1989, PF, 6-9, Serbia; 15.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Macvan is a big guy, actually too big for his 6-9 body. He could try losing some weight (its easy to realize theres room for improvement when he takes his jersey off), although he will always be a pretty wide guy, unathletic and very strong. More focused playing a big man role than in past occasions, he was a monster in the paint. Hes very intelligent playing without the ball to gain good position, while he shows nice footwork and a perfect use of his body to find the way to the basket. Pretty skilled finishing with both hands around the rim, he could still improve his touch when it comes to releasing jump hooks.
He also faced the basket to attack his match-ups. Hes not particularly quick, but his ball-handling skills are very nice for his size and he knows how to protect the ball with his body. Enjoying range in his shot out to the three-point line, hes not the most reliable guy firing from the perimeter. Although he played more of a finishing role this time, hes also a very nice passer from the perimeter or the low post, something he showed on a few occasions.
Solid on defense, using his physical strength and showing nice lateral mobility considering his limited athleticism, he wasnt always effective rebounding the ball. Of course, getting position is not difficult for him at all, but his heavy feet are not very helpful. Hes certainly a guy with limited potential, but so far hes making the most out of his gifts, and not only keeps dominating as he grows older and advances categories, but to end up as the MVP of the tournament, having been born in November of 1989 against players mostly born in 1988, is nothing short of remarkable.
1988, C, 6-11, Australia; 22.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 1.6 apg, 4.4 topg
Not the most athletic guy around, hes one of those extremely fundamentally sound big men that come as a blessing for any teams game. Skilled, smart, aggressive--he just made things happen. Although Ogilvy enjoys solid shooting touch from mid-range, he basically made a living in the paint, consistently looking for the surroundings of the rim, either facing or with his back to the basket. Very solid from the low post, he doesnt enjoy fancy moves, but hes pretty effective with simple spins, aggressiveness looking for contact (hes a strong guy who easily plays off contact) and a nice ability to finish with either hand, even if he might eventually force the use of his good hand, the right one. Still its perhaps more usual to see him facing the basket to attack his match-up off the dribble.
He doesnt need that much space to operate, showing nice ball-handling skills and a solid first step, being very difficult to contest for big-men opponents. He sometimes tries too hard, ignoring whether theres too much traffic and eventually committing an offensive foul or turnover, but nothing really serious as its more of a sign of his aggressiveness on the offensive end. A very solid passer from both the high and low posts, hes just a smart kid with a very good understanding of the game.
Defensively, we find lights and shadows. He was exposed against the very first quality inside player he faced, Paulao Prestes from Brazil, in the quarterfinals. Ogilvy seems to be tougher on the offensive end than on defense. Hes not a very physical guy when it comes to his opponents, and a strong banger as Paulao did significant damage.
Still, he emerged as an excellent shot-blocker, making the most out of his athleticism by showcasing terrific timing and court awareness, always evaluating when to attack his rival and usually avoiding fakes, while being able to reject shots with both hands, actually a very useful skill to contest shots. However, he's not what you would call a great intimidator that consistently scares away opponents from the paint, as his activity on team defense shouldn't be labeled as outstanding, which is probably due to his limited athleticism. He did display solid lateral quickness for a guy his size, though, and the ability to use his long arms to eventually reach the ball when an opponent tried to attack him off the dribble.
All in all, Ogilvy might not be the most intriguing guy around given his limited athleticism, but you don't find guys with his size and abilities every day .
1988, C, 6-10, Brazil; 23 ppg, 14.7 rpg
Paulao is a very inside guy, who does most of the damage in the surroundings of the basket. He easily gains position down low and asks for the ball to play in the post. Not the most skilled guy there, still he shows effective moves where the good use of his strong body stands out. Prestes loves using contact to gain advantages against his weaker rivals. He does not enjoy a great soft touch around the basket, but can settle for right-handed hooks, short turnaround jumpers or just overpower his rivals on his way to a layup. He was the foundation of the Brazilian game as his sole presence balanced their inside-outside game, and provided more opportunities for his teammates. Actually, he did a pretty nice job finding the open man on the perimeter from the low post, even on the weak side.
Defensively, he is pretty physical down low, although he suffers against more mobile defenders. He is not particularly athletic, and his lateral quickness is just average. On the other hand, he is pretty effective gaining position for the rebound, and he showed a certain nose to grab it, gaining massive production as a result. Anyway, his potential seems limited by the fact that, at 6-10, with his athleticism and his center-oriented skills, he is an undersized guy.
