Evaluating Goga Bitadze and Kostja Mushidi in an Adriatic League Game

January 14, 2018

By Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to take the time to watch Mega Bemax’s Goga Bitadze and Kostja Mushidi play against Petrol Olimpija that took place on January 5th, with thanks to YouTube via ABA liga j.t.d.   Here are my thoughts on how they fared in that game on that particular day.

Mega Bemax’s 6-11 center, Goga Bitadze had a good showing in his team’s win over Petrol Olimpija.  He excelled as a scorer in the paint, and he also rebounded and defended well when he was on the court.

Bitadze did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays.  He excelled at finishing plays around the basket, as he was able to throw down a dunk once after catching a bounce pass.  He also showed a solid ability to draw fouls after getting the ball on rolls to the rim.  He also did a fairly good job of scoring in the post.  Bitadze showed a solid ability to draw fouls on his opponents, though he also missed on a turnaround jumper once.  Plus, he showed an adequate ability to score on drives to the basket.  On one play, he drove to the hoop before stopping, and he pivoted to score on a turnaround jump hook.  However, he also missed another time after displaying awkward footwork to get to the basket.

Plus, he also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Bitadze is an unselfish player that can make passes from the post to find the open man, and he also can hit the cutter.  Plus, he will set numerous on-ball screens, and he can free up his teammates to set up scores for them.  However, sometimes he may struggle to protect the basketball, as he can get the ball ripped away from him when posting up, though his teammates also didn’t tell him that a double team was coming on offense.  Another time, he didn’t look for the ball when rolling to the rim, which led his team to commit another turnover.

He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  Bitadze would leap up to haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he would also get opponents to foul him sometimes after doing so, but sometimes, he would not always corral balls after getting his hands on them, and every once in a while, he would bobble and lose them to opponents on occasion.  Also, Bitadze played good defense in this game.  He did a good job of blocking shots to prevent opponents from scoring on drives to the basket due to possessing solid positioning, length, and timing to do so.  He would also contest mid-range jumpers, as well as shots off the dribble and in the post to force numerous misses, and he would tend to make crisp rotations.  Plus, he also would hedge on screens and get back to his man in time.

However, sometimes he would be late to rotate on a play, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores on drives to the hoop.  Also, he may give his man too much space to shoot the ball at times, as that can lead him to allow opponents to score on mid-range jumpers.  In general, Goga Bitadze put forth a solid performance in his team’s win over Petrol Olimpija.  He is a skilled big man that can provide a good interior presence for his team on both ends of the floor, but his upside may be limited due to possessing just average athletic gifts.  Still, he could end up being a good value pick for a team in the late first to the second round range whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Mega Bemax’s 6-5 guard, Kostja Mushidi missed a couple of games early in the season, but he is back now to play in the Adriatic League.  However, he has not played nearly as well as he did last year, as there may be concerns if his team rushed him back into the lineup.  He has not looked to miss a step athletically, but he has not been shooting the ball too well so far this year, and he also has struggled significantly on the defensive end.

In this game, Mushidi did a decent job of scoring on hustle plays.  He managed to score off of a backdoor cut once, but another time he missed a floater after running off of a curl cut.

Plus, he showed a decent ability to knock down outside shots.  He had trouble making three-point shots early on, as he tended to miss long-range jumpers off the catch for most of the game, but Mushidi made them count when his team needed him the most, as he was able to make a couple of key corner threes late in the game, including one where he also got fouled that led his team to a four-point play.  As a result of the latter, Mushidi was able to put his team up five, 72-67 after he made the extra free throw.  However, he struggled to score consistently off the dribble.  He did draw free throws once after using a Euro-step move on a drive in transition.  However, Mushidi tended to miss on drives in half-court sets as he would play too fast at times, and he had trouble scoring in traffic. 

Also, Mushidi showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  For the positives, he would make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he also would kick it out to shooters off the dribble.  However, he was inaccurate on some of his passes as he had trouble passing to roll men on the move, and in this game, he ended up having a couple of his passes intercepted.  Another time, he didn’t tell a teammate that a double team was coming in the post, as his teammate ended up getting the ball ripped away from him by an opponent.  In addition, he did not rebound the ball well.  Generally, he did not show good instincts when going for rebounds, and he would not aggressively pursue rebounding opportunities for his team.

He also did not play good defense in this game overall, even though he was able to get a big block for his team late in the contest.   For the positives, Mushidi would actively look to contest shots, and there was one play where he recovered and leapt up high to quickly block a three-point shot emphatically in the corner, as he swatted it out of bounds.  He also managed to deflect a pass, and he would look to get back on defense to prevent his opponents from scoring in transition.

However, he will need to improve his position defense.  Mushidi had trouble defending drives as he would struggle to stay in front of his man, and this led his team to allow numerous scores.  He even slipped a couple of times after opponents would use dribble moves on him, as he did not show great lateral quickness when defending his man.  As a result, he also ended up allowing opponents to score on pull-up jumpers.  In addition, a couple of times, he would be late to rotate, as he would allow opponents to score on jump shots.

Overall, Kostja Mushidi did not have a great game, and while he seems to be fully recovered to play athletically after missing time early in the season, it appears that his team may have rushed him back.   Mushidi has not shot the ball very well in the Adriatic League so far, and he seems to be a step slow defensively this season.  He will need to improve upon his weaknesses as well as on the finer points of the game.  Right now, he may have enough upside to still end up being a second round pick as a draft and stash candidate for an NBA team, but his lack of progression in his overall game has been disappointing right now.

Other Notes:

I was not actively watching other draft-eligible prospects that played in this game, but one player that caught my eye was Mega Bemax’s 6-7, 1996-born forward, Aleksandar Lazic from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He is a good athlete that can make a lot of solid, high motor plays on the court, and he showed off a diverse skill set offensively.  Lazic was able to make a three off the catch, and he also ran the floor as a trailer in transition to score on an emphatic dunk on the break.  Plus, he also made a nice hustle play by making an impressive chase own block to stop an opponent from scoring on a drive in transition.

Overall, he has not shot the ball well at all in the Adriatic League this year, but it may be possible that he could end up being a late second round pick as a draft and stash candidate, as an NBA team could take a chance on him as he possesses good athleticism and motor when he was on the court.

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