2020 NBA Draft Profile: Aleksej Pokusevski

Aleksej PokusevskiCenter, Olympiakos B (Greece)

Age: 18Height: 7-0Weight: 195

**DISCLAIMER: The following is an aggregate of player analysis from various media outlets and does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Timberwolves.**

Aleksej Pokusevski is one of the most unique players of this year’s NBA Draft given his combination of size, feel and perimeter skill set. He first came onto the scene at the 2018 U17 World Championships in Argentina playing for Serbia. Pokusevski immediately showed that he possesses high basketball IQ to go along with ability to handle the ball and pass at a high level despite his size. Pokusevski kept growing and now stands at 7-feet tall but his ability to control the ball, shoot from deep and run the break hasn’t taken a step back. Pokusevski built a strong resume in FIBA competitions. He never put up fancy statistics because his thin body hasn’t allowed him to be dominant against his peers, but showed how high his upside is if physicality ever catches up to his skill. Pokusevski has carved out a role for himself in the Greek second league playing for Olympiacos’ second team, and even though injuries have kept him off the court for quite some time he has already shown improvement both from a physical and skills standpoint.

Even though the level of 2nd Division in Greece is low, his skills are translatable and a good fit to the modern NBA. For some scouts Pokusevski doesn’t have an NBA position and will most likely be a minus on defense. Even though those question marks are legit, 7-foot bigs with advanced shooting, ball handling, passing and rebounding skills don’t grow on trees.

ESPN/Draft Express (click to read full analysis):

  • Has unique dimensions for a perimeter player, standing more than 7-foot in shoes, with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and 9-foot-1 standing reach. Smooth and fluid for his size. He is the youngest player in this draft class, not turning 19 until late December.
  • Skilled and versatile offensive player. Can make 3-pointers running off screens or pulling up off the dribble. Takes defensive rebounds coast to coast. Attacks closeouts with either hand. Can play pick-and-roll and pass off a live dribble.
  • Effective rebounder who gets in passing lanes and rotates impressively to protect the rim.

Projected role: Mismatch, playmaking 4

--Jonathan Givony

  • Versatile shooting potential: He has good footwork and body control, with a compact release coming off screens and off the dribble; he can rise and fire even with a hand in his face.
  • Nifty passer who can deliver a variety of precise dimes. At 7 feet, he can make passes over the top of the defense in the pick-and-roll that most players can’t.
  • He has good handles for his size, using hesitations, crossovers, and long strides to create separation. His movements are also decisive; there are very few record scratches when he possesses the ball.
  • It’s easy to envision an offensive role for him as a floor spacer and secondary handler in the half court, and as a transition playmaker who rips down rebounds and jump-starts possessions.
  • Potentially a versatile defender if he gets stronger. He has agility and fluidity, and he can swarm smaller opponents with his 7-foot-3 wingspan.
  • Attentive off-ball defender who communicates and jumps passing lanes to deflect passes.

-- Kevin O'Connor