2022 Draft Watch: First Look at Lefteris “Lefty” Mantzoukas

April 15th, 2021

By Alan Lu

6-9 Greek forward, Lefteris “Lefty” Mantzoukas is a prodigious prospect that has excelled in his role overseas at some of the toughest professional leagues this season.  He is a tall sharpshooter that also passes the ball well, and his production at such a young age may make him a coveted prospect for the 2022 draft.  I decided to take the time to watch him play in three games for Promitheas Patras to fully assess his skills. 

He played in a December 8th Eurocup game against Nanterre, as I saw that with thanks to YouTube via Buzzer Beaters.  He also played in a December 16th Eurocup game against Cedevita, also with thanks to YouTube via Buzzer Beaters.  I also decided to watch him play in a Basketball Champions League that he played in two years ago that took place on February 6th, 2019, with thanks to YouTube via Basketball Champions League.  This also was an opportunity to watch various prospects across numerous teams that he played for and against.  Here is my assessment of his skills, as well as my thoughts on where he may currently stack up as a prospect for the NBA.

Panathinaikos’ 6-9 forward, Lefty Mantzoukas played very well in his role for Promitheas Patras, and big things are expected of him for the 2021-22 season, and he could be a potential lottery pick in the 2022 draft.
(Photo:
Lato Klodian/Eurokinissi Sports, via Eurohoops)

Lefteris “Lefty” Mantzoukas is a tall, skilled sharpshooter that possesses very good offensive skills.  He can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also is a solid playmaker that has the court vision to rack up assists.  He is not overwhelmingly athletic, and he will still need to improve his rebounding and defense, but he is a high IQ basketball player whose offensive skills could enable him to go fairly high in the 2022 draft.

Mantzoukas showed a solid ability to knock down spot-up threes off the catch.  He has a fairly quick release, and he especially excelled at making corner threes.  On the other hand, he struggled more to make pull-up threes, and he also tended to miss if he would take them too far from beyond the arc. He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Mantzoukas did a good job of scoring on quick, backdoor cuts to the hoop.   He also ran the floor and caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop layup on the break.

He also managed to use a step-back move to make a fade-away, long two-point shot.  He also was able to split two defenders to score on a finger roll layup on a drive to the basket.  On the downside, he is not super quick, and he tended to struggle to score off the dribble or in the post, and he ended up having his shots blocked a couple of times, although on one occasion, the ball appeared to hit the backboard first before an opponent swatted it, as the opponent had appeared to get away with a goaltend when defending him on the block.

Also, Mantzoukas displayed decent playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that passes the ball well off the dribble, and he can make an assortment of passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates due to possessing solid court vision.  He threw a quick interior pass to a cutter to notch an assist, and he also can make drive and kick passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He also passes the ball well out of the post.  On the downside, sometimes he can struggle to handle the ball when heavily pressured.  There was one occasion where he held the ball when pressured, and he had a ball stolen away from him as he struggled to protect the basketball that time.  He also threw a hasty outlet pass that got intercepted, as he tried to rush throwing the pass on that play.  Also, sometimes there would be long stretches where he would be largely ignored on offense by his teammates, which could be a troubling sign for his development.  

Also, he did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  Mantzoukas showed a willingness to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he can chase down balls to get quick defensive rebounds.  He was able to bring the ball up after getting one defensive board, and sometimes he would tip balls to help his team get others.  There was one occasion where he tried to get a defensive rebound, but he got tied up, and he lost the jump ball to the other team, and he will still need to add strength to be able to wrestle balls away from his opponents on a consistent basis.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Mantzoukas is a fairly active help defender that was able to get back on defense, as he was able to block a shot on the break to a teammate due to possessing solid timing.  He also would contest shots when defending in the post as well as off of drives to force misses due to good positioning.  He also managed to get back on defense, as he successfully drew a charge another time.  Adding to that, he also would successfully challenge jumpers using his length to get stops for his team.  On the other hand, sometimes he would tend to get beat off the dribble by quicker players, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  He also would struggle to get around screens as he wouldn’t fight through them very quickly, and he would be late to get out on shooters, which would put him in compromised situations.  Other times, he would hustle back on defense, which would then lead his team to allow scores in transition.

Overall, Lefty Mantzoukas is a smart, skilled combo forward that can shoot and pass the basketball.  He is a solid offensive player that could be due for a big season next year overseas, but he will also need to improve his rebounding, defense, and overall foot speed in the meantime.  He is a very skilled basketball player, especially for a player his age.  He could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the 2022 draft, and he could project to be a solid role player similar to former Houston Rockets’ forward, Chandler Parsons in the NBA.

