Observing Kostas Mitoglou and Georgios Kalaitzakis

June 19, 2018

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the opportunity to watch a couple of prospects on Panathinaikos play in a Greek League March 11th game against Panionios BC.  6-10, 1996-born big man Kostas Mitoglou is available to be selected by NBA teams this year, and 6-6, 1999-born combo guard Georgios Kalaitzakis could be a potential second round pick next year.  The video I was able to see was from YouTube via psaras1908, but they decided to take it down shortly afterwards.  Here are my thoughts on how both of them fared in this game, as well as how their skills may translate to the NBA.

Panathinaikos’ 6-10, 1996-born big man Kostas Mitoglou from Greece had a solid showing in limited playing time when he was on the floor.  He is a skilled, high motor big man that has versatile scoring skills, and he also rebounds the ball well.  He also played good defense in this game, and he was very active at making plays on that end of the floor.

Mitoglou is a good shooter that can effectively space the floor for his team. Against Panionios, he was able to knock down a quick, open spot-up three of a pick and pop play.  He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  After picking off a pass to get a steal late in this game, he managed to drive in transition to score on an emphatic dunk.  He did attempt to score on a wild tip-in attempt after getting an offensive rebound, but he ended up missing.  In this game, he did not always look to take shots, but he was efficient at scoring the basketball when he would hoist them up.

He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Though he did not look to pass often, Mitoglou was able to drive in to throw an interior pass to a big man to set up a scoring chance on one play.  He also managed to bring the ball up successfully off of a defensive board, and he would run hard off of screens on offense.  But there was one play where he lofted up a loopy, up for grabs pass that almost resulted in a turnover, though his teammate was still able to catch the ball that time.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Mitoglou would aggressively look to crash the glass on both ends of the floor, and he would often beat his man to spots to get numerous defensive boards in this game.  Also, he played very good defense.  Mitoglou is a high motor player that made solid defensive plays against Panionios.  Late in this match, he rotated down on a drive to block a shot around the basket.  He also managed to jump a pass to get a steal that later helped him score on a fast break dunk.  Also, he would hold his ground when defending in the post, and he also was able to step out to the three-point line to force a miss.

Kostas Mitoglou is a smart, skilled big man that can help his team in numerous ways.  He is a versatile scorer on offense, and he also is a good rebounder when he is on the floor.  He may only possess average athletic gifts, but he is a high IQ basketball player that could perhaps develop into a reliable contributor at the next level.  While he may be a long shot to be drafted as he has struggled to get consistent playing time on a very good Panathinaikos team, Mitoglou’s skill set could allow him to thrive as a solid role player either overseas or in the NBA, as he could end up being a Matt Bonner type in the association.

Georgios Kalaitzakis is a skilled combo guard that can attack the basket to get scores and assists for his team.  He can hit some tough shots, and he is a tall, mobile playmaker that can play either backcourt position.  Kalaitzakis is quite adept at knocking down pull-up, mid-range jumpers, and he showed a knack for making contested shots when he would take those inside the arc.  He also used a ball fake and a spin move to knock one down late in this contest,

He also showed a fairly good ability to score on drives to the basket.  Though he lacks an elite first step off the dribble, he is a crafty player that possesses a good shooting touch around the mid-range area, and Kalaitzakis was able to drive right off of a screen to score on a floater.  Plus, he also can push the ball quickly up the floor, and he was able to draw a non-shooting foul once.

However, he will need to improve his ability to make threes, as he ended up missing one off the catch, and another off the dribble from long distance.

Also, he displayed good playmaking skills.  Kalaitzakis is a patient, unselfish player that has fairly good court vision, and he can kick the ball to shooters off the dribble to set up scoring chances for them.  But every once in a while, he may have trouble protecting the basketball.  On one drive, he used a spin move, but had it poked away out of bounds to nearly commit a turnover.  He also will likely need to improve his ability to rebound the basketball.  Kalaitzakis only hauled in one board in this game, but he managed to catch an airball, as he was able to push the ball quickly up the floor afterwards.

He will also need to improve his defense.  He can tend to be out of position defensively as he will need to work on his positioning, and he can tend to commit fouls.  On one play, he had trouble staying with his opponent on a cut, and he also bit on a pump fake and ended up fouling his man on a drive.  Another time, he rotated to defend in the post, but ended up committing a foul trying to contest a shot.  On a separate play, he overhelped in the paint, and he was late to rotate, which led his team to allow a three-point basket in transition.

In general, Georgios Kalaitzakis is a skilled combo guard that can both play the point and off the ball, and with more seasoning, he could develop into being an offensively sound player in the NBA.  He is an above average athlete that can make a variety of plays on offense, but he will need to work on his three-point shot and on his defense.  If Kalaitzakis continues to hone his skills, he could end up being selected as a second round stash pick in 2019.  If he can continue develop his skills, he could end up being an effective role player in the NBA in the mold of a Sasha Vujacic type in the association.