PDA

View Full Version : Tbird draft analysis: Kosta Koufos



thunderbird1245
06-01-2008, 02:04 PM
My draft threads continue today with Center Kosta Koufos, from Ohio State University. I chose Koufos to write about next for a variety of factors, including that it is rumored that he has a private workout with the Pacers next week, and because he played in the Big Ten Conference, so I watched him play live more than I did some of the other prospects in the draft.

Koufos has one major strength to his game, which is that he is clearly big enough to handle the rigors of the position he is asked to play. At 7'1, 250 lbs or so, he is one of the biggest kids in the draft, and as the old cliche goes "you cannot teach size." Because of the lack of players with his size in the draft, it is likely that one team will roll the dice and take the 19 year old big man in the mid first round, and hope he pans out to be a legitimate starting post player in the league for years to come.

While I believe that are some players in this draft who are hard to evaluate, and that different evaluators than myself can reasonably disagree, I find it hard to believe that my above statement that Koufos will be drafted in the 10-20 range can legitimately be true. I will spend the next few paragraphs of this article explaining what I believe to be fact, which is that Kosta Koufos just simply can't play. In my coaching vernacular, the blanket statement "he can't play" is about as damning as it gets.

I saw somewhere where a columnist said that (I am paraphrasing here) that "you would think being able to make a layup would be a requirement to be drafted." The player the columnist was referring to was Koufos, who has an alarming lack of ability to finish around the basket, mainly because he is a complete stiff with little lift or power.

Koufos has the ability to make an uncontested face up jumper, I will grant you that. But while Kevin Love is a rare find because he makes CONTESTED SHOTS, Koufos didn't make a tough shot all year that I saw live. When wide open, he can score some.....but then again, so can most of you who are reading this today. Koufos also has the ability to make a simple right hand jump hook, a nice move that will easily be taken away in the NBA by smart defenders, or in extreme cases, a double team.

Koufos won't be able to improve I don't think, because he lacks the athleticism to do so. He has no lift on his turnaround to his other shoulder, and he gets his shot blocked or altered way more than any big kid should. He can't finsih strong with authority, because he is soft and takes forever to gather the ball and go up with with force in traffic. He does have decent hands, so he catches the ball ok, but he doesnt do anything with it once he has it.

He also will likely never develop a countermove, because he has a maddening tendency to always turn to use his right hand. Koufos simply so far as shown no ability to use his left hand inside, which makes him extremely easy to guard, even by smaller guys at the college level. I shudder to think what may happen to him against real competition of players his own size in the NBA. You'd think a player at his age and experience level wouldn't have this issue at this point, but his slow development in this area would lead me as an evaluator to question his aptitude for being taught the game at a much higher level, or his willingness to learn new things.

As a screener, he is fairly effective. He gets decent angles, and his size makes him hard to get through or around. However, his passivity is maddening to me, as he often doesnt really physically "stick" a hard screen when he could, instead he just sometimes brushes people lightly. This is in my view a big reason why the Buckeyes struggled so mightily to score, many of the sets Coach Motta ran ended up being contested jumpers instead of wide open ones, because defenders got through Koufos and his screen attempts too frequently. Koufos also doesnt screen and "open up" to the ball with any quickness, power, or force, instead he just kind of turns around and gawks at the ball. This is particularly a problem when you compare him as a screener to kids like Roy Hibbert and Kevin Love, who are both much better screen setters.

As a passer, Koufos is also weak. He gets stripped alot, because he turns into traffic quite often, again showing the inability to even turn to his other side. All of his passes are completely right handed also, so the opponents are able to "trace the ball" on him much easier than almost any other player I have seen in a long time at this level. Koufos will always be a high turnover guy, because I don't view this is a likely correctable problem. Being able to pass with either hand is a talent and skill I look at in high school players wanting to play college ball, and in younger kids in their development, when I try and "project" them a few years down the road. By 19 or 20, with as much experience and coaching as Koufos has encountered, the fact this weakness still exists is troubling to me.

It is difficult to evaluate Koufos as a decision maker yet, because the fundamentals of actually physically passing the ball effectively still havent been taught to him yet. I worry that will never be learned soon enough to help him survive.

