Analyzing Frank Ntilikina, Kostja Mushidi, and Others in a Basketball Champions League Game

November 26, 2016

by Alan Lu

Over the weekend, I decided to scour the web to find a way to watch 6-5 point guard, Frank Ntilikina play in a full basketball game.  I was able to find something interesting, as his team, Strasbourg IG played against a couple of other top prospects that were on KK Mega Vizura on November 16th, as I was able to access through YouTube via Basketball Champions League.  Without further ado, here are my observations on how Frank Ntilikina, Kostja MushidiAlpha KabaOgnjen Jaramaz, and Vlatko Cancar played on that day.

6-5 French point guard, Frank Ntilikina put on a terrific performance for his team in a win over KK Mega Vizura.  He showed a solid ability to knock down jump shots, ran the team effectively, smartly and with poise, and he played great defense to help lead Strasbourg to victory.

Ntilikina showcased solid outside shooting skills.  He does a very good job of making threes off the catch after running off of screens, and he will also move off the ball to get himself open.  Plus, he also was able to draw free throws on another long range, shot attempt due to his ability to knock down threes off the catch.  He also showed a fairly good ability to attack the basket to garner scores.  Ntilikina did not appear to do so often, but he was able to draw free throws on a speedy drive in transition.

He also displayed strong playmaking skills.  Ntilikina showed great court vision as he played with patience, and he was able to find a lot of open teammates throughout the game.  He excelled at finding shooters on the break, and he also made solid interior passes to set up scores for his teammates.  His only miscue was when he threw a hastily thrown pass off of a drive on the break to commit his lone turnover.

Plus, he also showed a good ability to rebound the basketball.  Ntilikina was able to get an offensive rebound off of a long miss once, and he also accumulated a defensive board off of a tap out.  He also was able to push the ball up the floor off of a defensive rebound on a separate occasion.  But, his best play on the boards may have been when he was able to box out a significantly taller opponent to help his teammate come away with a defensive rebound.

Ntilikina played great defense in this game.  He did a terrific job of knocking balls away from opponents to help his team force turnovers, and come away with steals.  His best steal was when he ran quickly back on defense to prevent an opponent from getting out on the break, fought hard through a screen, ripped a ball away from the opposing ball handler to get the steal, and created a fast break scoring opportunity for his team afterwards.  Plus, Ntilikina was also very active in playing passing lanes as well as defending opponents off the dribble, and he also was able to block a shot off of a drive on the break.

He did have a couple of minor miscues on the defensive end, though.  He was called for a couple of touch fouls, as he would be caught reaching in on occasion in an effort to get his team more steals.  In general, Frank Ntilikina put forth an outstanding performance for his team, and the young 6-5 point guard easily displayed why he is considered to be pretty much a lock for the lottery.  He is a smart, talented floor general that plays a cerebral game, and with the way he played on the court, Ntilikina could end up being a potential All-Star in the NBA in the mold of being a Deron Williams type in the association.

For KK Mega Vizura’s 6-5 combo guard Kostja Mushidi, he put forth an uneven performance as he had his highs and lows throughout the game.  Mushidi showed a decent ability to knock down outside shots.  He has good form on his shot, and he was able to make a couple of threes off the catch.  However, he struggled more when attempting pull-up jumpers from beyond the arc, as he even air-balled one late in the game after using a step back move to hoist one up.

He also excelled at scoring on the move.  His strongest play on offense may have been when he ran the floor to throw down a dunk on the break.  Also, Mushidi was able to get a put back score off of an offensive rebound, but he also struggled to score consistently off the dribble in the half court.  In this game, Mushidi tended to miss shots in traffic when he was in the paint, as he would force up difficult shots around the basket.

He showed some quickness in getting to the hoop, but he appeared to lack an elite first step to get there consistently, as he ended up passing out of drives on occasion.  But, there was one play where he was able to draw free throws after one strong drive to the basket.  Mushidi displayed below average playmaking skills.  For the positives, he was able to find the open man to set up scoring chances, as he would do so off the dribble at times.

However, he tended to commit far too many turnovers.  Mushidi tended to do way too much off the dribble in this game.  Sometimes, he would lose his balance and the basketball.  Other times, he would get the ball knocked away from him.  Another time, he used a quick spin move, only to get called for traveling due to shuffling his pivot feet.  Another one of his turnovers didn’t have anything to do with what he was attempting to do off the dribble.  Rather, it was an errant pass that he threw that got deflected a couple of times before resulting in a turnover for his team.

Mushidi did not make much of an impact on the boards, but he was able to come down with a rebound on both ends of the floor.  The defensive side of the ball though, is where Mushidi made his impact felt the most.  He was quite active on defense, as he was able to get a steal off of an errant pass, and he would actively play passing lanes, the jump shot, and he would also get back on defense.

However, his best play of the game was when he leapt up really high to make a ferocious shot block from behind on a cutter that attempted a shot around the basket, as Mushidi displayed terrific leaping skills and timing to do so.

But, he did have some miscues on this end, though.  His lack of physical strength in guarding players showed on a couple of possessions, where he struggled to fight through a screen as his team allowed a three, and he got backed down by a bigger opponent in the post another time to allow a score in the paint.  On a separate occasion, he committed a foul on a drive as he got beat off the dribble.

