Day 1. Game: Branuschweig vs Hamburg. Player scouted: Kostja Mushidi
Once referred as a lottery pick then labeled as wasted talent, recently turned out to be a very solid contributor in strong league with translatable potential as a role player for higher level.
Kostja had a ridiculously good start to the season being one of the most productive players in the league per 36 as a 6th man. His high shoulders frame looked leaner but still brawny. He was proving himself as a rebounding guard who can defend, shot spot up and drive powerfully to the rim. It seems like he was not getting enough attention because of troublesome history but he did seem more focused and composed for a quite long stretch and was saying by himself how he matured and doesn’t want his past to hold him back.
If you talk the talk you got to walk the walk as well…It took two bad games for Mushidi to ruin what he was rebuilding for a while. Crying (literally), expressing anger furiously, being more selfish and eventually getting cut due to disciplinary reasons…Sounds like bad old Kostja.
It is somewhat unusual for someone who is rather eloquent, speaks languages to make such things and not learning from own mistakes. Mushidi will never live up to the hype he once had but now we can worry whether he can make a living as a basketball player at all given how hard it will be to get another shot because of red flags all over next to his name. Maybe he was not really on pace to be drafted but G League grind for the exhibit 10 contract could make sense for him. Now it will be harder to get a shot as even changing the environment never really helped Kostja to get rid of his demons.
Day 2. Game: Vechta vs Ludwigsburg. Player scouted: Philipp Herkenhoff
After good ending of previous season especially upset win over Bamberg in playoffs series, German stretch big caught some attention. Phillip is often used as a 5 man. Theoretically it’s not his best fit but it changes when it comes to small ball trends. He has size but struggles to battle with big bodies due to strength shortcomings but is very mobile and stretches the court nicely so at the end of the day it’s about who causes more damage with their game in such missmatches (and if shot is falling everyone knows 3 is more than 2).
Herkenhoff doesn’t really have much to offer for NBA executives other than shooting. Well he is a bit more than that thanks to being relatively fluid, having good reactivity to things that occur around him on the court whether it is keeping good spacing, embracing Vechta high character unselfish mentality as a teammate, making smart extra passes or pounding the ball a bit if necessary as he is capable of handling it. But how much it is if he doesn’t have superior skill level or athletic abilities + switchability of his countryman Maxi Kleber considering he is not elite close to 50% 3pt shooter?
As of now his range is rather going undrafted but he can potentially bring a lot to the table in BBL and is almost surefire candidate for top domestic teams as a rotation pick and pop target for years to come. With further seasoning on highest Euro level and mastering his role while being capable defender and rebounder he can still be somewhere in notebooks of NBA scouts though.
Day 3. Game: Oldenburg vs Ulm. Player scouted: Killian Hayes
Killian arguably possess the best situation among all elite prospects in Europe. Being starter on his position as foreigner in a strong team from a strong league that participates on international scene, under the coach who was great player and wants to share all his experience with him and on top of that environment is perfectly organized.
There are always questions about winning when you trust such a young PG but hard to blame slow start of the season on Hayes. He did struggled against the pressure, was not overly consistent but a lot of that was simply caused by being the sole ball handler available. Anyways team is doing better now and Killian was several times crucial for winning as well.
Killian stands at tremendous 6’6 for a lead guard and is (close to) elite passer. He has an advantage of passing over the defenders, delivers crispy, flashy assists accurately off the live dribble either in transition, drive & kick or most importantly in pick and roll which he greatly improved and reads all possible solutions as p&r ball handler. He is not a standout athlete but possess solid frame and speed which combined with good handles open his notable slashing ability.
His jumper is still streaky and possess low release point but shooting slightly over 30% on three pointers on 56 attempts while having almost 90% at the free throw line + hitting some (often long) floaters with impressive natural touch at the age of 18 still give a hope he can be ok / good enough shooter. Bigger issue may be limiting turnovers. A/To ratio is rather pleasable but there is a lot of room for improvement. Sometimes it shows how much one sided player Killian is while facing elite defenders who can force him to the right side of the court. His youngster status among referees also doesn’t help and it seems like many times the missed a calls on him but lack of concentration and unforced mistakes typical for youth player still happen. Defensively Killian is more capable than I expected and doesn’t get blown by much. He is far from being pesky but has a good stretches while puts in work and his length helps with decreasing the passing lanes.
Biggest things for boosting his potential may be developing the vocal leadership as it’s crucial attribute for someone aspiring to run the team on the court. As of now you can still blame it on age and say it’s a learning process not easy for the youngest player in the roster but if there is no consistent progress in few years it may just become an evidence of a little bit introvert nature.
Anyway playing style is highly suitable for NBA and Hayes seems to be back in lottery conversation. Actually based on pure talent he may be even close to Top 10 pick caliber but he would probably have to be more regular, hungry and outgoing night in night out until June to make that happen.