Assessing Lucas Dias Silva and George De Paula in an NBB Game

May 15, 2017

By Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to take the time to watch a playoff game that took place in Brazil’s top league, the NBB.  I wanted to assess how much Lucas Dias Silva and George de Paula have progressed this year, as it was an opportunity to see them play in a tough match on the road.  Thanks to YouTube via the NBB, I was able to get a viewing of a May 6th game that took place recently between Paulistano and Franca.  Here are my thoughts on how they fared, as well as how they may rate as prospects for the NBA.

Paulistano’s Lucas Dias Silva is a really skilled big man that can score in a variety of ways.  He has great size and shooting skills to space the floor, he can post up down low, and he can score off of hustle plays.  Plus, he also can be a fill in the blanks type of player, as he has a tendency to make smart basketball plays when he is on the court.

Dias Silva showed a very good ability to knock down threes to space the floor for his team.  He can really make outside shots both off the catch and dribble, and he can knock down contested threes with ease.  Dias Silva also can use a pump fake, as he did so once and managed to side step a defender with a quick dribble to launch a pull-up three to make a basket from downtown.

Also, he is a good scorer in the low post.  Dias Silva has solid footwork, mobility, and shooting touch to score on the block, as he managed to do so off of a fadeaway turnaround jumper once.  Another time, he scored on a two-handed runner towards the hoop, but another time, he once missed on a jump hook after using a pivot move to get his shot up.  Plus, Dias Silva was able to score on hustle plays.  He was quite active on the offensive glass, and he managed to score off of a put back after hauling in an offensive rebound during the middle of the game.

However, he struggled to consistently knock down pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  Dias Silva does not have a great first step, as he can struggle to get past quicker, more athletic defenders, and he had trouble making those types of shots consistently off the dribble.  He did make an open, pull-up mid-range jumper once, though.  Dias Silva also displayed good playmaking skills.  He excels at throwing long, accurate outlet passes on the break, as he did so once to pick up an assist, and nearly collected another.  Plus, he is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he will make the extra pass to put his teammates in position to score.  But sometimes, he may struggle to protect the basketball, as he did so once off of a drive to commit a turnover.

He also showed a fairly good ability to rebound the basketball.  Dias Silva would be in prime spots to garner boards, and other times, he would chase down defensive rebounds to help his team.  He managed to box out an opponent to get one, and he also was able to haul in some tough boards at times.  On a separate occasion, he managed to quickly tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive board in this game.

Dias Silva also showcased good defensive skills.  He is an active help defender that excels at poking balls away from opposing ball handlers to get numerous steals for his team, and he also can get deflections.  Plus, he also does a good job of contesting and altering shots, as he has adequate athleticism to go along with having the length and timing to force numerous misses, and to swat an occasional shot in the paint.  But sometimes, he can struggle to guard opponents out on the perimeter, as he may not always make sound rotations, as this can lead him to commit fouls or towards his team to allow scores as a result.

In general, Lucas Dias Silva is a smart, skilled basketball player that has been very productive for his team overseas in the NBB, as he has been a pivotal player for them in their playoff run.  As he may have a good all-around game, Dias Silva could be a good pick for an NBA team in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft.

Also for Paulistano, George de Paula showed an interesting array of skills in this playoff game against Franca.  Though he did not shoot particularly well on this day, he excelled at getting scores in the paint, and he showed solid playmaking and defensive skills, as well as athletic gifts to help his team to a victory on the road.

De Paula really excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  His best score of the game was when he was moving off the ball before racing in to throw down a thunderous tip slam to score off of a quick offensive rebound.  He also managed to cut to the hoop and received the ball in the post, as he ended up drawing a foul on a drop step move.

He also showed an adequate ability to garner scores off the dribble.  He has a very quick first step to the hoop, and he has great speed and an assortment of ball handling moves that he can use to get buckets and numerous free throws for his team.  De Paula also managed to use a quick ball fake, as he used that and a pivot move to score on a sweeping hook off of a drive once.  But sometimes, he can miss wildly in traffic despite being able to split double teams at will, as he may overtly try to force the issue on occasion, but he struggled to consistently knock down shots when he was on the floor.  De Paula did show a decent ability to make threes, as he was able to make a nifty pull-up three from well beyond the arc midway through this contest.  However, he also tended to hoist up questionable shots, as some of them that he would launch would be contested, and other times he would dribble in place for too long rather than move the basketball.

Plus, De Paula also showed off strong playmaking skills.  He has great speed and quickness that allows him to continually make plays with the ball in his hands, as he can consistently turn the corner off of pick and rolls.  De Paula is a very unselfish player that did a great job of finding open shooters when he was on the floor, and he also would make solid interior passes and outlet passes to set up a numerous scores for his teammates.  De Paula also will push the ball quickly when he brings it up the floor.  He did not commit many turnovers, but he did end up losing the ball once when trying to post up after an opponent used the pull out the chair tactic on him.