In general, Kostja Mushidi had an up and down game, as he was able to sporadically have his good moments at times.  Right now, his defense appears to be ahead of his offense.  But for now, he will need to continue to improve in the finer points of the game, as he must work on being a more efficient scorer and cut down on turnovers.  Currently, he may project to be a late first to second round candidate for the upcoming draft.

For 6-10 center Alpha Kaba, his performance was also a mixed bag as his team lost to Strasbourg.  He struggled to make shots from the field, but he made good passes, was a presence defensively, and rebounded the ball very well in this game.

On offense, Kaba struggled to finish plays around the basket consistently.  He was quite active in moving off the ball though, as he would be a roll man, and he would also grab offensive rebounds.  However, Kaba tended to rush his shots, as he would be prone to missing shots wildly around the hoop.  He did show a willingness to shoot threes, but he missed both shots off the catch despite being open.

He was able to draw a couple of free throws, though.  Kaba drew one on a roll to the rim, and another on a drive to the hoop.  On offense, he appeared to be at his best when he would take opposing big men off the dribble, but he rarely looked to do so in this game.  Kaba did showcase adequate playmaking skills.  He showed a decent ability to find open shooters, and he also was able to throw a quick outlet pass after getting a steal for his team.  He did commit one turnover though, when he was called for setting a moving screen on offense.

Kaba displayed strong rebounding skills.  He did a terrific job on the glass, as he would chase down a ball to get an offensive rebound, tip balls to his teammates, leap up high to come away with defensive boards, and he also grabbed a strong one-handed defensive rebound.  But sometimes, he would forget to block out, which would allow his opponents to score afterwards.

He also displayed decent defensive skills.  Kaba has very good hands, and he would play passing lanes to deflect or intercept passes to help his team come away with steals.  He also did a very good job of defending in the post, as he would be in position to help his team get stops.

However, he did run into some foul trouble, and he also struggled to defend screens.  Kaba had a tendency to commit touch fouls in this game, especially when he would be caught out of position defensively.  But, he also tended to hang back often when defending screens, as he would leave his guards having to fight through screens on their own, which would risk his team giving up wide open jumpers to the opposition.

In general, Alpha Kaba had an up and down game, but he did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He will need to work on being a more consistent offensive performer, as well as on the finer points of defense, but Kaba projects to be a second round pick for the upcoming draft.

6-4 combo guard, Ognjen Jaramaz had a fairly good showing for KK Mega Vizura in a loss to Strasbourg.  In this game, he showed a strong ability to attack the basket to garner scores, adequate playmaking skills, and the willingness to get after it on the glass.

He displayed a terrific ability to score off the dribble.  He has a great first step, as he can consistently use his foot speed and ball handling skills to regularly get past his man, and he also has great strength, body control, and shooting touch to finish plays around the basket to get many scores and free throws for his team, but he will need to improve his ability to knock down jumpers.  For the positives, he was able to make a step back, pull-up three from around NBA range.  However, he tended to miss numerous spot up and pull-up threes, as he had trouble finding his rhythm from long distance.

Jaramaz also displayed good playmaking skills.  He did a very good job of finding open teammates off the dribble to set up a couple of scores for them.  But he did have a tendency to grab opponents’ jerseys, which resulted in him being called for touch fouls, regardless if he was on offense or defense.  He showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  He was quite active on the glass, as he would leap up to get a quick offensive rebound, dive on the floor to attempt to get another, and he also was able to collect a couple of defensive boards for his team, but he may need to improve on defense.

For the positives, Jaramaz was able to contest a three to force miss.  However, he gave up too much space another time to allow an opponent to score on a three-point shot.  On a separate occasion, he was called for a foul when defending a screen due to grabbing the opponent’s jersey.

In general, Ognjen Jaramaz had a solid game, as he primarily showed a strong ability to score off the dribble.  He also displayed good scoring and playmaking skills, as well as adequate athletic ability.  With his skill set, he could end up being a second round pick in 2017.

One player that put on an impressive performance was Mega Vizura’s 1997-born, 6-8 forward, Vlatko Cancar.  He showed strong shooting and scoring skills throughout the game, as he primarily excelled at knocking down threes.

He can make threes off the catch, and he also was able to use a step back move to make another one from downtown.  Plus, he also is a threat to score on pick and pop plays, as he was able to make a mid-range jumper on another occasion.

Cancar also was quite active as a finisher around the basket.  he was able to run the floor to score in transition, and he also was able to score another time on a put back, as no one put a body on him on that occasion.

He also displayed good playmaking skills.  He is a solid passer that sees the floor well, and his best assist was when he dribbled off of a screen to find an open man around the basket to set up a score.  But sometimes, Cancar would play a bit too careless at times, which would either result in him committing a turnover, or in him almost doing so.

Right now, Vlatko Cancar does not have much draft buzz, but he is having a strong season overseas for his team.  While he has been overshadowed by his higher profile teammates, he could be a potential second round pick in the future if he continues to play well in professional basketball.