Giannis Adetokunbo: Phoenix Suns 2013 NBA Draft profile


If there were a time or a place to toss around clichés in an overt manner, any discussion about Giannis Adetokunbo would be the time and the place. That’s because outside of scouting circles there haven’t been many live eyes on the most mysterious man in the NBA draft. But when there is rare video footage, all the intangibles are there.

At 6’9, the 18-year-old has the wingspan and an upside that could probably be linked to Kevin Durant. His thin frame – which can fill out – and ballhandling skills are small-forward-esque though that’s about where the Durant comparisons end. Adetokunbo is more a facilitator than scorer. He has a very good feel for the game and a motor that with his U-20 Greek squad and with his pro team make him a unique talent.

Defensively, Adetokunbo has a natural feel as well. He’ll hustle for weakside blocks and can turn those defensive possessions or defensive rebounds into immediate breaks because of his ability to push the tempo and make the right pass.

Question marks

Physically he’s limited of course. Adetokunbo’s wiry frame needs work, and this scouting report by The Team Rebound also backs up the worries about Adetokunbo’s physical limitations.

There are bigger issues though. For what makes Adetokunbo a potential fringe lottery pick could also cause him to fall out of the first round altogether. For all the talk about his potential, the Greek forward isn’t quite dominating weak competition – compare him to Durant, who was tearing Division I colleges to shreds around this age, and he has a long way to go.’s Scott Howard-Cooper was at the adidas Eurocamp and like many NBA representatives made the trek to Jesolo, Italy, to take in a U-20 Greek game. The reports from the past week are all the same. Adetokunbo didn’t do anything to help his draft stock, often playing well within his potential but putting up decent enough numbers. In the game against a Croatian squad, Draft Express cut up some video of Adetokunbo, not for highlights but for a general feel of his game.

As the video alludes to, Adetokunbo is playing against competition well under what would be the Division I level, and Howard-Cooper calls it something like D-II or D-III college hoops. His jump shot is also a work-in-progress. But from a pure experience standpoint, Adetokunbo is still a mystery.


Obviously, Adetokunbo isn’t NBA ready. The remaining questions about where he should go in the draft will likely depend on whether NBA teams believe he can develop without their help. In other words, will he move up the ranks in Europe quick enough where the increasingly tough competition will help clear up his aptitude to cruise? Will he be a project for three or so years but never make it to the big stage? Or will an NBA team feel like it could bring him to the US and put in the resources to develop him from the ground up?

Drafting Adetokunbo is a strungout investment that could never pan out. He’s yet to show signs of dominance in the minor leagues and until he does so is a risky pick.

And without direct knowledge of him, it’s hard to tell if the hype machine is legitimate or just the trend similar to experts picking a first-round NCAA tournament upset.

How he fits with the Suns

If the Phoenix Suns believe that Adetkunbo is a risk worth taking at 30, it probably means he won’t compete for any roster spot this year. The roster could be completely different whenever he arrives, so it’s not worth mentioning now; the move would keep a decently-sized rookie salary off the books, however.

Many mock experts with more knowledge than me slate Adetokunbo to go well before Phoenix’s 30th pick. Just because of that, I can’t see the Suns passing him up at 30 if he’s around, but that being said, there are many more practical and NBA-ready contributors deep into the second round that could turn into better players.

Phoenix’s new international scouting consultant Emilio Kovacic probably has a grasp of Adetokunbo’s upside. He, assistant general manager Pat Connelly and video coordinator Nick U’Ren were in Italy to watch Adetokunbo with the Greek squad last week, Paul Coro reported.

And 1 … a second-rounder to consider

Augusto Cesar Lima. The 21-year-old Brazilians hasn’t done much to improve his stock over the last few years playing behind veterans in a tough Spanish league and he’s also been beset by injuries. The 6-foot-10 power forward is a good athlete whose spurts of physical defense can make up for his utter lack of offense. He’s a building block for the future and if there’s nothing else, the Suns could stow him in Europe in the case he develops.

Tags: 2013 NBA Draft Giannis Adetokunbo

  • pece

    Instead of Augusto Cesar Lima I would suggest Nemanja Nedovi? or Alex Abrines. Really, picking Augusto would be more like some strange bet.

  • Scott

    I think the ONLY reason for Adetokunbo to go in the first round is because a few teams – like Dallas, OKC, and probably SA – are either going to trade their picks, or are looking to pick overseas players and stash them. I don’t think anyone is looking to Adetokunbo as someone to bring immediately to the US to play.

