Evaluating Lefty Mantzoukas Against Ionikos Nikaias

October 23rd, 2021

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Panathinaikos’ 6-9 forward, Lefteris “Lefty” Mantzoukas in an October 18th Greek League game against Ionikos Nikaias, with thanks to YouTube via EPT A.E.  Mantzoukas has not gotten much playing time on a very good Panathinaikos this year, but he had his strongest showing yet with them, as he made two quick threes and he excelled as a shooter and scorer off the bench in their win in that game.  It also provided an opportunity to watch Ionikos’ 6-1 point guard, Iosif Koloveros play, who has been playing fairly well as a shooting combo guard for his team.  Here are my thoughts on how Mantzoukas and others fared in this match, as well as how their games may stack up for the NBA.

Panathinaikos’ 6-9 forward, Lefty Mantzoukas (pictured to the left) excelled as a sharpshooter and scorer off the bench in his team’s October 18th win over Ionikos Nikaias.
Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Lefty Mantzoukas had a good showing in his team’s win over Ionikos Nikaias.  He showed his sharpshooting prowess, and he made smart plays consistently on offense in this game. Mantzoukas did a good job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He excelled at making quick, open spot-up threes, as he made one off of a pick and pop play, and he also made another from way out late in this match.  He also managed to draw free throws by running the floor to catch a long pass, and he made both of them when he was at the foul line.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Mantzoukas is an unselfish player that would make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he will also look to move off the ball on offense.  He also did not turn the ball over once on offense.  On one play when he got the ball in transition though, it seemed as if he had the ball knocked away out of bounds as he didn’t really do a great job of protecting the basketball, but he managed to draw a foul call to get to the free throw line that time. On the downside, Mantzoukas did not grab a single rebound in this match.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  He was able to contest a corner three to force a miss.  On the downside, he still struggled to defend out on the perimeter.  On one play, he got beat off the dribble, and he ended up committing a foul and allowing a score afterwards.

Overall, Lefty Mantzoukas is a mobile, skilled sharpshooter that did a very good job of knocking down spot-up threes.  He is a solid offensive player that has shown that he can play well in a supporting role, but he’ll need to improve his rebounding and defense in the meantime.  If he can get more consistent playing time with Panathinaikos, he could get noticed more by NBA scouts and teams in the future.  He projects to be a second round prospect whenever he decides to enter the draft, and if things break his way, he could end up being an effective role player in the NBA someday.

Iosif Koloveros had a decent showing for Ionikos Nikaias in his team’s loss to Panathinaikos.  He isn’t overwhelmingly athletic, but he was able to make shots and do a satisfactory job of running the team at the point in this game. Koloveros showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  He was able to score on a running floater after driving off of a screen, and he also was adept at drawing fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  On the downside, he also missed on a switch of hands layup on a drive another time.

He also showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  Koloveros particularly was adept at scoring on quick backdoor cuts, and he can use misdirection plays to take advantage of napping defenders.  He also ran in to score on a quick tip-in in traffic after grabbing an offensive rebound. In this game, he was inconsistent in knocking down outside shots.  Also, Koloveros was able to use a quick crossover to make a smooth, step-back mid-range jumper.  On the downside, he missed on both of his spot-up three-point attempts off the catch.

He also showcased decent playmaking skills in this game.  Koloveros showed that he can throw accurate, interior passes to find teammates on the move to set up scores for them.  He is also an unselfish player that will look to pass often, and he can make drive and kick passes to find the open man.  On the downside, there was one play where he dribbled quickly off of a rebound, but he over-dribbled and ran into the defender, as he ended up getting the ball stolen away from him as he fell down to commit the turnover.

Also, Koloveros did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass to haul in boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to push the ball up the court off of defensive rebounds.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, he is an active help defender.  He ran in to swipe a ball away from a post player to get a steal.  He also pounced a loose ball to help his team get another.  He also would tend to fight aggressively through screens to stay with opposing ball handlers.  On the other hand, he would tend to struggle to defend drives, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would be late to get back or to pick up a man, and there was one play where he took a bad angle when defending a screen.

Overall, Iosif Koloveros is an agile, skilled combo guard that can score and pass the basketball.  On the other hand, he’s not an elite athlete, and he will also need to improve his defense.  He’ll need to show NBA teams that he can consistently knock down shots and reliably run the point.  Currently, he may be a borderline second round candidate, and he could have a very good career in international basketball if he doesn’t end up making it to the NBA one day.

Ionikos Nikaias’ 6-5 guard, Nikos Arsenopoulos also had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Panathinaikos.  He is a high-motor player that played hard on both ends of the floor. Arsenopoulos excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He would run the floor to get the ball, and he showed a knack for scoring in transition.  He also managed to draw free throws on a drive in transition after drawing a clear-path foul on an opponent.  On the downside, he struggled to score off the dribble in the half-court, and he also missed on both of his three-point shots.

On the downside, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, he is an unselfish player that would look to get the ball to open teammates.  On the downside, he can be careless with the ball in his hands.  He threw a telegraphed pass that got intercepted.  He also tried to push the ball off of a defensive rebound, but ended up getting the ball stolen away instead.

While he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, he was able to chase down a couple of boards to help his team get a pair of defensive rebounds.   He also played adequate defense in this game.  Arsenopoulos would get his hands on passes to help his team get steals.  He also was able to contest a three as well as defend in the post to force misses.  He also would aggressively fight through screens to stay with opposing ball handlers.  On the other hand, he would sometimes struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, as he wouldn’t always move his feet well.  He also had some trouble guarding bigger opponents in the post.  He also would sometimes over-help in the paint, which would lead his team to give up open three-point shots.

Overall, Nikos Arsenopoulos is a mobile, high-motor swingman that plays very hard on both ends of the floor, and he showed that he can play in the Greek League.  He’ll need to improve his jump shot and take better care of the basketball.  He’ll most likely go undrafted in the NBA draft, but he has the skills to be a reliable role player in international basketball throughout his playing career.

Ionikos Nikaias’ 5-11 point guard, Giorgos Chatzikyriakos was able to dribble left off of a screen to make a three-point shot late in this game.  He missed on a runner another time, and he also committed a reach-in foul late in this match.  He lacks ideal size or athletic gifts, but his ability to knock down shots could make him a prospect to watch sometime in the future.

Panathinaikos’ 2006-born, 6-5 guard, Neoklis Avdalas also played late in this game.  He didn’t take a shot, but he is an unselfish player that will look to pass and will move off the ball.  He is a decent athlete that runs the floor fairly well.  He struggled to defend a screen once, which led his team to allow a three-point basket.  It’s surprising overall that someone as young as Avdalas showed up to play in a Greek League game, and he’ll definitely be a player to watch in the future.  From what I saw, he’s a tall, point forward type of player, and if he develops his jump shot, improves his defense, and keeps growing as an overall player, he could develop into being an NBA draft prospect someday.

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