Another Big Piece

Pistons set to add European center, according to player’s agent

Ukrainian center Slava Kravtsov can add immediate frontcourt depth to the Pistons.
Aleksandr Osipov, Flickr.com
Joe Dumars believes in Andre Drummond’s ability to reach his enormous potential, but he’s going to be vigilant in not throwing him into the deep end before he’s ready to swim. That objective becomes a little easier to accommodate if the Pistons can find someone more prepared to step in and help achieve the organizational goal of getting bigger and more formidable defensively.

Meet Slava Kravtsov. Kravtsov, a center from the Ukraine, has made public his intention to sign with the Pistons once the moratorium period ends on July 11. The Pistons can’t comment on Kravtsov until that time, but Joe Dumars confirmed the Pistons intend to sign Kravtsov on July 11 after Kravtsov’s American agent, Jeff Schwartz, declared his player’s intentions.

What would the Pistons be getting in Kravtsov? By all accounts, an athletic 6-foot-11 center with a solid frame who appears ready to play NBA minutes right now. At 24, Kravtsov has been on the NBA radar for several years. Since a player’s draft eligibility expires at 22, Kravtsov was free to sign with any NBA team.

His major impact for the Pistons next season is likely to be on the defensive end. He was perhaps the best shot-blocker in Europe, averaging nearly two blocks per game in EuroCup play last season.

Here’s a snippet taken from Kravtsov’s profile on Draftexpress.com filed after Kravtsov took part in the 2009 Eurocamp: “Slava Kravtsov did an excellent job putting his intriguing physical tools on display, showing very nice potential for the future. Kravtsov’s main appeal lies in his good frame, above-average athleticism and strong 7-foot-2½ wing span and 9-foot-3 standing reach. … When on, Kravtsov was a force on the offensive glass, coming up with a number of emphatic put-back dunks. He was also an active presence rotating from the weak side, blocking shots and altering others, even trailing his man and coming up with a terrific rejection in transition.”

Like many young big men, among the areas Kravtsov was said to need to work on at that time was consistency of effort and developing post moves. His Eurobasket profile lists Kravtsov at 253 pounds.

Kravtsov is said to speak fluent English and was known as a good teammate and a coachable player. He is said to be a hard worker who maintains his conditioning and is dedicated to the weight room.

A member of the Ukrainian national team since 2006, Kravtsov has been named Ukrainian Superleague Domestic Player of the Year the past two seasons. He averaged 10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots in Superleague play last season and 8.2 points, 3.9 boards and 1.7 blocks in EuroCup play for BC Donetsk, his team the past two seasons after having played for BK Kyiv previously.