Thoughts on Georgios Kalaitzakis
April 13th, 2020
by Alan Lu
Nevezis’ 6-7, 1999-born guard Georgios Kalaitzakis recently declared to enter the 2020 NBA Draft. Therefore, I decided to take the time to watch him play in an LKL game against Dzukija that took place on September 23rd, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via LKL TV. He played in Lithuania’s top league as this event was the season opener for them, and this was an opportunity to assess his strengths and weaknesses as an overall player. Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.
Georgios Kalaitzakis is an athletic, skilled combo guard that excels at driving to the basket to garner scores, and he is a fairly solid playmaker that can collect assists. He is also a foul-drawing expert that can regularly get to the free throw line, and he has an advanced ability to contort his body in ways that enable him to draw hoards of fouls upon his defenders.
He showed a solid ability to score on strong drives to the basket. Kalaitzakis would drive hard to the rim, and he showed a knack for getting to the free throw line, as he showed an innate ability to hunt for fouls. He also lead the break off of a steal and pushed the pace, and he was able to score on a speedy layup on a drive in transition. Kalaitzakis frequently would get to the free throw line, but unfortunately he also missed plenty of his foul line shots when he was there. He did try to score on another drive on the break, but he appeared to have it blocked that time.
Plus, he also excelled at scoring on backdoor cuts. Kalaitzakis was able to score on a smooth, reverse layup, and he also ran off of a stagger screen to get a score at the rim another time, as he showed a good ability to score on off-ball motion plays.
Kalaitzakis also showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers. He can make open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also ran off the ball to make one early on. He also dribbled to his left to make a pull-up three late in this contest. He can be quite streaky with his jump shot, and he also missed plenty of his long-range shots, as he especially struggled to consistently make pull-up jump shots from beyond the arc.
He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game. Kalaitzakis is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can throw solid passes off the dribble and on the break to set up scoring chances for his teammates. Sometimes though, he may be prone to throwing inaccurate passes that can go astray, and he also was called for traveling on a couple of occasions. One was when he threw a weak pass that he ended up catching himself without having it deflected by anyone else, and he then stumbled upon getting it before falling down with the ball, which led to a turnover. Another play was where he attempted to score on a drive in traffic, but he was called for steps.
Also, Kalaitzakis did a good job of rebounding the basketball. He would tend to collect defensive rebounds, and he would usually push the ball up the floor afterwards to create early offensive opportunities for his team. There was one play where he didn’t box out his man, and he ended up getting outmuscled and allowed an opponent to score on a put back.
He also played decent defense in this game. Kalaitzakis is an active help defender that will go for steals, and he has good length that allows him to successfully challenge shots. He would play passes, as he was able to intercept a couple of balls to get steals, and he has good hands to catch balls thrown his way. He also would use his length to contest shots around the basket to force misses. On the downside, he can tend to be undisciplined defensively. He was called for committing a couple of reach-in fouls, as he can struggle to guard opponents out on the perimeter. Other times, he would over-help in the paint, as he would leave his man open, which would allow opponents to score on open shots.
In general, Georgios Kalaitzakis is an agile, skilled playmaker that possesses solid offensive skills, and he could be an intriguing option for NBA teams to consider in the mid to late second round portion of the 2020 draft. He will need to improve his jump shot and be a more disciplined on-ball defender, but his ability to create his own shot for himself and others can help aid an offense, and he has a knack for getting to the free throw line. He could be a good pick for an NBA team late in the draft, and he could end up being a serviceable role player at the next level, as his game may be similar to former Phoenix Suns’ guard, Tyler Johnson in the association.