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The Late 20’s: Leandro Bolmaro Scouting Report

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Name: Leandro Bolmaro

Dominant Hand: Right

Age: 20.1

Height: 6’7

Wingspan: 6’9

Weight: 185 lbs

School: N/A – Last played for FC Barcelona of EuroLeague

Position: SG

ESPN Top 100 Ranking: N/A

NBADraft.Net Mock Ranking: 36

Upbringing & Early Career

Leandro Bolmaro is one of the most intriguing international prospects of the 2020 draft. Born and raised in Cordoba, Argentina, Bolmaro fell in love with the game of basketball from an early age. As most international basketball prodigies do, he began his professional basketball career at the tender age of 16, playing for Estudiantes de Bahia Blanca of the Liga de Nacional Basquet – Argentina’s top basketball league.

In his first season as a professional, Bolmaro averaged 2.0 points, 0.7 rebounds, and 0.5 assists in 7.2 minutes per game, but his potential given his size, his ability to see the floor, and his understanding of the game was on full display. Just 23 games in action for Estudiantes de Bahia Blanca were enough to convince FC Barcelona of the EuroLeague to give Bolmaro a call.

After Bolmaro moved to Spain, he posted figures of 10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists while seeing the floor for 24.1 minutes per game – albeit playing for FC Barcelona’s reserve team in the Liga Espanola de Baloncesto – the equivalent of how the Toronto Raptors have the Raptors 905 in the G-League.

Finally, in the 2019-2020 season, Bolmaro broke through to play his first minutes in the EuroLeague as a 19-year-old. He still split time between Barcelona’s reserve team and their senior squad, however through his two games that he played with the senior team, Bolmaro averaged 7.5 points, 0.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in just 12.0 minutes.

It’s uncommon for someone as inexperienced as Bolmaro to be so high on NBA Draft boards. He has only played a total of 24 minutes in the EuroLeague, and is already 20 years old. His stats don’t necessarily jump off the page, and he’s not a Matt Thomas level shooter either. What exactly is so enticing about this kid that has him ranked higher than 19-year-old NCAA stars? It’s pretty much based around his potential.. and there’s a lot of it.

Size & Athleticism

Right off the bat, one can tell without watching Bolmaro play that his size is a huge asset. For a true shooting guard who is even capable of playing the point guard at times, his 6’7 frame and 6’9 wingspan are simply an overpowering matchup against most other guards. While he is quite scrawny, weighing only 185 pounds, he’s capable of bulking up, and his length makes up for what he lacks in muscle. As a prospect who shouldn’t be expected to make immediate contributions to an NBA team, he will have enough time to add that muscle. Additionally, in the modern NBA where teams have essentially eradicated the centre position and gone small, having size in the backcourt is an asset to help with rebounding and defensive versatility, which we’ll dive deeper into later.

Along with his large frame, Bolmaro has the athleticism to match up with smaller guards. As a former high-jumper, his explosiveness translates onto the basketball court. Bolmaro has a quick first step, and can explode at the rim to finish through contact. He’s also a fast runner in the open floor, and has excellent lateral quickness on defense.

On the play below, we can see how Bolmaro explodes to the basket quickly after beating his primary defender, and beats the help defense to the spot to convert an easy layup.

Finishing

Bolmaro is not a great finisher, shooting inefficiently on his shot attempts at the rim. That has hindered his ability to be a super effective scorer thus far in his career, given that 41% of his shots come at the rim. Most of his inability to finish comes from his lack of muscle, which as aforementioned, he will have time to add once he gets drafted to the NBA. What carried his two-point field goal percentage is Bolmaro’s solid mid-range jumper, and a good floater game.

On his shot attempts inside the paint, Bolmaro makes good use of the backboard, and demonstrates a good understanding of angles to get his shots off over bigger defenders – something that will prove to be extremely valuable for him in the NBA.

For whatever Bolmaro lacks in strength, he makes up for with his length and leaping ability as can be seen from the clip below.

Against bigger and better interior defenders, this shot attempt likely would have been blocked, further pronouncing Bolmaro’s need to get in the weight room.

Passing & Playmaking

Bolmaro’s elite size as a guard ties right into his ability to be a solid playmaker. As a taller and longer guard, Bolmaro can easily whip passes over shorter defenders, and can see the floor more clearly to recognize cuts early on, or see plays before they develop. His ability to play as the pick and roll ball handler and throw a multitude of different passes to the rolling big man is unique, and an intriguing aspect of his game. Furthermore, Bolmaro is comfortable passing with either hand, and can thread the needle accurately to find his teammate through a crowd of lynching arms, as can be seen from the clip below.

That being said, there are still a couple of shortcomings regarding his playmaking ability: most notably, his decision making, and his ball-handling ability. He is often overzealous with his passes, looking to find a teammate on the other side of the floor, or thinking that he can whip the ball between several defenders. This is reflected through his 2.7 turnovers per game, and his 1.28 assist-to-turnover ratio. Additionally, as a taller guard, Bolmaro naturally has a higher dribble. He needs to work on having a lower crossover, and keeping the ball protected as he drives, as NBA defenses will be much better at poking the ball free from him.

