- Likes to get physical – was told he’s a 3 by coaches but wants to play the 4 and has worked hard at it.
- Very quick release on jumper, rarely dips ball
- Low center of gravity allows him to win physical battles
- Gives wholehearted effort on defense, shows solid fundamentals and technique
- Has a good feel for the game, focused at all times.
- Lack of athleticism holds back his potential
- Slow lateral agility will slow him down from guarding perimeter-oriented bigs
- Must continue strengthening his upper body
NBA projection: Vezenkov truly exemplifies a prime example of a tweener. Despite his productivity and growth over the last few years, it’s hard to project Vezenkov as an NBA player. His physical limitations raise questions about who he’ll be able to guard in the NBA. He wants to be a power forward, and plays like one, but most feel that he is better suited as a small forward. He displays a really high IQ on the floor, and has the ability to stretch out to three point range. He has good rebounding instincts, but struggles to come down with them due to his relatively short arms and weak leaping ability.
Vezenkov drew a lot of hype in 2015 after winning MVP and averaging 17 and 7 in the Greek A1 league as a 19 year old. After pulling out of the draft he signed with Euro powerhouse FC Barcelona where he saw his role essentially diminished to that of a bench warmer. He began getting more burn this season as Barcelona eased him into the lineup. He started in 23 games this season.
Key Statistics: 32 GP, 18.9 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 69% 2P, 38% 3P, 83% FT, 3.2 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 0.8 TPG, (Liga ACB); 30 GP, 18.4 MPG, 7.5 PPG, 68% 2P, 48% 3P, 85% FT, 3.2 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 0.6 TPG, (Euroleague)
Career Highlights: In 2013, reportedly committed to play NCAA basketball at Xavier but elected to remain in Greece. Selected as the best young player in the Greek League in 2013 and 2014. A member of the Bulgarian national team. Ranked eighth at the ’15 Eurobasket qualifiers in scoring (17.3), 10th in three-pointers per game (2.2) and 20th in field goal percentage (50.6). Led ’14 U20 Euros in scoring (19.3) and rebounding (11.2), earning All-Tournament honors. Paced the ’13 U18 Euros in scoring (22.4) and finished third in boards (10.2). Third at the ’12 U18s Euros in scoring (16.7). Topped ’11 U16 Euros in scoring (27.1) and third in boards (9.9).
Cool Statistic: Vezenkov was named with the Spanish ACB’s All-Young Players Team this season.
Reminds me of: Matt Bonner
What Insiders Say
Trevor Magnotti, The Stepback
“In his third attempt at the NBA Draft, Vezenkov has lived up to the skill set he showed promise with back in 2015. He is still probably a fringe NBA player, a low-ceiling prospect who may be more effective in Euroleague than he ever will be in the States. But this year has proven that he has one NBA-level skill in his shooting, and he’s showing signs that there may be a place for him as a back-up small-ball four. The mental side of his game is excellent, and that will help him. Despite initially failing his risky withdrawal in 2015, Vezenkov has worked his way back into the draft conversation, and he is one of the best draft-and-stash options available in this year’s class.”
Chris Denker, NetScouts Basketball
“With so many teams utilizing the 3-point shot, small ball, and open set pick & roll there is an opportunity for guys like Vezenkov who can shoot the basketball. He plays with a high quality club and against the best competition available outside the NBA, he’s a willing defender and works hard, he simply lacks the elite athleticism you would like to see. Don’t be surprised if he’s drafted and with the right team/system he could find his way into the league.”
Carl Berman, NetScouts Basketball
"Vezenkov seems to be a fringe NBA prospect, particularly due to likely deficits on the defensive end, but he does one thing very well and that is shoot. He could be a specialist as a stretch-4 with limited court time due to defensive liabilities. If a player can do one thing very well he's got a chance and Vezenkov has his one thing."
Carl Berman and Chris Denker are Managing Partners of NetScouts Basketball, ‘The International Basketball Connection.’ You can follow NetScouts Basketball on Twitter, or follow Chris and Carl. Thanks to Ronnie Levi of our staff for his work on these profiles.