Assessing Omer Netzipoglou in a Greek League Basketball Game

May 25th, 2024

By Alan Lu

This time around, I wanted to take the time to watch AEK Athens’ 6-5 guard, Omer Netzipoglou play in a Greek League basketball game, and I was able to watch him play in a February 12th game against Panathinaikos, with thanks to YouTube via EPT A.E.  He has flown under the radar as a draft prospect, but he’s been shooting the three-ball very well in the Greek League and I wanted to get a chance to assess his skills.  It was also another opportunity to watch Panathinaikos’ forward, Lefteris “Lefty” Mantzoukas play.  Here are my thoughts on how both fared in this game.

Omer Netzipoglou (pictured with the ball in his hands) is an agile, skilled guard that can shoot, defend, and make team plays, as he could project to be a solid role player in the NBA. (Photo: FIBA.basketball)

Omer Netzipoglou had a fairly solid showing in his team’s loss to Panathinaikos.  Despite not actually shooting as well as expected in this game, he showed that he is an athletic, high-motor swingman that can defend, and he also was able to make some solid plays on the offensive end.

Netzipoglou did an adequate job of knocking down outside shots in this game.  On one play, he drove in from the baseline and kicked it out to a shooter while he continued to run to the corner, and Netzipoglou was able to get the ball back to make an open corner three to show his potential to develop as a movement shooter.  On the other hand, he missed on two other three-point attempts from beyond the arc.

He also showed that he can score on hustle plays.  He was able to quickly jump a pass to get a steal, which enabled Netzipoglou to drive up court to score on a high-flying dunk.  On the downside, he struggled to score off the dribble, and he would take tough, contested shots in traffic that would lead to misses.  He missed on a contested running floater, and he also missed on a contested shot another time.

He also showcased satisfactory playmaking skills.  Netzipoglou was able to dribble off of an offensive rebound and pass out of a double team to find an open man in the paint to notch an assist.  He also can push the ball up court, and he generally excelled at making passes off the dribble and in transition to find open teammates.  However, there was one play where he dribbled for too long and ended up getting the ball stolen away from him to commit a turnover once.

Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, Netzipoglou was able to chase down a ball to get an offensive rebound early on.  Defense is where he made his biggest impact in this game, and Netzipoglou defended very well in this game.  He is a quick guard that has a relentless motor and good recovery speed, and he is a scrappy, pesky defender that was able to make numerous plays to help his team on the defensive end.  Netzipoglou did a great job of fighting through screens to stay with his man, and he would get his hands on passes and poke balls away to get steals.  He has quick feet to guard his man on and off the ball and can make quick rotations, and he would find ways to cut off penetration and pressure opposing ball handlers, which enabled him to force his opponents to commit a lot of turnovers.  On the downside, he would sometimes shade too far in one direction, as he would sometimes get beat off the dribble or off cuts to allow scores.  His very aggressive defensive style would also sometimes lead him to wind out of position and he ended up committing a couple of reach-in fouls as a result.

Overall, Omer Netzipoglou played fairly well, as he seemed to make a much bigger impact than the box score suggested in this game.  He played very good defense, and he also showed that he can knock down outside shots and score on the break.  He also shot the ball well in the Greek League this season.  In general, he is a fairly athletic, high-motor guard that would project into a 3 and D role in the NBA.  He’s flown under the radar as a draft prospect, and it’s unknown as to how interested he would play in the NBA, but he is a gritty combo guard that could end up being a solid role player similar to former Miami Heat guard, Tyler Johnson in the association.

Other Notes:

Panathinaikos’ 6-9 forward, Lefteris “Lefty” Mantzoukas also played in the fourth quarter of this game.  While he was held scoreless, he made some solid plays when he was on the court as he showed that he can pass and defend in games.

Mantzoukas was able to run to the corner off the ball after making a quick drive and kick pass, but he ended up missing a corner three afterwards despite making a nice movement to run to the open area.  He also was able to get a technical free throw, but he also missed when he was at the foul line.

He also showcased satisfactory playmaking skills.  Mantzoukas drove up court and threw a nice touch pass to find a teammate on the break to notch an assist.  He also was able to make a drive and kick pass to find the open man another time.  On one play though, he dribbled in from the high post, but help defenders blitzed him as he ended up getting the ball stolen away from him to commit a turnover. 

In this game, he did not grab a rebound when he was on the floor.  He also defended well.  Mantzoukas was able to contest a shot off of a drive to force a miss.  He also rotated to the post to block a shot another time.  When defending an opposing ball handler out on the perimeter, he was able to jump on a loose ball to help his team get a steal.  On one play though, he was late to get back and was a bit sluggish to do so, as his team gave up a dunk in transition.

Overall, Mantzoukas had a decent showing in the fourth quarter despite not having scored, as he made solid team plays on both ends of the floor.  He showcased the potential to develop as a movement shooter, and he also passed and defended well.  He also shot the ball well in the Greek League this season in limited minutes.  Though he may not be an elite athlete, Mantzoukas has the skills to project well into a 3 and D role, as he tends to make sound plays on both ends of the floor, and he could be a solid second round pick for an NBA team in the 2025 draft.

All in all, those are my thoughts on how Netzipoglou and Mantzoukas fared, as well as how their games may stack up as prospects for the NBA.  Thanks for reading.

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