Thoughts on Tryggvi Hlinason in Another Euroleague Basketball Game

June 13, 2018

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Valencia Basket’s 7-1 Icelandic center, Tryggvi Hlinason, who is currently eligible to be selected for the 2018 NBA Draft.  He is playing in two of the toughest professional basketball leagues from around the world outside the NBA, and his ability to help teams in the interior could make him a potential second round pick on draft day.  I decided to watch him play in a March 30th Euroleague basketball game against Panathinaikos, with thanks to YouTube via Euroleague Basketball.  Here are my thoughts on how well he fared on that day, as well as how his skills may translate into the NBA.

Tryggvi Hlinason is a tall, big-bodied center that has not seen consistent playing time in the Spanish ACB League or in the Euroleague, but he is a tall, seven-footer that is competing in some of the most competitive leagues from around the world.  He will also tend to move off the ball, and he is an active finisher and rebounder around the basket.

Hlinason excels at scoring on hustle plays.  He will set numerous screens for his team, and he will often roll to the hoop, as he can consistently get scores around the basket.  He managed to catch a lob pass to throw down a powerful alley-oop dunk, and he also was able to throw down an emphatic jam later in this game.  He showed a knack for scoring on rolls to the rim, and he also scored on a tip-in off of an offensive rebound due to possessing adequate mobility and solid motor.  However, he did miss on one roll awkwardly off the glass early on as he didn’t quite play under control that time.

On the other hand, he still doesn’t really look to take jumpers, and he will need to improve his low post game.  He did manage to draw a non-shooting foul by catching a high entry pass in traffic after rolling to post up down low.  However, he will need to add more moves to his arsenal.  On one possession, he caught the ball inside after an opponent had allowed an easy catch to him after fronting him, but Hlinason ended up having his shot blocked off the glass.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Hlinason did a good job of passing the basketball, as he would throw good passes out of the post to find the open man.  His best pass was when he was posting up off of an offensive rebound, Hlinason managed to throw a nifty cutter to notch an assist due to possessing good court vision that time.   He also would tend to set good screens for his teammates, as he would enable his teammates to get open shots and drives to the hoop.  He did seem to get away with setting moving screens on some of these plays, but generally his screen-setting abilities helped open up the floor for his team on offense.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Hlinason would actively crash the glass to haul in boards on both ends of the floor, and he would leap up to get plenty of rebounds against Panathinaikos.  But sometimes he would be unable to corral balls or get boards in his area as he would not always get much lift on his jumps, and sometimes he would get boxed out to allow tip-in attempts, including one play where he allowed a tip-in score to Adreian Payne, and he also committed a foul by pushing him in the back to give up the extra free throw.

However, he struggled with his position defense, and at times he appeared to be overmatched.  For the positives, Hlinason was in his comfort zone when defending in the post, as he would sometimes rotate down, and he would tend hold his ground and contest shots to force misses when challenged by the opposing low post player.  He also was able to block a mid-range jump shot, and he also was able deflect a pass that went right back to an opponent.  On a separate possession, he was able to rotate back to his man on a roll to force a miss.

On the other hand, he can tend to make unnecessary rotations, and he also tended to struggle to defend quicker players.  He would sometimes take a long time to get down the court, and he would have trouble getting back on defense, as opponents would drive past him to draw fouls and score buckets in transition.  Hlinason also had trouble defending pick and rolls, and he also can get lost in the coverage, which can lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.  Also, he can tend to unnecessarily rotate to double team a low post player, but he would be allow his own man to draw fouls and get buckets around the hoop.

In general, Tryggvi Hlinason may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft.  He has not received as much playing time as expected, and he may need to improve his conditioning and mobility to improve his odds to succeed at the next level.  But if can expand upon his skill set offensively, improve his position defense, and get more foot speed, Hlinason could potentially end up being an effective role player in the NBA, as he may then develop into a Mark Blount type in the association.