Defensively, Koufos was protected by Coach Thad Motta and his 90% use of a 2-3 zone. This enabled him to always see the ball, and to not have to move from the lane, which is a good thing, because I doubt Koufos has the ability to move well on the perimeter. He will likely be exposed at the next level in any scrren/roll situations, and will struggle to "close out" on shooters very far away from him. In this regard (closing out) the zone defense helped him in my view look better in college than he will be in the pros, because he basically always knew where the shooters would be specifically, that won't be as clear cut at the next level, and the upgrade in competition will likely be the difference between Koufos bothering a shooter, or being too late to matter.

As a help defender, he isn't terrible, as long as he doesnt have to cover much ground. He has really good size, and unlike many centers born and bred in the U.S. culture, when he blocks shots he often keeps them in play rather than sending them into the 3rd row. Again, I think the zone employed very well tactically by Coach Motta makes him look better as a collegian than he will in the NBA, because he could play behind college centers inside and therefore didnt have to fight around them to get in position to recover and help.

Since he won't ever be good enough in my opinion to play many minutes anyway, what he will likely do as a defender is just foul alot and put people on the line. For that reason, his defense won't be a giant liability in 2 or 3 minute bursts I suppose, but would be exposed if he played much longer than that.

Basically what I am saying is (if you havent figured it out by now) is that I do not like Kosta Koufos and his game much at all. Even the things I think he does moderately well I don't think translate well to the NBA style of play, and he clearly isn't ready to contribute in my opinion for at least 2 years, and possibly much longer, IF he is able to greatly improve.

Koufos looks like an end of bench guy to me at best, and probably more likely a Europlayer we'd see every few years in international competition. The best course of action for his career and for the team that drafts him is in my view to stash him overseas for a while and see if he greatly improves, because I right now I don't think he can play at all in the league.

I know guys with his size always seem to hang around the league, bouncing from team to team and collecting checks, defying all logical reason. There are a million big slow white guys like Koufos I could compare him to, like Greg Kite, Greg Dreiling, Jack Haley, and last year's Chicago Bulls draft pick Aaron Gray. But I will go ahead and project Koufos as his closest comparison, to Indianapolis resident Stuart Gray, former 12th man for many NBA teams.

In my view, picking Kosta Koufos would be a major major mistake for Indiana, unless it was purely for payroll purposes, so you could stash him overseas and wouldn't have to have him count against the cap. But in the first round, with the Pacers in dire need of immediate help, that type decision would be borderline criminal.

And just to make this point even more clear, I didnt bother to include in this article just how poor a fit Koufos would be for both Coach O'Brien's up tempo offensive scheme, and his complicated, moving and shifting help defensive scheme.....it just seemed redundant and unnecessary to making my opinion clear on the Ohio State freshman, who I would deem a major mistake by the Pacers brass if selected.

I know others may disagree, and I look forward to hearing people with a rosier and more positive outlook on a potential Pacer player. If drafted by us, I would of course hope to the heavens that my analysis could be in error.

As always, the above is just my opinion.

Tbird

Will Galen
06-01-2008, 03:17 PM
Just to be clear. You don't like him as a Pacer? (grin)

owl
06-01-2008, 03:38 PM
The Pacers already drafted Koufos last year when they drafted Stanko Barac.
What is the Pacers facination with un-athletic, white(ok I said it),slow, big men?
The only one who panned out was Smits. That is not so good after 20 attempts.
I think I might vomit in my mouth if Koufos is drafted.
If you feel you have to do that go after Love or Lopez.
If they are looking to trade down then go after Speights and Lawson.
Maybe it is ruse to confuse other teams.

thunderbird1245
06-01-2008, 05:33 PM
Just to be clear. You don't like him as a Pacer? (grin)


Yes my friend, I believe you could fairly say that I do not like Koufos as a player at all.

I am hoping I will hear from people with different points of view on him, if any actually exist on here. When my evaluation is so far off from what it appears actual professionals think, it makes me question my own thoughts somewhat. Others apparently see much more in Koufos than I do....I just would like to know what it is that I may be missing.

I look at Koufos and I see "stiff". Apparently, at least a few respected talent evaluators are seeing much more than that.

Anthem
06-01-2008, 05:39 PM
Yes my friend, I believe you could fairly say that I do not like Koufos as a player at all.

