Goga Bitadze is 1999 born big man from Georgia who transfered to Mega Bemax from Vita Tbilisi after good showing at FIBA U16 European Championship in 2015. He already debuted with U20 and even senior NT team last summer. After being loaned to Smederevo last year, currently he is playing his first ABA Liga season and shows that he can become another center from his country who make it to the NBA.
Bitadze possess good measurements standing at sufficient over 6’11 in shoes with almost 7’2 wingspan. He did a good job last months to improve his body but he may have tendency to get out of shape off season and is unlikely to ever get very lean. His motor comes and goes. Goga may be mobile but is definitely not the one who accelerates easily/quickly. Not agile, can have troubles with controlling his body at times.
Bitadze is a solid low post talent. He scores really good 1.061 points per possession including notable 1.2 ppp from right block while playing against really physical competition in probably Top 10 European League. He can occasionally surprise with good looking move and at least solid footwork but is neither super polished nor overly nimble at the moment. There is probably still some work to do with improving left hand. However his big advantage is the touch on longer range than around the basket attempts. He has a great feel for mid hooks or floaters in the lane as P&R man 2-3 meters away from the basket.
PICK AND ROLL
Goga has enough body to set the screen which is not easy to go around for the guards and seems to be quite instinctive in pick and roll situations. He rolls to the rim well and fills the open spots. He has potential to pop out given his touch, mechanics but for now made only 5 from 26 of 3pt attempts. It wasn’t much better last summer with Georgia NT where he averaged slightly over 18% on 11 shots. The worst thing is that in most cases Bitadze is wide opened and can really shot bricks with time and space. On the upside his mid range stroke is already really reliable. He doesn’t always get great balance as it never easy to stop big body immediately on the move but it’s definitely positive category of his offensive game.
Bitadze is built to fight inside and is usually able to hold his ground defending post up. Even if he gets scored on, it requires big effort unless he faces physical MONSTER like Michael Ojo or veterans who can out trick every teenager playing in this world. However the further from basket the worse it gets. He has no chance to stay in front on any switch onto smaller and quicker players. At least he is good at chasing them down looking for the behind the back rejection until the lay up release. In pick and roll he mostly doesn’t come out and patrolls the high paint. He tends to get too deep in rotation, does too much ball watching (also in half court as weakside defender) and loses his man from sight which makes pick and pop plays easy to execute as well as stepping out for uncontested mid range jumpers. Obviously poor later coordination and foot speed allow rivals to punish him on closeouts. Given this and being overly reactive to pump fakes he gets in huge foul trouble (about 6 personal fouls per 36). Moreover he frustrates a lot and his body language after unfavorable calls is terrible. Luckily Bitadze recoveres with good standing reach and solid shot blocking instincts in the paint (3.3 rejections per 36 minutes in ABA Liga).
Bitadze lacks perimeter skills other than mid range J and mid hooks. He even has trouble to attack close outs and struggles if starts back to the basket game far away from the paint. He often kills dribble in medium distance and rushes bad passes under the defensive pressure. He is unathletic in the crowd and his penetrations can look really awkward.
Despite a little heaviness Bitadze is an opportunistic dunker. Obviously it calls for cleared area and good dime but he never hesitates to make it big and energize his team when the opportunity arrives.
Also rebounding on both ends can easily be categorized as a strength. He has very good standing reach (9’2.25 during 2017 Adidas Eurocamp) and possess good habit of looking for the body to box out every time. He starts offense quickly with first pass after gathering the ball and is opportunistic with searching for put backs. Averages really good 10.9 rebounds per 36 in ABA.
Because of similar body and team they start pro career some Nikola Jokic comparisons may be applicable but probably should be categorized as lazy ones. Overachievement of his predecessor doesn’t happen often and probability is very small because of worse ball skills or attitude problems. Moreover Mega may be elite, one in a kind prospects hotbed but situation that players are given may distract their current abilities or even full potential when they arrive in different setting. Still Bitadze can be considered 2nd round talent who can pave his way to the NBA. Especially if he stays in shape, works on (lateral) quickness and stretches the floor reliably.