Other Prospects:

Nanterre’s 6-8 forward, Ivan Fevrier is an athletic, skilled forward that could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA.
(Photo:
Herve Bellenger/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Nanterre’s Ivan Fevrier is an athletic, energetic combo forward that showed some promise to excel on both ends of the floor in this game.  He is a skilled, versatile player that can play multiple positions, but he generally struggled with his outside shot in this game in his team’s win over Promitheas Patras. Fevrier excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He showed a knack for scoring on quick, backdoor cuts to the hoop.  He also posted up from the high post, and he was able to draw a non-shooting foul upon the catch.  On the downside, while he moves well off the ball and showed a knack for using crafty pump fakes to draw defenders in the air, and he would run off of quick ball screens, he would tend to miss on spot-up threes as well as on a long two, as he struggled to knock down outside shots on offense. 

Also, he displayed satisfactory playmaking skills in this game.  Fevrier is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He was able to pass the ball from the ground to get an assist in transition.  He also can make quick drive and kick passes, as he can push the ball up the court, and has solid court sense to continually find the open man.  He also takes good care of the ball, and he did not commit a single turnover in this match. He also showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  Fevrier would run in and aggressively leap up to help his team get defensive rebounds.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average at best.  Fevrier was able to run in to jump on a dropped pass to get a steal.  He also hustled back to contest a three on the break to force a miss.  He is an active defender that generally showed a solid motor in this game.  Sometimes though, he would be too aggressive defensively.  He over-rotated once in pursuit of a loose ball on a steal attempt, but he ended up out of position as he then trailed his man on a drive to allow the score.  He also can sometimes struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, this was not Ivan Fevrier’s best game, but over the past couple of seasons, he has generally shot the ball fairly well in both France’s top league, the French Jeep Elite, and in the Eurocup.  He is an athletic, energetic forward that could project into a 3 and D role if he makes it to the NBA, and if things break his way, he could end up being an effective rotation player similar to Hollis Thompson in the association.

Virtus Bologna’s 6-4 Italian point guard, Alessandro Pajola is a tough, gritty playmaker that competes relentlessly, and he is a pass-first, table-setter that played fearlessly on both ends of the floor. Pajola is an unselfish player that didn’t take many shots in this game, but in this game, he excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He ran in to score on a quick put back after grabbing an offensive rebound early on.  He also drew free throws on an aggressive cut to the hoop, and he went one for two at the foul line when he was there. On the downside, he struggled to knock down outside shots.  On one play when dribbling off of a screen, he missed on a pull-up three, although he stepped on the line, and it should’ve been counted as him missing on a long two instead.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Pajola will look to pass the ball quite often, and he will frequently look to find open shooters to set up scores for them.  He also used a quick spin move to throw a quick drive and kick pass to notch an assist on the break.  He did a very good job of running the team at the point with the ball in his hands, and he did not turn the ball over once on offense. He also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  Pajola ran in to get an offensive board early on due to making a good hustle play.  He also would tip balls to teammates to help his team get defensive boards.

Also, Pajola played adequate defense in this game.  He ran in to intercept a pass quickly to get a steal.  He also was able to successfully defend on a drive and on a three-point shot to get stops for his team.  On the downside, he would tend to struggle to fight through screens, which would lead him to commit touch fouls.  He also tried to take a charge, but he ended up committing a blocking foul when defending an opposing ball handler instead.

Overall, Alessandro Pajola had a decent showing in his team’s overtime win over Promitheas Patras.  He may be fairly limited as an overall prospect, as he is only an average athlete, and he rarely looks to shoot or score the basketball.  Still, he is a high-motor guard that can reliably run the point, and he also is an aggressive defender.  Currently, he may be an unlikely bet to be drafted, and he will most likely have a solid professional career overseas.  If he does make his way to the NBA, he could end up being a fringe backup point guard in the association.

Promitheas’ 6-10, 2002-born center Georgios Tanoulis is a mobile, skilled big man that can shoot the basketball.  He is a stretch big whose sharpshooting skills came in handy in his team’s blowout loss to Cedevita. Tanoulis is a solid shooter that excelled at knocking down jumpers to provide his team with floor spacing on offense.  He moves fairly well off the ball, as he made an open three off of a pick and pop play, and he also made a quick, spot-up three another time.  Plus, Tanoulis would move off the ball to make long two-point shots in the corner, though he would keep stepping on the line when stationed out there.  Plus, he also scored on a tough, flip layup on an aggressive baseline drive off the glass.

