Evaluating Alberto Abalde

May 20, 2017

By Alan Lu

This time around, I decided to set out to watch Joventut’s Alberto Abalde, a 6-7, 1995-born swingman that plays in one of the top professional leagues overseas in the Spanish ACB League.  He has been rising up draft boards as of late, and he has been getting some mention as a possible second round pick for the upcoming draft.

I decided to watch two games that he played in, as I saw him play against Real Madrid on January 15th courtesy of YouTube via Mickey Mickeal.  In the second game, I viewed a March 19th game that split it up into the 1st and 2nd halves, as that can also be seen on YouTube via BRD33.  Here are my thoughts on how Abalde fared in these matches, as well as how he may rate as a prospect for the NBA.

Alberto Abalde is a fairly good scorer off the dribble.  He is a crafty player that plays patiently, and he can maneuver his way to the hoop to garner scores and free throws for his team.  He once did so to score on a reverse layup, and he can draw numerous fouls upon opposing defenders.  He possesses an adequate first step to the hoop, but sometimes he may drive wildly in traffic that may lead him to miss shots or commit turnovers.

He also excels at scoring on the move.  Abalde will make smart, quick backdoor cuts to the basket, as he can catch his defenders napping to receive the ball and get plenty of scores around the hoop afterwards.  Also, he will run the floor to get open for transition scoring opportunities.  However, he will need to improve his low post scoring skills, as he can struggle to find his shooting touch or score when he is on the block.

Also, he may be a decent shooter from all over the floor.  For the positives, Abalde can knock down plenty of mid-range jumpers, and he also can make a three-point shot on occasion.  He can quickly run off screens to make a long two off the catch, and he also can make jumpers both off the catch or dribble.  Also, he can make spot-up threes from downtown.  However, Abalde does not take enough outside shots, as he may tend to be too reluctant to shoot the basketball from beyond the arc.

Plus, he also possesses decent playmaking skills.  Abalde is a very unselfish player that will look to make the extra pass, as he can overdo it to a fault.  He will keep the basketball moving, and he can often find shooters as well as hit a cutter on occasion to set up scores for his teammates.  He will also usually push the ball up the floor off of defensive rebounds, and he will also set screens for his teammates every once in a while.  However, Abalde can occasionally be turnover prone, as he may shuffle his feet on drives to the hoop at times, and he also can be inaccurate with his passing.  He also may possess a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  Abalde can haul in his fair share of boards on the defensive end of the floor, and sometimes he can get them off of tap outs.

Abalde may also be a fairly good defensive player.  He is an instinctive player that has quick hands, as he can knock balls away from opposing ball handlers and find loose balls to get steals for his team.  Also, he can ably defend bigger players in the post, as he will hold his ground to force misses, and he also actively fight through screens aggressively to get back to his man.

However, he does not possess elite physical tools.  Abalde may struggle to guard quicker players, as he can get beat off the dribble, which can lead him to commit fouls or for his team to allow scores.  Also, he can be quite foul prone on occasion, as he may commit reach-in fouls due to over-aggressiveness.  Sometimes, he would over help in the paint, but his opponents would tend to miss shots from beyond the arc regardless.

In general, Alberto Abalde is a skilled swingman that has been a pivotal role player for his team in the Spanish ACB League.  On the other hand, he may not be outstanding at any one particular skill, nor does he possess elite athleticism.

Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft.  If he does end up in the NBA, he may be asked to be a shooting specialist in the league, but he will need to be more willing to take outside shots and prove that he can guard upper echelon players at that level.

Other Notes:

Also, in the January 15th game that was played between Joventut and Real Madrid, I was able to watch Luka Doncic, a 6-7 point forward that could be a potential top 5 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.  On the downside, he did not have a great game as he did not particularly shoot or score well on that day, but it did provide an opportunity to get a glimpse of what he might do at the NBA level despite that.

Luka Doncic is a smart, skilled playmaker that has very good poise and court vision.  He can make an assortment of passes, as he can hit cutters, find his teammates off the dribble, and he also will often make accurate passes to set up scores for them.  The fact that he is essentially trusted to bring the ball up and run the point is a good thing for him, as he does great work with the basketball in his hands, but sometimes he does not always protect the basketball, as he may occasionally get it poked away on drives to commit some turnovers.

Offensively, Doncic is a pass-first player that will look to set up the offense for his team first.  But when he does look to score, he may opt to take threes from beyond the arc.  Sometimes he may take them off the catch, other times he may do so off the dribble.  In addition, he also can draw fouls when he posts up, and he has very good speed to draw numerous fouls when he pushes the ball the floor on the break, but Doncic does not always shoot the basketball very often, as he will need to shoot the ball with more confidence.

He also is a good rebounder.  He will leap up to haul in defensive boards for his team, and he will usually look to push the pace to set up either early offense or scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates on the break.  He also may be a decent defensive player.  Doncic is not an explosive athlete, but he has good speed and adequate agility, and he is an active defender that can trap opposing ball handlers to get them to commit ball handling turnovers.  Also, he is a physical defender that can force his opponents to make difficult passes, though in the NBA they may not let him get away with using nearly as much physical contact on the defensive end.  But sometimes, he can be prone to committing touch fouls on occasion.

Right now, Luka Doncic is a smart, skilled basketball player that may be quite polished for a player his age, as that may bode well for him as a prospect for the NBA.  On the downside, he may not possess elite athletic gifts, but he could end up being a good player in this league.  I have not seen him play often, but based on the game film I just saw, Doncic could end up being a solid complementary player in the association, as he could be like a rich man’s Mike Miller in the NBA.

Also, I was able to see Anthony Randolph play a little bit, as he suited up for Real Madrid.  He is a very athletic big man that was known for his shot blocking and defense in the NBA, and he still showed those skills when he was on the floor against Joventut, but the most impressive thing is that he has now added a reliable jump shot.  On one play, Randolph faded to the corner to knock down a three from beyond the arc.  With Randolph now being able to shoot the basketball, perhaps NBA teams should give him a shot to come back in this league, as his shooting skills, shot blocking ability, and defensive prowess could help a team’s bench at that level.

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