You all know the drill. It's Know the Prospect time. Our first two neophytes, Kenneth Faried and Klay Thompson, each have one skill that is defined and could translate to the NBA. With Faried, it's his tenacious rebounding. With Thompson, it's that NBA-ready shot. Now we translate to a prospect that possesses that one buzzword that makes everyone drool and cringe at the same time: potential.
Potential is a word that can evoke excitement and utter disappointment. I think I want to just replace the word "potential" with "Anthony Randolph" because no player sucked me in to the back-and-forth about what said player would become. Randolph shows flashes of the player he was projected to become, but never quite gets there. Sure, part of that is opportunity, which he didn't get much of in New York, and he is still incredibly young and has tons of time to develop. But Randolph still hasn't gotten there and is still just a player with potential. When a player with "Anthony Randolph" does actually pan out, like a Monta Ellis, Al Jefferson, or Josh Smith, it is incredibly fulfilling. But for every one of these guys, there are just as many Sebastian Telfair's, Brandan Wright's, and Alexis Ajinca's of the world.
Our prospect today is Lucas "Bebe" Nogueira, and he has TONS of "Anthony Randolph."
Lucas Riva Amarante Nogueira is an 18-year-old center who plays on the youth team for Asefe Estudiantes. The parent club is in Spain's top division, the ACB, and is comprised of players like Jiri Welsh and Nik Caner-Medley! The youth club sits in the 5th division, which is very low-level basketball. The kid hasn't really played against anyone great in Europe, but has decided to enter this year's draft.
Nogueira hails from Brazil. The list of players to come out of Brazil recently is rather impressive. Nene, Anderson Varejao, and Leandro Barbosa have all been productive to highly productive players for playoff teams. Nogueira is the next up-and-coming Brazilian prospect, and what has scouts drooling is his size. Nogueira is a legit seven-footer at just 18 years of age, so there is no telling what his body will turn out to be. Nogeuira impressed during last Summer's FIBA U-18 games in San Antonio. In the gold-medal game against the US (which sported guys like Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers, and Patric Young) he put up a silly line of 22-14-3 (BLK), and that was when he was just 17.
The run-down (without The Rock):
Measurements: 6' 11.5"; Weight: around 218 lbs.; Wingspan: a vulture-like 7'6"; Vertical: unknown, but my guess is he is youthful enough to jump higher than five inches off the ground.
Projected Draft Position (as of right now): 21 on DraftExpress.com, 23 on ProBasketballDraft.com, NBADraft and HoopsHype aren't updated yet for Nogueira
Amateur Take-Offense: I have never seen Nogueira play, so all of this is based on what I have read about him. He is raw, like sushi-raw, which can be expected of a teenager who hasn't played againts high-level competition. He gets a lot of his points in transition, on put-backs, and other stuff. From what I understand, he doesn't have much of a mid-range game, but he can run like a deer and has quick feet. Those are good qualities for a post player, especially in Mike D'Antoni's supposedly fast-paced system.
Amateur Take-Defense: Apparently, this is where Nogueira makes his impact felt. Because of his height and that freakish wingspan of his, he has all the tools to be a tremendous shot-blocker. Those same tools also make him a great rebounder, which is one of those things the Knicks need! That kind of big body would be something the Knicks desperately need on the interior. He is quite slender right now at just shy of 220 pounds, but I'm sure he would be able to put on weight and muscle to make him into a more imposing defender.
Comparison: NBADraft compares him to Tyson Chandler. Not bad.
Random Red Flag: One of the biggest knocks on Nogueira is his work ethic. The kid is apparently lazy, has a "star's attitude", is difficult to work with, and is difficult. Not the strongest quality to have, and that definitely is a concern. The kid has to know his limits and has to be willing to put in the work, especially at such a young age. I don't know how you would go about curing this habit, but it's something to think about.
The Clyde Factor: Where to begin! First off, the Lucas' nickname is "Bebe". Add in those accent marks, and Clyde's trademark "neophyte" gets taken to a whole new level. Then factor in his last name: Nogueira. No chance Clyde learns how to say that correctly. I don't even think I know the correct pronunciation. The possibilities for mispronunciations and alliterative concoctions are infinite. Clyde would turn into that proverbial kid in a candy store.
Cool Stuff: I couldn't really find a lot on this kid, but I did discover this about him. His last name contains all five vowels, like the word "sequoia". How awesome is that?
Let's go to the video
Lucas Nogueira (Bebê) - Copa América de Basketball 2010 - San Antônio (USA) (via ArlemRJ)
Lucas Nogueira Nike Hoop Summit Interview (via DraftExpress)
Lucas Nogueira (Bebê) Temporada 2010 - 2011 (via ArlemRJ)
Things to take away:
- Wow I like his hair-do. Cool beans, Lucas.
- He is incredibly tenacious around the rim, both on offense and on defense. That kind of enthusiasm and activity is what I like to see.
- He said it himself: he can bring defense and rebounding. Nothing wrong with that.
- I think when he turned sideways, he disappeared for a second!
- He already has a great sense of timing on his blocks and going after rebounds, but the question is will he be able to do it against players his size and players who are much stronger than he is.
- He showed some early stages of an offensive repertoire, with little jump-hooks and a decent shooting form from the charity stripe.
Final Thoughts: I like Bebe, but he is nowhere near ready. I have the constitution to wait on a prospect, especially one that could have as great an impact on the defensive end as this guy, but Pringles and the rest of the Knicks' brass doesn't want to wait for a kid like this. The other thought that has already been floated around is to draft this kid with the intentions of including him in a package for someone like Chris Paul or Dwight Howard. That also works, I guess, but I don't like to think in those terms. Either way, this kid definitely has NBA ability, and he will probably still be lurking when the Knicks draft. I don't know if he is right, just because the Knicks desperately need players that can contribute right away. I wouldn't be opposed to purchasing another pick with the intentions to snatch the kid up though. What do you guys think?