(Get that weak stuff out of here.)
Call me crazy, but I’m intrigued by a seven-footer Draft Express calls “big, well built, athletic” and NBADraft.net described two seasons ago as “one of the best post prospects in Europe.” And no, I’m not talking about Semih Erden. When the Celtics open summer league tomorrow, Vyacheslav Kravtsov is the post man I’m most excited to see.
He’s tall, cut-up, and coordinated. He can run the floor, block shots, and crash the offensive glass. According to Draft Express, he has a “good frame, above average athleticism and strong 7-2 ½ wingspan and 9-3 standing reach.” In laymen’s terms, the man’s a beast. He’s got every physical tool you’d want from a big man. Hell, if I had the physical tools Kravtsov possesses, my ticket to the Hall of Fame would have already been punched. But Kravtsov doesn’t have my skill, nor my will. Luckily for him, he’s not a slow, unathletic 6’1″ shooting guard, so — while he auditions for the NBA – my superior skill and will are sitting home at my computer writing about him.
Despite his expansive set of tools, there are plenty of drawbacks to Kravtsov. Draft Express fell just short of calling Kravtsov a zombie, but did say he sleep-walks through some games. And sleep-walking isn’t abnormal for Kravtsov; Draft Express notes that it’s been a problem that has plagued him throughout his entire career. Think Sheed, minus the offensive skill, high basketball IQ, and ability to turn it on in the playoffs.
Additionally, Kravtsov isn’t exactly a polished offensive player. When a draft expert writes you are “not always looking ready or interested in catching passes,” that’s never a good thing. Beyond his disinterest in catching passes (think Kwame Brown), Kravtsov apparently has the offensive game of a 5th-grader. He doesn’t possess post moves, has little perimeter touch, and Draft Express writes, “It’s unlikely that any team would be all that interested in him for what he offers on [the offensive] end of the floor.” Not exactly enticing.
So the polish isn’t there, the skills are raw (at best), and the attitude leaves a little to be desired. But there are the tools. Oh, the tools. And if Vyacheslav Kravtsov can somehow put those tools together, if he can somehow find a way to showcase his physical talent to impact both ends of the court, there are worse options to help a team than a seven-foot tall, 265-lb. athlete.
Of course, I realize he’ll probably stink. I understand there are reasons why such a promising athlete was picked up as a summer league free agent. But this is summer league, people. Time for hopes. And I’m hoping this kid can work himself into a keeper.