Up until this point, I've posted a couple of things (here and here) about Sofoklis Schortisianitis (My Big Fat Greek Center) without seeing more than a couple of highlight reels.
I finally got the chance to see him play in the semi-final against the US and in the final against Spain, and I gotta say, I'm pretty impressed. Obviously, he did not have a good game against Spain; the Greek coach pulled him quickly, limiting him to 7 minutes (although given the fact that NOTHING was working afor Greece, I'm a little surprised that they didn't stick with him longer.) The Spanish defense did expose one shortcoming in his game that was not evident against the US - he had trouble making decisions against the double-team, and turned the ball over several times when Spain came with a quick double. Of course, after 8 years of Michael Olowokandi and Chris Kaman, this is a painfully familiar problem for Clipper Nation.
But against the US, he looked very good. He has several things that you can't teach: he's big (obviously), he has soft hands, and he has quick feet. Amazingly, he got a couple of baskets against the US by OUTRUNNING DWIGHT HOWARD down the floor. He has got to be the fastest 320 pound dude I've ever seen. He uses his body well around the basket, and he has the ability to make tough catches in traffic and finish. Now, I've seen him listed up to 6'11", and he's nowhere near that tall - he's maybe 6'9". But size is size, and it's still worth something. The NBA is obsessed with 'length', and he's not 'long', but he is BIG. He won't block shots for you, but he'll take up space, he'll set BIG screens, and he'll score in the low block. I will say that his rebounding numbers for the tournament were pretty anemic for a guy his size. And unfortunately the one area where he truly earns his Baby Shaq sobriquet is at the line; but his release looks good and his shot looks soft, so I see no reason that is FT shooting shouldn't improve.
In the USA game, he was 6 for 7 from the field, and ironically the one shot he missed was a dunk all by himself. He only missed 3 shots in the entire TOURNAMENT. Of course, the US spent much of the first half trying to check him with Chris '230 soaking wet' Bosh, and spent the second half switching Kirk Hinrich onto him on the pick and roll, but that's a subject for another post.
During the ESPN2 telecast of USA-Greece, Fran Frischilla implied that the Clippers had made an offer this summer, but that he took a better offer from Olympiakos to stay in Greece. I haven't heard that anywhere else, but it would be disconcerting to think that we low-balled a quality big, especially if Rebraca is done. Does anybody out there know anything about offers the Clippers made to MBFGC?
The good news I came across said that the buyout in MBFGC's Olympiakos contract is only $500,000. If that is true, it would be encouraging. It would mean that (a) he knows he's destined for the Assoc. eventually and (b) the Clippers can get him any time they are willing to pay him.
My favorite item was the one that said he is "reportedly being pursued by the Cleveland Clippers." I know our expectations should not be real high from the Taipei Times, but this guy LeBron plays in Cleveland. You'd think they'd at least know the Cavs and the Rockets, right?
Finally, how do you think MBFGC is going to affect Kaman's extension negotiation? If you answered "The Clippers will let Kaman become a restricted free agent, and even then will not match a large contract offer, but instead will let him walk and then bring MBFGC over to be the starting center for about a quarter the price..." well, if you answered that, you read my mind. I'm not saying it's the right thing to do (although it may well be); I'm just saying I think that's what they'll do.