Nick Fazekas NBA Draft Scouting Report

Nick Fazekas NBA Draft Scouting Report
May 10, 2006, 05:19 pm
(junior year scouting report, see player blog tab for more recent updates)

Fazekas has great height for a power forward at 6-11 combined with average athletic ability. He runs the court fairly well for a big man, and will score points in transition due to his high basketball IQ and how hard he usually plays.

His offensive game is what makes him a special prospect at the next level, having quite a complete package of polished offensive skills; being able to score from both inside and out.

At first some might consider him strictly a perimeter oriented big man due to his extremely thin build; however, he has improved his low post scoring and arsenal to the point that he can be quite dangerous down low as well. He knows how to get low and establish good post position to make up for his lack of bulk; and has a very quick release that makes it hard for slower big men to block his shot. Fazekas has a knack for finding open space around the hoop, and is always moving to get open in the post and rarely stands still if he isn’t able to do so.

In terms of consistency, ever since Fazekas was a freshman at Nevada when they made that famous NCAA tournament run, he has always showed the ability to score the basketball. He has been very consistent on offense and has developed into a regular 20 point per game scorer over the past two seasons.

An aspect of his offensive game that is quite unique is his ability to tip in shots when jumping in the air. Unlike some players who go to dunk these type of rebounds in, Fazekas gets offensive rebounds to fall softly off his fingertips. He is remarkably skilled at using a variety of finger rolls or set shots when close to the basket. That ability effectively demonstrates his overall hand eye coordination and basketball IQ. Even though he is not a great ball handler, he can create shots off short dribbles and is comfortable with the ball in his hands even when pressured.

Fazekas also has the ability to step away from the basket and hit jump-shots. He has a very good looking jump-shot and is not above using the glass every now and then either. Considering how fundamentally sound his jump-shot looks, one would think his shooting percentage would be better. Nonetheless, he has great touch shooting the basketball. His jump shots are quick and very effective. He shoots the ball on his fingertips and it shows in the rotation he gets.

In terms of post scoring, what makes Fazekas an effective post player at the college level is the fact that he has a variety of different moves he uses. He has a very fine jump-hook shot with either hand out to about 12 feet, and uses his thin frame to slither his way around the post and gain position. The jump-hook shot is his go-to move offensively; he executes it quickly and fluidly and gets a very high release point on it which makes it difficult to block. It’s obvious he has worked long and hard to perfect this move to the point that it’s become automatic.

Fazekas also has a very effective turnaround jump-shot that adds to his arsenal down low. When post defenders try to get physical with him, it does not always affect his game, as he is surprisingly effective finishing after contact. Fundamentally, he is well-schooled; keeping the ball above his shoulders in the post and always putting himself in a triple threat position on the perimeter. He knows how to get his shot off in difficult situations, and shows quick decision making when doing so. He gives his defender very little time to make up his mind how he wants to guard him.

On top of that, Fazekas can also pass the ball very effectively. He is wonderful at using the bounce pass, and can also find cutters effectively from either the post or the perimeter. He is also skilled at passing out of double teams. When pressured, he does not get flustered because he is quick when passing the basketball and accurate. He is generally a very intelligent player with an excellent feel for the game.

Fazekas is also a solid rebounder at the college level despite being so skinny; mostly thanks to his height, excellent hands and long arms. He is a sneaky rebounder, using his footwork to get around a box out, or just anticipating better than the opponent and getting to the basketball before they do. Fazekas is not above hitting the floor either; as he will dive for loose balls and sacrifice his body.

The big question about Fazekas, and the reason that he might be kept out of the 1st round is his physical strength. Even though he puts up great numbers, they are usually against weaker competition. He is not the ideal physical specimen most teams look for in a power forward. Because of that he might have trouble against superior athletes at that position.

His lack of strength could cause him to get pushed around by bigger players, and there are major question marks about how he will be able to hold his position on the block. His upper body strength is especially poor. What’s most concerning about this is the fact that his frame is extremely narrow, particularly in his shoulders, which leads you to believe that he will have a very difficult time putting on more weight.

His lack of athleticism is also an issue. Fazekas is just an average leaper at the college level, and noticeably lacks quickness. He runs the floor fairly awkwardly as well. Defensively, this lack of strength and footspeed is a major concern. Laterally, his feet are likely not quick enough to stay in front of perimeter oriented power forwards, while in the post it’s hard to see him matching up very well with bruising back to the basket types. Fazekas is already an average defender at best, so one has to question what to expect out of him at the next level.

The ironic part about Fazekas’s ability to shoot the basketball is the fact that while his jumper looks excellent, his shooting percentages from the 3-point line have gone down since his freshman year. As a freshman he was truly a perimeter big man that could really hit 3-point shots. However, as defenses have paid closer attention to him, his 3-point shooting has gone down.

Even though his arsenal of post moves is quite developed, he might have trouble against players that are almost always going to be strong than him. Will he still be able to get off the same type of shots he did in college at the next level, and will he be able to adapt his game to a different type of defender? He will also have to learn how to get post position against players that will physically not let him set up and get the ball freely.

Another issue with his lack of strength is the fact that potentially he could have trouble rebounding and boxing out strong players. Even against weak competition, at times he gets pushed around under the boards too easily.

Fazekas was an underrecruited high school player who ended up landing in Reno, Nevada to play for an emerging mid-major program that made the tournament in all three years he has played for them so far.

As a freshman he helped Nevada reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, playing 2nd fiddle for the most part to eventual #16 NBA draft pick Kirk Snyder. Fazekas averaged 12.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and shot 53% from the field and 36% from behind on the arc on over two attempts per game. His coming out party on the national level came in two shocking NCAA tournament upsets in the opening weekend over Gonzaga and Michigan State. He scored 12 and 16 points respectively with 7 rebounds in the first game and 10 in the second.

As a sophomore, Fazekas moved comfortably into the go-to role at Nevada after Snyder left early for the NBA draft. He averaged just under 21 points with 9.4 rebounds per game, shooting 50% from the field and 33% from behind the arc, this time on 3 attempts per game. His team had a terrific season and made the tournament as an 8 seed. They beat Texas in the opening round before losing to eventual NCAA tournament finalists Illinois. Fazekas played quite poorly in the tournament this year, shooting just 8/34 overall and averaging 10.5 points per game. He did pull down 10 rebounds in each game, though. He had some thoughts about entering the NBA draft that year, but his poor showing in March made him decide to come back.

Entering his junior year, Fazekas was already a well-known name amongst educated NCAA basketball fans. He upped his numbers to 22 points per game, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. He shot 53% from the field, 85% from the free throw line and 29% from behind the arc, on over 3 attempts per game. His team had a phenomenal year and made the tournament as a 5 seed, but were upset in the first round by Montana, in emphatic fashion. Fazekas got his by scoring 24 points with 12 rebounds and 3 blocks, mostly in the 2nd half.

If Fazekas can find a way to add some bulk to his skinny frame, his game could potentially translate to the NBA quite well, especially if he further improves on his 3-point shooting ability. There are some questions as to whether he can have the same success offensively against taller, stronger and quicker defenders at the next level however. Nonetheless, he is a fine talent, has wonderful ball control and is a fine passer. Combine that with his willingness to go in the post and score, he could end up being a very solid player to bring off the bench. If NBA teams think his body has more potential than it’s currently showing, he has a chance to land somewhere at the end of the 1st round. If not, he will either be drafted in the early 2nd or return to school for his senior year, as he is yet to hire an agent.

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