On the other hand, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, he can pass and handle the basketball.  He was able to use a spin move off of a drive, as then found an open shooter to notch an assist.  Tanoulis also can throw solid interior passes as he has fairly solid handles and court vision, as he was able to throw a no-look bounce pass, and he also found a cutter to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He also can pass out of the post.  On the downside, he would also tend to commit careless turnovers.  He set a hard moving screen that led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover.  He also had a ball poked away when posting up, and he also threw a hasty interior pass that got intercepted.  Sometimes he can drop or not always catch passes that get thrown his way, which can lead to team turnovers.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds when he was on the floor, he would chase down balls to get several defensive boards for his team.  Tanoulis was able to save a loose ball from going out of bounds, as he was able to get the ball back to a teammate.  Another time though, he got outmuscled when going for a defensive board, as he then allowed a put back score that time.

Defensively, he consistently struggled at that end when he was on the court.  On one good play, Tanoulis used his length to contest a three-point shot to force a miss.  He also was active defensively, and he showed the willingness to challenge shots around the basket due to possessing decent length and mobility.  On the downside, he would over-help off of his man and double unnecessarily in the post, which would lead him to often be late to rotate back, and it would often lead to scramble situations.  He also tended to get outmuscled when defending in the post, and he also struggled to defend quicker players off the dribble.  He often would sag too far off of his man, which would make it difficult to defend opponents out on the perimeter.

Overall, Georgios Tanoulis is a mobile, skilled big man that showed that he can shoot and score the basketball, but he will need to improve in the other elements of the game.  If he can get consistent playing time next season, he could be a prospect to watch, as he could swiftly move up draft boards in the 2022 draft.

Promitheas Patras’ 6-5, 2005-born guard, Nikolaos Vasileiou also played in his team’s loss to Cedevita.  He is a fairly athletic, skilled guard that can shoot and score the basketball, and he is a prodigious, young sharpshooter that could be a prospect to watch for the 2024 draft. Vasileiou is a very good spot-up shooter, as he was able to make a couple of open threes, and he also was able to move off the ball to quickly score on a corner three late in this game.  He also went coast to coast to score on a switch of hands layup on a quick drive in transition. On the downside, he didn’t take many shots, and he was fairly turnover prone on offense.  While he can handle the basketball, he will need to improve his ability to pass the basketball.  On one play, he threw a hasty entry pass that ended up getting intercepted.

Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, he was able to chase down balls to get a pair of defensive boards, and Vasileiou would tend to push the ball quickly up the floor afterwards. Defensively though, he struggled in this game.  On the bright side, he was active defensively.  On the downside, he would tend to over-help in the paint and then be caught ball watching, which would lead him to be late to rotate back and to allow opponents to score on open threes. Overall, Nikolaos Vasileiou is a mobile, skilled swingman that can shoot and score the basketball, and he also moves fairly well off the ball on offense.  He is playing well in professional basketball at a very early age, and he is a prodigious, skilled young player that could potentially be a lottery pick in the 2024 draft.

Cedevita’s 6-10, 2002-born Slovenian big man, Luka Scuka played fairly well in limited minutes in his team’s win over Promitheas Patras.  Scuka is a good finisher around the basket.  He ran the floor to score on a thunderous dunk on the break.  He also posted up, and he used a drop step move to score on a strong put back over a smaller defender while getting an extra free throw afterwards. He also showed that he can throw solid interior passes, but Scuka also threw an inaccurate interior pass off the dribble that sailed out of bounds, which led him to commit his lone turnover of the game.

Also, Scuka displayed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He is a mobile, high-motor big man that would leap up to aggressively get boards on both ends of the floor.  On the other hand, he also committed an over the back foul when going for an offensive rebound once.  Scuka also defended well in this match.  He deflected a pass to nearly get a steal.  He also rotated to successfully contest a mid-range shot to force a miss.

Overall, Luka Scuka is a solid interior player that can make energetic plays on both ends of the floor.  He is an athletic big man that consistently showed a very good motor, and he is a talented prospect that could be worthy of getting a lot of playing time next season.

Cedevita’s 6-7, 2001-born Slovenian forward, Rok Radovic had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Promitheas Patras.  He is an athletic, energetic player that can make solid hustle plays on both ends of the floor, but he would sometimes miss easy shots around the basket, which would hurt his shooting percentages. Radovic ran the floor to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk early to showcase his athletic gifts in this game.  However, he ended up missing on a powerful dunk later on after catching a long outlet pass.  He also used a drop step after getting the ball another time on the break, but he then had his shot blocked.