    I think Adetokunbo has slid up in the draft mainly because Dario Saric left, and not through any effort of his own or new revelation in scouting.

    As for Augusto Cesar Lima … awesome name, but he’s not as good as Fab Melo. He’d be another target for a team that needs to stash picks, in the hope he might eventually develop into something, though he’d definitely be taken in the 2nd round.

    Most teams are going to be looking to improve via free agency this summer, not through the draft.

    The overseas players the Suns could most use are: Dennis Schroeder, Nemanja Nedovic, Livio Jean-Charles, and Mam Jaiteh, in that all of these guys could play for the Suns right away, or be left overseas, depending on how the roster fills out as a consequence of trades.

  • Ty-Sun

    Good review but I can’t see either of these guys being good picks for the Suns considering the team’s present situation.

  • Rich Anthony

    You guys already know I’m in support of this project and have been since draft talks began. My cable plan down here in Australia allows me to see a lot of this kid. There’s plenty to like.

    Unfortunately for him, he’s not being coached [encouraged] to assassinate the competition. He’s being coached to be a team player, but at the same time he’s not being pushed to have a colossal role in any one area either, (shot blocker, defensive juggernaut, premier scorer)

    I mention all of that because sometimes during games when it just happens, he mauls teams. 6 quick points or 4 quick boards or 3 steals / 2 blocks or 4 quick assists. He’s coachable, VERY much so. The result is, instead of taking over completely, he melts back into the team collective because he has been coached to do so.

    We all already know I’d draft him and work on reprogramming some of his circuits. He’s a [undiscovered] beast. He’d be ready to go in a couple of years right when the team is ready to challenge. The one positive about the way he’s been coached is that you can give him any assignment and he already has knowledge in it. I’d feed him to the fire on the 2nd unit and grow him in the league. I’d try to remove him from his U20 surroundings ASAP.

  • Scott

    @Rich -

    That’s good to hear. I hope he does well.

  • hawki

    @ Rich Anthony

    “assassinate the competition”

    Good thing your in Australia, if you were in this country, the FBI might be knocking at your door.

    As for the draft, there are so many possibilities at 30 that I’ve lost track…..still think there is a 1 in 3 chance of a draft day trade.

  • pece

    Nodovic is similar type of player like Dragic. I think he could play right away so for 57 pick this would be quite good. And if they want to stick with Marshall at least one year more, this is more efficient then take a lotto PG.

  • Scott

    Chad Ford, on selling / trading draft picks this summer:

    “When you have 25 teams selling, it’s tough, and that seems to be the consensus on virtually every team, including the team at the top, the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is a draft where there’s no clear No. 1 pick. There’s no clear top-tier players in the draft. A lot of the teams in the lottery don’t really want to be in the lottery, don’t want to take the long route of building through the lottery so they would like to go ahead and try to find a player maybe that can help them now. And so you’re seeing literally from every team in the top 10 talk about trading this pick. That makes it much harder. If people were coveting draft picks and you were one of the few teams willing to give it up, you could get a lot for that. But right now this is a buyers market all the way because so many teams are trying to sell.”

  • Rich Anthony

    In relation to that, it seems as if a lot of people who back PHX / POR feel like a trade for 10 is already done. Seems like the main bits are #10 and Gortat. I almost feel like the team could do better.

    At the same time, I feel like there’s no reason to do better in terms of lottery picks. Outside of my unbeaten mancrush stretch for OLADIPO2013!!! I don’t really see any difference between the top 1-13 picks in the draft minus PG, because we need everything else.

    Keep 5, add pick 7-13 for Gortat if possible and if the players most coveted by the team are there, see what JMZ [everyone not named Dragic] brings back and get a few late 1sts to go with 30 or improve that draft pick.

    It does seem like quite a few teams are doing everything possible to “get out of this draft’s way,” so PHX should be willing to acquire picks in exchange for vets, no matter the pick number.

    Just because you pick a guy at 5 doesn’t mean he’ll be the stud you were looking for. The guy at 30 could end up being more valuable. Another guy at 10 / 17 / 23 could be a steal. Flip it, and 5 / 17 could be busts. Better to have those extra picks especially if other teams don’t see the value or the point in them.

  • Niko

    The name is spelled Antetokounmpo. Why is it so hard for Americans to get the spelling of the name right?