Observing Carlos Alocen

March 27th, 2020

by Alan Lu

This time around, I decided to watch Zaragoza’s 2000-born point guard, Carlos Alocen from Spain, as I was able to see him play in two Spanish ACB League games today. His team played against Iberostar Tenerife on January 11th, as I was able to see that game with thanks to YouTube via Hank Rearden. They also played against Bilbao Basket on October 19th, as I saw that on YouTube via brdbasket, as it was split up into two separate halves.   Here are my thoughts on how Carlos Alocen played in these games, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Zaragoza's point guard, Carlos Alocen could be a second round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo: E. Casas/El Confidencial, ACB Photo.)
Zaragoza’s 2000-born point guard, Carlos Alocen could be a second round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo: E. Casas/El Confidencial, ACB Photo.)

Carlos Alocen is a solid facilitator that sees the floor well, as his strong court sense can enable him to rack up assists. He does a very good job of throwing timely bounce passes to find open shooters, as he will probe the defense, and he will keep his dribble alive to get his teammates the basketball. He tends to throw sharp interior passes as he can find cutters and roll men on the move to notch assists, and he also can throw solid lob passes to set up scores for his teammates at the rim. He also can throw nifty, no-look passes, and he can fit balls into tight windows to get his teammates prime scoring opportunities. Alocen tends to make very good reads and will throw solid touch passes to get the ball to his teammates. On the downside, he can sometimes play too fast, as sometimes he may throw his passes too hard that can lead to turnovers. Other times, he may struggle to consistently turn the corner off the dribble or when handling the ball off of pick and rolls, as he can be prone to committing a few ball handling and passing turnovers when faced with heavy ball pressure.

He is also a good mid-range shooter. Alocen does a good job of dribbling off of screens, and he can calmly knock down pull-up jumpers from that range to get scores for his team.   He is adept at going to either hand to shoot the ball, and he showed a proficient ability to make mid-range jump shots.

He also did a good job of scoring on aggressive drives to the basket. Alocen is a subtly quick player that can score on strong, left-handed drives to the hoop, and he possesses good acceleration that allows him to get scores at the rim. Sometimes though, he can struggle to get all the way to the basket, and he also seemed to struggle a bit to score in traffic. There was one play where he missed on a runner, and he also missed on a contested, acrobatic layup in traffic another time.

Also, Alocen flashed the ability to knock down outside shots to provide floor spacing for his team. He has a fairly quick release, and he can make deep threes off the catch or dribble. However, he can tend to be too streaky with his jump shot, and he doesn’t always show a great shooting touch when taking shots from beyond the arc.

He also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball. Alocen would tend to run down balls to get defensive boards, and he would usually push the ball up the floor to create scoring opportunities for himself and his team. He also would leap up to tip balls to teammates to help his team get additional defensive rebounds.

On the downside, he can tend to be too unfocused on defense. He especially didn’t defend well in his team’s loss to Iberostar Tenerife, as he frequently showed lapses and also struggled to fight through screens or to defend quicker players. He tended to space out too much in that game, but his teammates also did not talk on defense, so they wouldn’t let him know where screens were coming or who to guard in pick and roll situations, as his team would end up allowing an open man to score on those plays. He did a much better job of defending against Bilbao Basket though, as he showed off significantly improved agility and motor in the latter game. He would fight through screens harder to stay in front of his man, and he also was able to quickly jump passes to get steals and deflections. He shows decent lateral mobility to defend out on the perimeter when he’s focused, and while he may only be an average athlete, Alocen can be an above average defender when he is dialed in on the defensive end.

Overall, Carlos Alocen is a cerebral, skilled playmaker that boasts having solid facilitator skills, but he will need to make more jump shots consistently in games, and he will need to improve his defense. He has a solid basketball IQ, and he has an advanced feel for the game. The fact that he is only 19 and has put up decent numbers in a very tough, Spanish ACB League is impressive in itself.