Shooting

Bolmaro has a bit of a hitch in his shooting stroke, where he clicks his heels together after rising up, and he begins his motion with the ball at his waist. While the heel-click is more-so just awkward, and doesn’t impact his shot, he will need to work on starting his release higher so that opponents won’t be able to block his shot as easily by swiping down at the ball. This will also help him get his shots off quicker, as his release off the catch is currently relatively slow.

Aside from the small drawbacks, Bolmaro has good shooting mechanics. He has a high release, the ball rotation on his shots is incredible, and his high arc invites a friendly bounce off the rim. His percentages still aren’t great from behind the arc, however he has improved from a 17.4% shooter in his first professional season to a 28.1% shooter just two years later. If he can continue to work his stroke, he should be able to develop into an average shooter in the NBA, which also has more spacing than the EuroLeague due to the slightly bigger courts.

In the mid-range, Bolmaro is much better. As talked about above, he has a solid mid range jumper, and off the drive or anywhere within the arc, he can get his shots off easily over his primary defender given his size and length compared to most guards. That will hold even in the NBA.

While the majority of Bolmaro’s shots from deep come off the catch, he has also flashed the potential to become a solid shooter off the bounce, as can be seen from the following video.

Defense

In addition to his size and playmaking ability, Bolmaro’s defensive potential is also super intriguing for NBA teams to look at. As aforementioned, being 6’7 with a 6’9 wingspan allows teams to put him in the backcourt, and play a switch-everything style, whereby defending screen plays regardless of whether the big man pops or rolls becomes much simpler. In order to do so effectively, Bolmaro would need to add some weight so that he could match up with big men in the NBA, but that’s part of what teams would be gambling on with him.

Aside from his versatility, he can keep up well with smaller and quicker guards. He has great lateral quicks to keep his defender in front of him, and with his long arms and tenacity, he was able to average 1.8 steals per game last season.

In terms of his defensive habits, he is always defending on his toes, and stays in a low position when defending the ball, which are both great things for a young player to already be doing. On the flip side, Bolmaro crosses his legs over one another when moving laterally, which makes it easier for his opponent to cross him out. This could also make him more prone to injury.

The two things that are most incredible to see with Bolmaro are his defensive intensity, and his intellect on that end of the floor – both aspects which cannot be taught, and that breed elite defenders. As can be seen from the clip below, his all-out effort, size, and lateral quickness are an absolute terror for his smaller man to go up against.

The following video fully encapsulates how amazing of a defender Bolmaro really is. The opposition throws a plethora of screens at him trying to get the ball handler free, but he continuously fights through and recovers, but without keeping tunnel vision on sticking to his man. At the end of the clip, his teammate gets beat, and he quickly jumps in to help, forcing a pass out to his original assignment. Realizing that one teammate in the corner is rotating to contest the shooter, Bolmaro directs another teammate to the corner to cover the swing pass. While that pass ultimately isn’t made, Barcelona gets a body on the man in the corner to box out.

Why He’s Projected To Drop

The biggest issue with Bolmaro is that he’s unproven. If he had averaged the same numbers that he did with Barcelona’s reserve team in the EuroLeague, and had a more extended opportunity to prove himself, it would be a completely different conversation. After four teams passed on drafting Luka Doncic in 2018, everybody has their eye on young prospects coming out of the Euroleague. The difference between Doncic and Bolmaro however, is that one of them came into the NBA having already won EuroLeague MVP, and the other has played a total of 24 minutes with his club’s senior team.

Nevertheless, Bolmaro’s potential is uber-exciting. He can be a great playmaker, a solid shooter, and an astute defender if he stays focused and is placed in a good organization that knows how to develop young players (cough, cough… Toronto Raptors). For the time being however, using a lottery, or even mid-first round selection on a flyer project is risky. Team’s will look back at how the Raptors fared with Bruno Caboclo or how the Boston Celtics’ Lucas Nogueira project went before getting optimistic and thinking they have the next Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Modern NBA Comparison: Spencer Dinwiddie

Dinwiddie is another tall guard who was selected early in the second round, who struggled with his shot coming into the league, who is on the skinnier side of the spectrum, and who has great defensive intangibles. While his career thus far has panned out just about as good as it possible could have – as he was nearly named a 2020 NBA All-Star – the phase one version of himself is comparable to where Bolmaro is right now. At the time of their draft, both players were (are, for Bolmaro) known for their elite size and ability to play point guard, despite being a natural shooting guard. Dinwiddie has been able to excel as he’s been granted a larger role in Brooklyn after bouncing around the NBA for a couple of years. If Bolmaro is blessed with being part of an elite player development system like the Raptors have, he will have every chance to earn his opportunity with the team, and hopefully follow a similar career path.

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