Observing Arnoldas Kulboka

May 10, 2017

By Alan Lu

I recently decided to take the time to watch Baunach Bike-Café’s 19-year old, 6-9 swingman, Arnoldas Kulboka, as he is currently an early-entry candidate for the 2017 NBA Draft.  I have been really trying to find a full game that he played in online, without having much success.  Finally, with thanks to YouTube via Matthew Powell, I saw a game where he played against Jena in a German Pro A League game on February 6th, 2016.  Sure it was last season, but something is better than nothing, and this match may help provide some analysis on what he can potentially do as a player for the NBA.

Arnoldas Kulboka is a smart, skilled offensive player that has a good feel for the game.  He moves well off the ball on offense, and he possesses a very good motor when he is on the floor.  He excels at knocking down jumpers to space the floor, as he can especially make quick open threes off the catch, and he can run off screens to do so.  He also has some low post skills, as he can score on a turnaround hook shot, and he will sprint down the floor that will allow him to get fast break scoring opportunities.

However, Kulboka may not always get enough shots on offense, as he may not always have teammates that will look for him on that end of the floor.  There were numerous times where he was wide open either from beyond the arc or out on the break, but they just would not pass the ball to him, despite Kulboka being one of their best shooters on the team.  Also, he may struggle more to shoot on the move, as he does not possess a great first step, and he may not always be on balance when he looks to take shots off of the dribble.

He also possesses good playmaking skills.  Kulboka is an unselfish player that can do so perhaps to a fault, and he operates almost like a tall point forward when he is on the court.  He can comfortably bring the ball up and push the pace, and he will look to find the open man to set up scores for his teammates.  But he may struggle more to make plays off the dribble in traffic, as he does not possess great speed, which can cause him to struggle to protect the basketball at times.

Plus, he also showed a good ability to rebound the basketball.  Kulboka was especially active on the defensive glass, as he would hustle to haul in boards, as he can leap up to get some, tip balls to help his teammates collect others, and other times may push the ball up the floor afterwards, but he may appear to possess fairly average defensive skills.  For the positives, Kulboka plays with great energy, as he will run hard back on defense, look to cut off penetration on drives to force passes, and he will try to fight through screens.  Also, he once caught an errant pass that was thrown right to him to nab a steal on defense.

On the other hand, Kulboka does not possess elite physical tools or lateral quickness, as he can struggle to guard quicker players when he is on the floor.  He can get beat off the dribble, or be late on his rotations and end up committing fouls as a result.  Sometimes, he may not be fast enough to pick the correct player when his team is on transition defense, which can lead to the opposition to score or get free throws as a result.

Right now, Arnoldas Kulboka is an interesting prospect that could be a find for an NBA team in the 2017 draft.  As this is a deep draft, he may end up being a second round pick if he stays.  Regardless, he could end up being a good pick for an NBA team, as he is a tall shooter that will compete on every play, and he may have the smarts to be an effective role player in this league.

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