2020 NBA Draft Profile: Aleksej Pokusevski
7’0 | PF | 18.3 | Olympiacos B | 2001
Aleksej Pokusevski is a Serbian forward who has spent his formative years in Greece flashing a unique skill level for a true 7-footer, albeit against a low level of competition. Leaving home to join EuroLeague power Olympiacos back in 2015, Pokusevski had not seen meaningful minutes outside of the junior level prior to this season. Turning in his best showing at last year’s FIBA U18 European Championship averaging 10 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.7 steals, and 4 blocks over 25 minutes per game, he stuffed the stat sheet like few players in recent memory. Playing for Olympiacos’s domestic entry in the Greek 2nd Division—the same league that Giannis Antetokounmpo competed in the year he was drafted—Pokusevski lost much of the season to a knee injury, but showed his upside averaging 10.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.8 blocks over 23.1 minutes per game.
- A lanky 7’0 forward with a skinny 195-pound frame and a 7’3 wingspan, Pokusevski has excellent size to go along with impressive fluidity that helps him cover ground and finish impressively at times. He lacks much strength which is perhaps not especially surprising given he is the youngest player available in the 2020 NBA Draft.
- Granted quite a bit of freedom offensively, Pokusevski did much of his scoring from the perimeter as a floor spacer, but also created his own shot off the dribble, looked to regularly go coast-to-coast in transition, and made some plays utilizing his size in close for one of the three best teams in the 2nd Division. Possessing a budding skill level for a forward of any size, the 18-year old has a unique combination of tools.
- Having some impressive moments defensively contesting shots and getting in the passing lanes, Pokusevski’s length is a clear factor at the levels he has played on in the past, but his ability to fill out his frame and make the most of his tools consistently are a point of interest moving forward.
- Flashing promising shot-making ability, Pokusevski played primarily off the ball last season. Almost two-thirds of his possessions came as a floor spacer or filling lanes in transition. He averaged 1.00 points per catch and shoot jump shot in the half court [48th percentile] and 1.17 points per transition possession [58th percentile] as he’s a developing perimeter threat with impressive natural touch and has a unique combination of mobility and skill to make things happen in space.
- 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.
- Still scratching the surface of the player he could become long term, Pokusevski has intriguing building blocks, but his ability to get stronger, refine his perimeter game, and impose his will on games more consistently is a point of interest.
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- Possessing the length and agility to be a factor blocking shots and getting in the passing lanes, Pokusevski had some dominant stretches at the junior level, but is more aggressive sometimes than others making use of his instincts to be a difference maker.
- Making several spectacular players against inferior competition this season snatching shots out the air to start fast breaks and getting a hand on the ball guarding out towards mid-court, Pokusevski has interesting upside, but will have to get stronger to hold his own at higher levels.