2019 NBA Draft Profile: Alen Smailagic
Alen Smailagic is an unheralded big man who emerged out of relative obscurity to put together a solid season as the youngest player in G-League history. He spent the early part of his career with KK Beko, a club in the Serbian 3rd Division, but did make an appearance at the 2016 FIBA U16 European Championship averaging 5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Smailagic’s most impressive showing prior to his move to Santa Cruz came in the Serbian U19 League where he averaged 21.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game last season before being selected with the 4th overall pick in the G-League draft. Scoring 8.9 points and 4 rebounds per game off the bench, the Belgrade native did not look out of place against players often 5 or more years his senior.
- Has good size for a center listed at 6’10 with a 215-pound frame that could still continue to improve. Not an especially imposing athlete but has impressive coordination for his size and a nice combination of mobility and strength.
- Displayed a fairly impressive skill level as a rookie in the G-League doing his best work as a finisher, but also showing some promise as a floor spacer - flashing the ability to handle the ball a bit, and making some crafty, tenacious plays on the low block. Did not see extensive minutes due to foul trouble but ranked as Santa Cruz’s second best per-minute scorer playing a much larger offensive role than his statistics suggest.
- Uniquely capable young big man offensively. Can play above the rim on the move or with space to gather, but also flashes the ability to use convincing ball fakes on the perimeter, attack closeouts off the bounce, and then finish with creativity and footwork inside. Has nice instincts around the rim offensively. Maintains his pivot foot intelligently and reads caroms well crashing the glass. 56% of his shots in the half court last season came in finishing situations which he converted for 1.303 points per shot around the rim in the half court [79th percentile].
- Not quite as adept at scoring over defenders averaging 0.805 points per Post Up possession [28th percentile]. Tossed in some hooks and turnaround jumpers, but is more comfortable seeking out angles on the move than creating one-on-one against long, physical defenders.
- Has a lot of room to improve as a jump shooter. Mechanics are promising, but scored 0.605 points per perimeter attempt in the half court [7th percentile].
- Took the ball coast to coast after pulling down defensive rebounds last season and showed flashes of passing ability. Provided a fascinating litmus test for what a young international player can accomplish in the G-League.
- Dilligent area rebounder who flashes some playmaking instincts defensively. Not especially versatile or disciplined, but has nice timing contesting shots inside and scrapping for the ball. Saw his playing time limited at times by foul trouble.
- Allowed 0.790 points per Isolation possession [56th percentile] showing good intensity to make up for the speed he conceded when defending perimeter players.