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28 June 2005

Needs to Work On: Overall Skills

Ian Mahinmi

That's the newest Spurs folks. Pronounced "Yawn." He was the only first round draft pick that I had never heard of. Here are the specifics:

-6'-10", 230# 18 year old PF from France

-Former volleyball player who has only played basketball for 4 years

-Strengths (from nbadraft.net): Ian is a real monster in the paint, using his good athleticism and long arms to grab tons of boards ... Reads the ball well off the rim, and even when he doesn't read it, his pure athleticism usually leads to the rebound ... Great length, wingspan and reflexes allow him to grab lots of long rebounds that would bounce right over most other player's heads... Defensively he is a beast ... Incredible reach allows him to alter and/or block shots other players wouldn't even think of contesting ... Has very quick hands, leading to lots of steals and tipped balls ... When Ian does score, many of his baskets come off tip ins and offensive rebounds ... This could account for his high shooting percentage (18-30 at 60% in Zaragoza) ... Very good at establishing position in the paint, reads the play very well when making cuts and calling for the ball ... Gets the ball in good position under the basket drawing lots of fouls ... A solid free throw shooter for a post player (70%) ... In fact, many of the points he scores come from free throws ... Runs the floor very well, and is one of those hustle players coaches always want on their team ... Always goes for the loose ball, blocked shot, or hustle rebound ... Has decent court vision when around the basket ... Foot work is good around the basket, but needs to add some moves to his arsenal ... His potential is considerable.

-Weaknesses (from same): At this point in his basketball career, he is still very raw and what many would call a "project" ... Still very raw offensively .... Has no shot outside of 8-10 feet ... Limited offensive skills, besides rebounding and dunking ... Strength is his biggest question mark right now. He is very good at establishing position down low, but is rarely strong enough to keep it ... Must pout on weight without losing much agility, but he's such a strong athlete, that shouldn't be a problem ... The same goes for rebounding... Must get better at anticipating shots and not try to block everything ...

-R.C. Buford said they would leave him in Europe for a couple of years.

-He was actually at the draft, so evidently he knew he was getting picked.

-My first thought at seeing him: Oh. My. God. Really long arms. Tall and lean. To be honest, I am sort of glad they drafted someone I've never heard of. Makes you think the Spurs found someone no one knew about. He sure looks like he has tremendous upside potential.

That's the only pick the Spurs had. They will certainly bring in some undrafted free agents for summer camp. I hope they take a look at Jawad Williams, the other North Carolina Tar Heel who played a big role in their title. 6'-9" tough guy who can shoot it. Of course there will probably be 15 teams inviting him to camp.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.