Ultra talented big man, with big potential and unlimited strength. Long, lanky and athletic, Bouroussis is not your average European young big body. He's very well built, not soft at all. He plays with a strong and powerful game, and can cause many problems to any defender as he can score in many ways, both under the basket and the perimeter. He runs the floor well, is a very good rebounder, an exceptional athlete for a European his size, and a player with a good knowledge of basketball fundamentals. He can use his body well in defense and can post up successfully too, but only when he wants too. His slashing ability is quite good, which is especially rare for such a big player. He can pull out of the paint and shoot, or even fire from downtown, as he has worked on his shot with patience, improving his shooting touch significantly, to the point that he is now an above average three-point shooter. He is pretty confident on the perimeter. In a word, he is a great talent
He seriously lacks mental strength. Despite his energy and athleticism, most of the times he looks like a fish out of water. Despite his ability to get in and change a game, he rarely does it. His coach doesn't trust him with significant playing time, simply because he is not trustworthy. Bouroussis has many physical skills, but hardly a clue of how to take advantage of them. Even when he enters the court, he seems passive, raw, confused and not focused at all. He is scared to take many shots and thinks about it too long, looking soft and insecure, something that opponent centers feast on. His decision making ability is at best pathetic. As a result, despite almost three years of experience in the Euroleague, he doesn't seem to have gained many things, especially in regards to experience and competitiveness and that's sad. In other words, he seems to be a lost talent.
It's clear that when you have a very talented player like Bouroussis, you need to use him in order for him to develop. Bouroussis, however, never got that. He had to fight to earn his minutes and he was never a fighter.
Skill wise, he appears to be a bit uncomfortable with his back to the basket, at that's why I honestly believe that his game is closer to an NBA Power Forward. He can finish with the right hand and he can dunk impressively, although he usually is a lay-up finisher. He has many moves inside too, but he is always confused and many times he does not to know what to do with the ball in his hands. Despite being a good perimeter shooter, his free throw shooting isn't great. He shoots around 60-62% and needs to improve here.
Defensively, he hasn't shown much. He has a problem with stronger players, but I think that his biggest difficulty is to keep up with the tempo of the game. He needs the ball in his hands, so he can make baskets and then you can see him improving on defense too. So, he doesn't really lack the fundamentals. Simply, when he feels that the he is a part of the team and he stays for significant time in the court, he will try his best and soon he can contribute on both sides of the floor. However, when he gets in for 5 minutes or less at a time, he again looks like a fish out of water. Confused Especially when he knows that he'll go out after his first turnover.
He plays for AEK Athens, a top-16 Euroleague team, which is included in the elite Greek A1 teams too. In 16 Euroleague games up to now, he averages 3.4 ppg and 3.5 rpg in slightly less than 10 mpg. He had 9 points and 10 rebounds in a November loss versus Maccabi Tel Aviv. In the Greek A1, he goes for 4.0 ppg and 3.2 rpg in 10 mpg.
Bouroussis had a nice stretch of games in the Euroleague in the five weeks that starting big man Sandro Nicevic was injured. The youngster was averaging 16.4 mpg, 7.2 ppg, shooting 61% from the field and leading AEK in rebounding with 7.0 rpg (in just 16 mpg). However, this was a bad period for the team, which ended in a 1-4 record. After Nicevic's return, the kid stayed in the bench, as the Croat was unanimously one of the best big men in the 1st round of the Euroleague.
Automatically eligible as a 1983 prospect. Could be a good player to pick up in the 2nd round and let develop in Europe, hoping that his potential materializes. He plays for AEK, and has NBA scouts watching him in practice (he plays on the same team and Nikolas Zissis) on occasion, so people know who he is and what he is capable of, despite not getting much extended playing time this year.
Potentially, I think that Bouroussis is clearly NBA material (maybe a power forward there, but he could play both frontline positions), but only if he changes his mindset. His physical tools are rare to find. He is very talented, but he is now close to 22 and I don't remember many players changing character in that age. I think it might be too late for him now and I don't think that any scout will keep his eye on him for over a month without getting frustrated.
It's a shame because he has all the skills. His basketball IQ is good. He has a basketball mind in a basketball body. He is not soft, he has completely adopted basketball fundamentals. He can work, but only if he understands that he will earn something from that. I think that he likes the game, indeed, I think he loves it, but only when he scores 1-2 baskets and then stays on the court for 10-12 minutes or so. He really seems to want to be a contributor, but he gets discouraged. He wants to be a star, but he lacks character and he doesn't allow his coach to accept the risk of giving him a starting job. He is enthusiastic, but his psyche is affected by many things. I don't really think that he realizes where he is. He plays for a top-16 Euroleague team, he is a great talent, he has scouts coming for Zissis and opponent youngsters, so he technically is still in the game. Yet, he is still full of ups and downs. He is not trustworthy, but if given the choice, I'd take the risk
Bouroussis became known to the Greek basketball fans, after a positive game in the A1 Finals versus Panathinaikos in 2003. Star Power Forward Dimos Dikoudis was injured and the then unknown 19-year old Bouroussis scored 10 points to help AEK win the game but not the finals. The year after, he didn't get the playing time one would expect though. Not much progress in his game during the past months either.