1988, C, 7-1, France; 7.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.7 bpg
His footwork in the low post still looks a bit unpolished, and he doesnt have the strength to make up for it with some banging and physical play. He can convert hook shots, but still not on a regular basis. When it came to putting the ball on the floor, he struggles surviving defensive helps, as his ball-handling skills are rather poor, his dribble pretty high, and it often takes him too much time to perform the moves he pursues. He was particularly abused in the semifinal game against the US, as the quick American perimeter players were always ready to throw a hand at his dribble. It looks like well have to keep waiting until he finally develops some reliable skills. For the moment, he was only really effective playing without the ball to get open looks near the basket, or scoring off offensive rebounds.
Things looked better defensively. Ajinca emerged as a very intimidating presence on the lane, blocking and changing shots. Its unbelievable how high he can get with his length and athleticism. Hes also improving his positioning and defensive mobility, although his lateral quickness still remains pretty mediocre. He was also very helpful in the rebounding department. Despite often being outmuscled, nobody can get as high as him.
Patience and hard work, those are the right ingredients for him.
1988, C, 7-3, Serbia; 8.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.6 topg
Hes huge, one of the biggest players in the championship, enjoys a nice frame, already some decent strength and runs the floor decently, particularly considering that hes a bit slow. That slowness was especially exposed playing against the quick USA players in the final, where things were going too fast for him most of the time. Actually, he might eventually become a defensive liability against big guy who can take him out of the paint with a mid-range jumper and then use their quickness to punish his lack of lateral mobility.
On the other hand, hes a very dangerous guy near the basket, as he can play off the ball and enjoys good hands to receive it and dunk it. Indeed he tries to dunk everything within 4-6 feet from the basket, sometimes even ignoring an eventual serious blocking menace. Hes also pretty intimidating guarding his own paint, using his excellent wingspan to contest short shots.
Anyway, hes a work in project. The best thing is the way hes improving and the fact that he tries different things, like a mid-range shot here (hes not particularly bad from the free-throw line), some dribbling there, a solid low post move or a hook shot. Everything looks pretty unpolished, but still somehow promising. On top of it, his positive attitude and passion for the game.
1988, C, 7-0, Serbia; 9.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Being much less of an offensive catalyst for his team, Raduljica enjoyed a smaller share of the ball, and therefore less opportunities to shine. His low post game got a bit exposed, showing that he needs to work on his footwork and especially on his ability to finish against opposition down low to become an effective post player. Besides, a small injury he suffered against France didnt help him for the rest of the championship, perhaps lacking some certain aggressiveness. Still, he was a great contributor in the rebounding department.
Anyway, hes still an excellent prospect, a big guy with nice athleticism, a high basketball IQ and a very solid array of skills.
1988, C, 7-1, Nigeria; 9.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.8 bpg, 2 spg, 3.2 topg
Skill-wise, he's also a very raw player. His low post game shows some promise, but his footwork needs a lot of work. And still he tries and keeps a certain poise playing down low. Right handed, if he goes left from the post he primarily looks for a pass, actually showing a decent ability to find his teammates; going to the right, he can opt for a turnaround jumpshot, and also seems to have some ability to release a short hook, but looks extremely inconsistent. Still, the good news is that he's a pretty tough guy who doesn't avoid contact, although he's certainly limited by his skinny body.
Alabi can eventually face the basket to attack his opponents, always from short distances, where he doesn't need to dribble much, but shows a nice first step. He can also play off the ball and likes to explode for the dunk if he has the opportunity. Very active looking for the rebound, he tries to put back, again with a dunk, everything that falls in his lap on the offensive glass, which is sometimes a bad option since he often doesn't always enjoy the best position to do so. Actually you always have the feeling that part of his efforts are headed towards impressing the audience rather than being effective on the basketball court.
Intense and aggressive, Alabi is capable of diving for a loose ball. He's always alert to block any opponent's shot near the basket. He can get really high thanks to his combination of length and leaping ability. Alabi is pretty much all about physical gifts, and not so much about basketball IQ, but anyway, he's a player with nice potential to keep under the radar.
1988, C, 6-9, France; 8.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg
1988, PF/C, 6-8, USA; 10 ppg, 6.1 rpg
Enjoying good, strong hands, Thompson led the US Team in the rebounding department, while providing a nice defensive effort.
1989, PF/C, 6-10, Lithuania; 7 ppg, 6.4 rpg
Things look better if we talk about defense and rebounding. Hes a pretty solid guy, who uses his mobility and excellent wingspan well. His rebounding production per minute was just outstanding. Still, were eager to see some noticeable improvements in a guy who skill-wise looks exactly the same as he did two years ago, even if he's developing nicely physically.
1988, C, 6-10, USA; 5.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg
1988, C, 6-11, Lithuania; 8.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg
Skill wise, hes a very limited player, who basically lives off the creativity of his teammates and his ability to crash the offensive board to get second chance points. Hes a nice player in pick-and-roll situations thanks to his athleticism and length, allowing him to easily finish around the rim. He can shoot jumpers with some range, but hes still not a consistent player in this regard.