20-year-old Leandro Bolmaro of FC Barcelona holds the potential to be selected in the late-1st round of the 2020 NBA Draft.
Given the vast pool of potential international talent, every NBA Draft is rife with discussion of prospects who might prove to be the next phenomenon within the league. The NBA’s uneven record of correctly valuing international prospects lends an added sense of risk to the endeavor.
Moreover, Luka Dončić – the Slovenian sensation who has risen from Euroleague wunderkind to global superstar in less than three years – will loom over every international prospect for the length of his career. In a competitive league that is obsessed with exploiting “market inefficiencies,” the ability to reliably spot incoming international talent will become increasingly important.
In that spirit, we take a look at FC Barcelona’s Leandro Bolmaro.
Bolmaro has drawn some enthusiastic comparisons to his fellow Argentinian Manu Ginóbili, and a quick look at the tape reveals why.
The young, 6-foot-7 wing is an athletic slasher who has the concentration and physical frame to finish creatively through contact. He is deadly driving with his dominant right hand but can be less confident going to his left. As with many young players, he is at his best in transition. Where athleticism and simpler passing reads work to his advantage.
His Euroleague minutes have fallen. From 9 to 6 per game, on a loaded Barcelona team with ambitions to win the trophy. In spite of that, he has improved his shooting percentages, while decreasing his turnover rate. He averages the same 1.8 PPG in the Euroleague as he did in the competition last year, with half the shots and fewer minutes.
Through the 2020-21 Liga ACB campaign to date, Bolmaro is averaging 3.3 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists.
That being said, there is a reason he faces a reduced role this season. He makes many of the mistakes young players often make, and here the comparison to Ginóbili seems particularly apt. While his turnover rate has been improving, it remains too high for his role. Bolmaro’s ability to see the game currently exceeds his ability to put the ball where it needs to go.
The biggest question mark with Bolmaro is the sheer lack of data we have to evaluate him. He has never averaged 10 minutes per game against elite competition. Similar prospects have failed to stick in the NBA in recent times (Kostas Papanikolaou and Sergei Karasev come to mind), which in combination with the lack of data will be enough to scare lottery teams away.
Leandro Bolmaro has the skill set to become a high level role player in the NBA. In order to reach his potential, he will need to discipline himself and rein in his most impulsive play.
His lack of seasoning against the best competitors in Europe also points toward a potentially lengthy development process. He would be best taken by teams who are already good, with strong veteran players to act as mentors. All of those things point to him being taken in the late first round, where he has the potential to be the next international steal.
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