He also showed a decent ability to haul in rebounds for his team.  De Paula really capitalized on his lone offensive rebound of this match by throwing down a ferocious dunk immediately afterwards.  Also, he was able to collect his fair share of defensive boards, and he also tipped a ball to a teammate to help his team collect another on a separate occasion.

Also, De Paula showed off solid defensive skills.  He has great length, athletic ability, and instincts that allow him to cover a lot of ground on this end of the floor.  De Paula has very good hands and quickness, as he can get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections, and he also can poke balls away from opposing ball handlers on drives.   Plus, he does a great job of contesting shots on drives to force misses, and he also has the ability swat the occasional shot.  But he did get beat off the dribble once, as this lead him to allow a score around the basket.

In general, George De Paula is an intriguing prospect, as he can play multiple positions including the point, and he may possess considerable upside due to his skill set combined with his vast athletic abilities.  He will still need to improve his jump shot and be a more consistent player in games, but he could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round of the upcoming draft.

Other Notes:

Also in this game, Franca had a prospect that is also automatically eligible to be selected for the 2017 NBA Draft in 6-2 point guard, Alexey Borges.  Though Borges has almost no draft buzz at the moment, he did show off an interesting set of skills that may suggest that he could end up having a solid career overseas.  Borges is a very good scorer off the dribble.  Though he does not possess overwhelming athleticism and is of slight build, Borges has a solid first step to the hoop, and he is a quick, shifty guard that has the body control to regularly finish plays in the paint.  He can score on numerous drives to the hoop, and he also managed to make a tough, fall away shot late in the game.

He also may be a decent shooter when he is out on the floor.  Borges may not look to shoot the ball often, but he did a great job of knocking down pull-up mid-range jumpers, as he can even do so off of screens.  He did miss his lone three-point attempt off the catch, but he showed off a good shooting stroke when he looked to hoist up jumpers.

Plus, he also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Borges can throw solid interior passes, as he managed to throw an accurate pass to a roll man off the dribble to set up a dunk for his teammate.  But he did commit one bad turnover, as on one play, he was off-balanced, and he threw ill-advised crosscourt pass to a shooter that ended up getting intercepted by a defender.

However, Borges will need to improve defensively.  He did manage to get a steal once in this game, though.  But he may possess great lateral mobility or quickness, which could hamper his ability to guard quicker players on the floor.  On one particular defensive possession, Borges fell down after an opponent crossed him up to take a pull-up mid-range jumper, rendering him completely unable to defend that shot, even though his opponent ended up missing that time.

In general, Alexey Borges is a cerebral playmaker that has had a really good full season in Brazil’s top professional league, the NBB.  On the downside, he has generated almost zero draft buzz, as he may be very unlikely to be drafted.  On the bright side, perhaps his skills could get him noticed by NBA teams sometime down the road, as he has been one of the more underrated players in his league, and if he does make it to the NBA someday, Borges could end up being a backup point guard in this league.

Another player that caught my eye is Paulistano’s 5-10 point guard, Yago Dos Santos.  He did neither declared nor would have been eligible to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft, as he is a 1999-born international player.  But still, he showed off good offensive skills, and he also made a good play on defense, as he showed solid skills and basketball savvy to help lead his team to a double-digit win over Franca.

Dos Santos is a very good shooter when he is on the floor.  He is a poised playmaker that managed to make a couple of pull-up threes, as he can knock down outside shots with ease.  He also excelled at making sharp interior passes to his teammates, as he possesses good court vision.  Defensively though, he may have been fairly average.  He did make one really solid play on that end of the floor, as Dos Santos managed to read the play by running to leap backwards in order to intercept a crosscourt pass to get a nifty steal for his team.

However, he will need to improve his position defense.  He was at times late on his rotations, which lead him to allow his opponents to score on numerous jumpers.  Another time, he struggled to stay in front of his man, which led him to get beat off the dribble to allow another score.  Dos Santos does not possess elite athleticism nor much length, but his ability to anticipate plays can help him force turnovers on this end of the court.

In all, Yago Dos Santos may be one of the fastest risers in the NBB, and he could end up being an NBA draft prospect sometime in the near future.  His lack of length or elite athleticism may make it tough for him to rate as a first round draft selection, but he may have the smarts, skills, and the intangibles to potentially end up being a second round pick for an NBA team sometime down the road.

Overall, those are my thoughts on how these players fared in this game, as well as how their skills may translate to the NBA.  The Paulistano-Franca match was a fun one to watch, as Franca started by getting off to a considerable lead early in the first quarter, only to watch it disappear as Paulistano continued to chip away at it until they won by double digits.  It was fairly tough to assess De Paula and Dias Silva’s defensive skills, as their team played in a matchup 3-2 zone but assessments were made, nonetheless.  That is all for now, and thank you for reading.