I am hoping I will hear from people with different points of view on him, if any actually exist on here. When my evaluation is so far off from what it appears actual professionals think, it makes me question my own thoughts somewhat. Others apparently see much more in Koufos than I do....I just would like to know what it is that I may be missing.

I look at Koufos and I see "stiff". Apparently, at least a few respected talent evaluators are seeing much more than that.
They've thought the same things about other guys, and those guys have ended up being stiffs.

You know my thread about 2s becoming point guards? Nobody who's a stiff in college ends up not being a stiff in the NBA.

I don't doubt your analysis a bit.

rexnom
06-01-2008, 05:42 PM
Well then.

Shade
06-01-2008, 06:17 PM
Koufos is just horrible. I would completely flip out if we wasted our pick on him.

Let me put it this way; DJ White would be a better pick at #11 than Koufos. And I'm not even close to joking.

eldubious
06-01-2008, 07:26 PM
This what scares me about Bird, we have 10 possible prospects who the Pacers should consider and they are working out this guy. If Bird picks up Kofus, then he and his secret agenda to find the next "Bird" can skip town.

AesopRockOn
06-01-2008, 07:43 PM
He has no business being in this year's draft. Makes me question its overall quality.

ABADays
06-01-2008, 08:09 PM
tbird - don't we already have those players you described in the first post?

owl
06-01-2008, 08:44 PM
The only reason I can see for then inviting Koufos is if they are planning on moving down
or at least being ready to make that move if someone offers them something they
cannot refuse.

millertime90
06-01-2008, 09:40 PM
Koufos is a solid player. He was a 5* recruit out of high school for a reason. No, he shouldn't be in this year's draft, but with some seasoning, I wouldn't be surprised if he became as good as Lopez.

Shade
06-01-2008, 10:53 PM
Koufos is a solid player. He was a 5* recruit out of high school for a reason. No, he shouldn't be in this year's draft, but with some seasoning, i wouldn't be surprised if he became as good as Lopez.

No, he's crap. I saw enough of him at OSU to say that confidently.

PR07
06-02-2008, 12:21 AM
I think Koufos will be good in time. Remember, big men take a while to develop. From what I've seen of Koufos, there are a lot of tools to work with, especially offensively. He reminds me a lot of Mehmet Okur. Okur didn't look like much of anything with the Pistons (or at least I thought that way). However, with a few seasons of seasoning, he's now one of the better centers in the league with Utah.

rexnom
06-02-2008, 01:20 AM
I don't know if Bird is smart enough for what I'm about to describe but here goes:

It only makes sense to work out everyone in our draft range so as not to hint to any other team who we might pick.

croz24
06-02-2008, 01:59 AM
No, he's crap. I saw enough of him at OSU to say that confidently.

pretty much. he could develop into something down the road, but matt howard of butler tore this guy apart.

Major Cold
06-02-2008, 07:39 AM
Kosta is a stiff. I think his size will intrigue others. But there is very little skill. He has a few tricks with no athleticism to heighten them. With Love he has a multitude of moves and is a Hakeem in comparison to this pup.

Defensively I really don't like him at all.

DisplacedKnick
06-02-2008, 08:51 AM
I dunno if I'd call him a complete stiff. He does show decent footwork in the post and IMO probably could score "a little" in the NBA.

But he's slow, unathletic, will never be able to defend - IMO he's a guy for a team drafting 25 on down to think about - and if they're lucky send him to Europe for a year or two. He probably should be picked in the early 2nd rd based on his combination of size and skill set.

Naptown_Seth
06-02-2008, 10:04 AM
Saving T'bird the writing, a summary:

Koufos - he stinks, don't draft him ;)

And I agree

Let me put it this way; DJ White would be a better pick at #11 than Koufos. And I'm not even close to joking.
Agree on this too.

Let's not judge the draft on him till we see where he's picked. And I will say that this draft lost a few recruits that softened it a bit. For example Collison would have helped the PG depth. It looks like an above average class to me, but nothing like the James/Wade/Melo/Bosh draft or other years like it.

Jonathan
06-02-2008, 12:24 PM
Koufus is not an inside banger, strong rebounder, fierce defender.
He is a shooter & can run the court.
He will have a place in this league but hopefully not with the Pacers.