As for his draft stock, he’s currently rated as a second round prospect for the 2020 draft. His lack of elite physical tools may make it tough for him to crack the first round, but Alocen is a gifted playmaker that just has a knack for getting the basketball to his teammates in spots where they can easily get scores. If he can show that he can consistently create his own shot off the dribble and defend upper-echelon opponents on a consistent basis, he could end up thriving as a role player in the NBA, as he could end up being a similar player to former Seattle SuperSonics point guard, Earl Watson in the association.

Other Notes:

Zaragoza’s 6-8, 2000-born swingman Vit Krejci from the Czech Republic showed some interesting skills in his team’s win over Bilbao Basket. He is an athletic, energetic player that thrives at making hustle plays on both ends of the floor. He was able to run down a long outlet pass to score on an emphatic, one-handed jam on the break. He also was able to weave a pocket pass to a roll man to set up a scoring chance for his teammate another time. He also attempted an open three-point shot late in this game, but he ended up missing that time.

He also played decent defense in this game. Krejci was able to hustle back to block a shot off of a drive in transition to get a stop, as he showed off good leaping ability, timing, and recovery speed to do so. He also will contest threes to force misses, and he also will play passing lanes to get deflections on the defensive end. On the downside, he can be too aggressive at times, as he can be called for reach-in fouls, and he can tend to over-rotate, which can lead him to allow opponents to score on jumpers.

Overall, Vit Krejci played fairly well in this game, and he could project to be a defensive specialist in the NBA. He will need to improve his jump shot and also work to get more consistent playing time in games, but Krejci’s athleticism and potential could perhaps enable him to get selected by an NBA team in the late second round as a stash pick in the association.

Other Notes, Part II:

There were some other players that impressed me in these games, even though the players I will mention are no longer draft eligible. Iberostar Tenerife’s Santiago Yusta excelled as a shooter and scorer in the first game, as he can make spot-up threes, pull-up mid-range jumpers, and he also would run the floor to score on high-flying dunks on the break. He’s a solid athlete that can score the basketball, and he could project to be a 3 and D type of role player in the NBA if an NBA team decides to sign him one day.

Zaragoza’s 6-4 veteran guard, D.J. Seeley from Cal State Fullerton looked to be definitively the best athlete in this game. He is a versatile, skilled scorer that can score on strong drives to the hoop, he can knock down outside shots, and he can effortlessly make tough shots.

Zaragoza’s veteran swingman and former Dallas Mavericks player, Nicolas Brussino is an athletic, versatile scorer that can put up points in a variety of ways, as he can knock down jump shots, score on strong drives to the hoop, and he also is a fairly rangy defender that defended well in both games. To me, he looked to be one of the best athletes in this game, and Brussino definitely has the talent to make his way back to the NBA, as he has the skills to help a team’s rotation in the league.

For Bilbao Basket, Axel Bouteille really excelled at knocking down three-point shots, and he is a very good shooter that can make them off the catch or dribble, and he also managed to use a pump fake to score on a backdoor cut. He showed a good ability to point up points in a hurry, and he also was able to chase down a ball to help his team get a steal.  Bouteille is a very good shooter, and he has the skills to end up making his way to the NBA as a shooting specialist in the association.

Charlotte Hornets’ rights-owned forward, Arnoldas Kulboka played fairly well for Bilbao Basket. He is an unconscious shooter that can quickly make three point shots, and he isn’t afraid to hoist up shots from long distance. Sometimes, he can take shots too quickly, which would lead to some pretty awkward misses. 

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He also drove in and found a teammate ahead on the break to notch an assist, and Kulboka is a versatile, skilled, offensive-minded player that can shoot and pass the basketball.  He’ll need to make more shots consistently in games and prove that he can lock down upper-echelon players on the defensive end, and he may need to spend another year overseas to hone his game, but his size, shooting ability, and athleticism make him a decent candidate for the NBA.

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