He also showed a knack for drawing fouls to get to the free throw line.  Radovic showed a solid first step to get fouled on a quick right-handed drive, and he also drew free throws on a backdoor cut another time.  On the downside, he really struggled to make his free throws.  He also was unable to knock down jumpers from further out, as he missed on a pull-up, mid-range jumper from around the right elbow, as well as on a quick three on a separate possession.

Plus, Radovic showed off solid playmaking skills.  He showed a knack for getting assists on drive and kick plays due to possessing solid mobility and court vision.  He also threw a long outlet pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  On the downside, he stepped out of bounds on a drive, as he would’ve gotten an assist if he hadn’t be called for stepping out on that occasion. Also, Radovic did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would run in and get tough boards on both ends of the floor due to possessing a solid motor and good ball location skills.

He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Radovic blocked a three-point shot due to possessing solid timing.  He also would poke balls away and jump on loose balls to help his team get steals and deflections.  He also showed the strength and footwork to defend out on the perimeter as well as in the post, and he also contested a deep three to force a miss.  On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend quicker players, as he had trouble defending to his right, and he would end up committing fouls as a result.  He also would bite on pump fakes, which would lead him to get beat on moves to allow scores around the basket. Overall, Rok Radovic is an athletic point forward that could project to be a defensive specialist if he makes it to the NBA one day.  He will really need to improve his outside shot, but his ability to facilitate and defend could make him a prospect to keep tabs on in the future.

Nanterre’s 7-2, 2004-born, French center, Victor Wembanyama played sparingly in his team’s lopsided win over Promitheas Patras.  He’s very tall and he is a good athlete that moves well and can defend out on the perimeter.  However, he didn’t really do much of anything in this game, as he basically just ran around and his teammates basically ignored him on offense.

He played only a few minutes, and he didn’t take a single shot on offense, and it seemed as if he never touched the ball on offense in this game.  He did set a solid on-ball screen to help his teammate get an open jump shot.  There was another time where he ran the floor fast up the court, but he then tripped over his own feet and fell, and he then got back up to continue playing. Also, Wembanyama played adequate defense in this game.  On one good play, he rotated to contest a shot on a drive to force a miss.  On the downside, he struggled to fight through a screen, as he was late to defend an opponent on a drive, as he then trailed his man and his team ended up allowing a dunk that time.

Overall, not much can be determined from the very few minutes that he played in his team’s win over Promitheas, but Wembanyama is a tall, athletic big man that could project to be a very good shot blocker and defender at the NBA level if he works hard and continues to progress as an overall player.  More game footage will be need to be seen to fully evaluate his skills, but Wembanyama certainly been able to make an impact at times in high level European basketball, and he could project to be a lottery pick in the 2023 draft.

Promitheas’ 6-5, 2003-born Greek guard, Athanasios Bazinas had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Cedevita.  He excelled at attacking the basket to score and get some assists, but he also was quite turnover prone, and he also struggled defensively in this game. Bazinas excelled at scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop.  He has a solid set of dribble moves, and he showed that he can finish plays using either hand.  He also is a deceptively quick guard that can get past his man to draw fouls upon his defenders. He also managed to score on an open layup off of a drive in transition.  On the downside, Bazinas also missed on a backdoor cut due to rushing, and he also missed on a deep, pull-up three late in this contest.

Also, he displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  Bazinas is a tall playmaker that would often look to find the open man, and he can throw timely passes to set up scores for shooters.  He also can make drive and kick passes, and he also can find his teammates on the move.  On the downside, he would sometimes commit ball-handling turnovers, as he was called for a double dribble, and he also was back-tapped from behind when bringing the ball up to lose it.  He also would tend to throw hasty passes that would go astray, as a couple of them ended up going out of bounds, and he also threw another that got picked off. He also struggled to grab rebounds, but he was able to leap up to get a defensive board once in this game.  On the other hand, he also allowed an opponent to get an offensive rebound over him, as he then fouled him to allow a put back score and a free throw on that occasion.

He also struggled defensively.  For the positives, Bazinas was able to run in to poke a ball away to get a steal, and he was active defensively.  However, he would tend to take bad gambles.  He whiffed on a steal attempt, as his momentum took him out of the play, and his team allowed a score in transition.  He also tended to commit touch fouls when rotating or guarding opposing ball handlers.  Another time, he sagged too far off his man, and he ended up allowing an opponent to score on a corner three.

Overall, Bazinas is a fairly athletic, skilled playmaker that was trusted upon to run the point in the second quarter, and he excelled at scoring on strong drives to the basket.  On the downside, he was quite turnover prone, and he will need to improve his outside shot and defense.  He will still need to spend some time to hone his game and he will need more seasoning overseas, but if he can make these adjustments, he could improve his odds to make it to and succeed in the NBA one day.

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