Oct 12, 2009; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (left) drives past Olympiacos Piraeus forward Kostas Papanikolaou (right) during the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Miller-US PRESSWIRE
Kostas Papanikolaou, 22, visited with representatives of various NBA teams at Eurocamp in Treviso on June 10, including the San Antonio Spurs, according to EuroHoops.net. Papanikolaou forgoed individual work outs and medical tests so he could prepare with his Greek National team for the Olympics.
Draft Express ranks Papanikolaou as the 44th best prospect in this years draft ahead of more heralded second-round prospects Tu Holloway (who has worked out for the Spurs) and Jared Cunningham.
Papanikolaou is unlikely to make a huge impact in the NBA yet, because of his advanced age, is one of the most polished prospects in the draft. He doesn’t do anything particularly well but, conversely, doesn’t do anything badly either. Here’s DX’ take on Papanikolaou:
An average athlete with an excellent feel for the game, good fundamentals, and terrific maturity, Papanikolaou’s profile may not jump off the page on first glance, but his size, defensive prowess, experience and productivity at the highest levels of European basketball make him one of the most intriguing 1990-born international prospects automatically eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft.
Papanikolaou’s best-case scenario, according to DX, is Omri Casspi. His 6’8″ frame allows him to defend small forwards which could be a nice crutch for the Spurs to rely on in the event that Danny Green slips away in restricted free agency.
He’s an average 3-point shooter, converting on 35.2% of shots behind the arc with Olympiacos, but he did make 39% of his catch-and-shoot opportunities. Given the Spurs’ impeccable floor spacing, Papanikolaou will have a lot of time and space to set up and shoot which should help his percentages.