Goga Bitadze Can Help A Team Right Away
This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
6’11, 250 lbs
Stats in 2018-19 (multiple teams):
51 games, 29 starts, 223.4 MPG, 13.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.9 BPG, 57.1 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 67.9 FT%
Where he’ll go:
Bitadze will likely be a first-round pick.
Bitadze is an NBA-ready big man who has a lot to offer on both ends of the court. While he’s slow, which could be an issue given the pace of the NBA game today, he projects as an effective, old-school big man at the next level.
To maximize Bitadze, his team should pair him with a dynamic guard who can run the pick and roll. The big man is an excellent screener and he could develop into a pick-and-pop threat. He’s also a good passer, which will give his teammates multiple options coming off picks. As a finisher, Bitadze has multiple tools to go to. He’s good with either hand around the rim and he has some range as well.
On defense, Bitadze could become a great shot-blocker and post defender, but he has trouble when switched onto guards. He’s typically in the right place—Bitadze is a smart player—but his team will need to make sure to put him in the right scheme to maximize his talents. A player like Jusuf Nurkic is a good model for Bitadze: someone who tends to drop back in pick and roll and stay near the paint at all times. Bitadze has the length to make that work.
It’s very hard to project where Bitadze will be taken given the premium that teams put on mobility and potential in the NBA right now. However, he’s the type of player that could play right away on most teams. There aren’t too many other players in the draft who can say that. Teams shouldn’t get too stuck on the idea of Bitadze either—he’s more than a slow, old-school big. With his passing ability and potential to be a legitimate shooter he could offer a lot than teams might think at first glance. There’s a solid history of Euro big men doing very well in the league as well—Bitadze will have a nice career.