NBA Draft 2020 Profile: Aleksej Pokuševski’s potential might be too hard to pass on

by Alex Labidou
Nuggets.com Staff Writer
@LabidouA

With the NBA Draft a little more than a week out, Nuggets.com takes a look at 10 prospects who have been heavily-linked to the team through various mock drafts.

There could be Poku-mania in the Mile High City if Aleksej Pokuševski happens to be available when the Nuggets pick at No. 22 in this year’s draft. 

Pokuševski is 7-feet tall but has the skills of a swingman and shown glimpses of his vast potential with Olympiacos Piraeus’ B team. Although the forward has only played in three games with the senior team, it’s his work in the Greek A2 that has intrigued NBA scouts. It is the same division where Giannis Antetokounmpo flashed before paving his way to stardom as a member of the Bucks.

Here is more about Pokuševski:

Age: 18
Olympiakos B (Greece)

Position: SF/PF
Height: 7-foot-0
Weight: 201 pounds

 

2019-20 Stats: 
PPG: 9.9
RPG: 7.3
APG: 2.8

BLK: 1.7
FG: 40.0
3PT: 32.1

NBA Comparison: Dragan Bender/ Kristaps Porziņģis

Profile: On a team that epitomizes position-less basketball, Pokuševski could fit right in Denver. As mentioned he’s got great range, speed and agility for a player his size. The key will be patience. Similar to Bol Bol, it might take a year or two of seasoning and conditioning to get him NBA ready as he currently weighs 201 pounds and has played just under 10 minutes of elite-level basketball. If there is a buy-in from both the player and the organization, the Nuggets could have another steal on their hands, if they select the 18-year-old.

Another factor to consider is nationality. Pokuševski is Serbian and has actually been coached by none other than the Nuggets’ superstar center in Nikola Jokić in the national team’s youth program. That connection along with Vlatko Čančar, who hails from neighboring Slovenia, should help Pokuševski in transitioning to Denver.

What they’re saying: 

Positives:

“For a 7-footer, Pokusevski also shows interesting promise, creating for himself off the dribble.  Scoring 0.94 points per dribble jump shot in the half court [68th percentile], his ability to rise and fire with range off of a quick dribble allowed him to play some pick and roll and take advantage of defenders who closed him out aggressively.  He is not especially polished with the ball, but uses some surprisingly advanced moves in the open floor.  Displaying some feel as a passer, he is more content sometimes to move the ball or rise up on the perimeter than attack much smaller defenders inside.” 

-  Synergy, NBA.com.

 Negatives:

“He doesn’t often take over games as much as he should against inferior competition… Doesn’t really have a true position, which for now is uncertain if it will be a negative in this non-positional era … Still needs some work in Pick and Roll situations as the ball handler … It’s more than obvious that he prefers to either Pop Out or make the short roll after he sets a screen … Has major problems finishing through contact.”

NBA Draft.net

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