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Pavel Podkolzine Profile

June 16, 2003 Columns No Comments

Russia /
7-5, 300

Pavel Podkolzine
The Skinny:

Pavel Podkolzine – is he the Siberian Shaq? Right now he isn’t but with his 7-5, 300 pound frame, he very well could be in the future. The biggest buzz over Podkolzine is from his workout in Chicago during the week of the pre-draft camp. Podkolzin showed great mobility, nice touch from the perimeter, and some strong moves against limited resistance. NBA brass obviously liked what they saw of him, and he’s clearly got the size and skills to be a worthwhile project to work on for the next few years.

With that said, it must be emphasized that he’s still a project. Podkolzine didn’t play much for his Italian League team, and a lot of it had to do with his age (18 years young) and his lack of experience. The team that drafts Podkolzine may not see any payoffs until maybe 4-5 years down the road when his rookie contract expires. But the big Russian is no doubt the epitome of “upside” that NBA teams will want to gamble on in today’s NBA. And after his Chicago workout, his stock went through the roof and he could go as high as the Top Five if someone is willing to roll the dice on him.

Related Hoopville Articles on Pavel Podkolzine:

6/8/03 – Jed Tai – Chicago Pre-Draft Camp Dispatch – Day 4
But as good as all the games were, the biggest event of the day wasn’t at Moody Bible Institute. It was the individual workout of 7-5 Pavel Podkolzine (Italy-Russia) held in the early afternoon at a nearby health club. With about a hundred onlookers present, including all the top general managers in the league (Jerry West, Mitch Kupchak, Ernie Grunfeld – you name him, he was there) – Podkolzine went through a series of drills to showcase his skills.

He definitely impressed.

The 18-year old Russian shot a variety of 12-15 foot jumpers, showed off some post-up moves, and ran some full-court fast breaks, finishing with pull-ups and alley-oop dunks. He showed good mobility – especially for a person his size _ strong moves in the paint, and a soft touch from the perimeter with a nice looking shooting form. Unlike what you might expect from a person 7-5, he was not a stick nor was he ploddingly slow. In many ways, his body and the way he moved reminded this observer of a typical 6-7 European player — except Podkolzine is almost a foot taller.

Prior to the pre-draft camp, there was discussion that Podkolzine was a “possible” lottery pick. You can take that “possible” out of the equation now. After the workout, the buzz was that Podkolzine was easily a Top Ten pick, with a chance to be as high as the Top Five. Sure, the workout didn’t show anything Podkolzine’s camp didn’t want people to see (i.e. he didn’t do any drills involving lateral movement). But you can’t teach height, so be sure to watch the wires closely what teams may consider drafting this center with seemingly limitless potential.

(By the way, in case you were wondering, Podkolzine does know some English, but it is limited. It seems he hears key words and makes assumptions on what the question asks. For instance, he was asked once who was the best player he ever played against. His answer? “Best Player? MJ of course!” When asked again, he said “Best Player Now? Tracy McGrady”. No matter. He’ll let his play on the floor do the talking.

6/2/03 – Jed Tai – Projecting the Lottery
Sonics could use a point guard, but can’t pass up the chance to get help up front. Seattle has had good success with foreign players so why not take a chance at the Russian big man? Podkolzine’s 7-5, can walk and chew gum at the same time, and has oodles of that all-important “upside”. With Shaq, Yao, Duncan in the West, the other teams simply need guys who can hold their own and Podkolzin may be that guy.

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