis Ajinca (who, by the way, shone on the last European Championship). His rights are currently held by OKC. Extremely effective inside, but also outside, a player that has the ability to shoot with either left or right hand. Rumors say that 3 Turkish teams want Printezis. His career stats are not extraordinary, (8.6 ppg and and 3.5 rpg) but since 2008-2009 his numbers are much higher than the average (10.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg in 21 mpg)
Panathinaikos Athens (former) players: Stephan Lasme (31, 6’8″, PF/C), Jonas Maciulis (29, 6’7″, SF) & Michael Bramos (27, 6’6″, SF) are the last-minute prospects of this list. Current Greek champions, Panathinaikos, decided to reconstruct the whole team for the next season, due to the head coach change but mostly due to financial difficulties. On 12th of June, the reconstruction plan is put underway. Panathinaikos released 5 players on free transfer, including the 3 mentioned ones.
Former Golden State Warrior (2007), Lasme is a powerful and extremely athletic PF/C, very strong both offensively and defensively. He was the starting C of Panathinaikos for the last 2 seasons, helped the team win back to back Greek championships. (9ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.4bpg, 52 FG%, 75 FT% career stats)
Jonas Maciulis is an intriguing player, one with interesting offensive stats (10ppg, 4rpg, 36 3P% career stats), but who is also a very good defender. He was the starting SF for the last 2 seasons.
Michael Bramos has US experience college (2005-2009 Miami University RedHawk), is a very good defender, and an effective 3-p shooter (37.3%).
None of these 3 players will be a free agent for a long time. Lasme is the most likely to receive multiple contract offers, followed by the other two. Masai must take advantage of this opportunity.
So, Raptors fans, what is your opinion about this list? Is there any other European prospect that the Toronto Raptors must look for?