After a thrilling Winner League stretch run that culmulated in a close finals game between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Rishon Lezion, it’s about time to evaluate what we saw in the past weeks. In the first of three parts it’s all about the guards. Yam Madar, Jordan Davis, Alex Hamilton – those and plenty more!
Yam Madar (Hapoel TA) – ’00 | 1.90m
Needs to get drafted. Still has problems with his three ball, but made unbelievable plays on defense and has the tools to contribute on offense. Good midrange shooter and overall really quick with the ball. Not consistent enough, but showed more than once what he’s capable of. Plays flashy and can make great reads on offense, but not a guy yet who can run the show for 30 or 40 minutes. Is a pain in the ass on defense, slides his feet well and is able to pressure full court. Was one of the main reasons why Hapoel played good defense and forced quite some turnovers. Really impressed with his effort. Has good size, but should continue to add strength. Showed that he can be a good three point shooter on the youth level, but that hasn’t been the case so far on the pro level. Overall a really solid two-way player, who helped himself big time in the last month or so. Needs to (and will) get drafted.
Noam Dovrat (Rishon Lezion) – ’02 | 1.94m
Another young Israelian prospect and only 18 years old. Tall guard who can handle and distribute the ball. Has solid size, but isn’t really athletic. Has good IQ though, nice feel for cuts and knows where to be. Possesses good passing ability and throws bullets out of the pick and roll. His outside shot isn’t good enough yet, but has definitely potential. Needs to work on his free throw shooting. Played less minutes in the last games, but has a bright future.
Amit Ebo (Maccabi Ashdod) – ’99 | 1.80m
Might not get the headlines on a poor Ashdod team and with Madar and Avdija shining, but he’s another prospect worth following. Ebo is a tiny but quick point guard with great shooting and really decent passing ability. He can pull up in transition or in the pick and roll and really used the uptick in playing time to his advantage. Has physical limitations, but can play on and off the ball and knows how to manipulate the defense in the pick and roll. The leftie guard had 16/4/4 against Maccabi and 15/6/4 against Hapoel Tel Aviv and more than displayed his potential. Player to watch!
Michael Brisker (Maccabi Haifa) – ’98 | 1.85m
Young combo guard, who got more and more comfortable with each game. Likes to take and hit (deep) threes and while he’s not a lead guard yet, he had some solid reads in there. Couldn’t make a shot at the beginning, but was an important piece at the end. Is in a good development situation and showed improvements as a creator. But still needs time.
Alex Hamilton (Rishon Lezion) – ’93 | 1.91m
Two-way guard. Can play and guard multiple positions and can really make an impact defensively. Has quick hands, a nose for steals and isn’t a stranger to ferocious chasedown blocks. Good and smooth athlete, glides over the court. Pushes the pace after stops and looks for teammates in open court. Mostly a lefty, but can make floaters and lob passes with the right hand too. Posts up smaller guys. His jumper is the only big knock at this point, inconsistent and without much lift. Can hit a three here and there, but mostly a guy that prefers the drive and the assist. Plays for the team, not a selfish guy. Good get for Galatasaray as a backcourt reinforcement. Sometimes puts the foot off the pedal and lacks aggressiveness over 40 minutes, but when he’s rolling you better watch out.
D’Angelo Harrison (Rishon Lezion) – ’93 | 1.93m
Bucket getter at the two spot, had 38 points in the final game against Maccabi Tel Aviv. Can score the ball, but also had some nice moments as a passer each game too. Finds guys out of the pick and roll and isn’t a one trick pony. Was kinda bad for his standards from three, but great from midrange and really knows how to draw fouls. Good feel for where the defense is. Much better going and driving to his right then to his left. Pulls up in transition, but also deadly as a spot up option. Great fit with Hamilton next to him. Should get some nice offers.
Andrew Andrews (Maccabi Haifa) -’93 | 1.88m
Had his ups and downs on offense, but answered basically every question about his defense. Played really good on that end and showed effort, on and off the ball. Was more effective on offense when he got in rhythm early. Likes to play on the ball, but was more in an off ball role next to Speedy Smith. Not a coincidence that he got the gameday MVP when Smith was out. Elite catch and shoot sniper, was solid as a playmaker, but could have been better converting near the rim. Knows how to draw fouls and push the pace. Should be in a good situation next season at Darussafaka, where he can handle the ball and compete at a high level. Really good when he’s in elite shape.
Jordan Davis (Hapoel TA) – ’97 | 1.88m
Scorer, who tries to get to the rim at all cost. 82 of his 126 FGA came at the rim. His three ball is really inconsistent and frankly below average, but he’s so quick with the ball that he can overshadow it at times. Can hit some from midrange, but definitely looks for the inside finish first. Uses change of pace moves well and gets by his defender on a regular basis. Almost unstoppable one on one, although opponents know by now that they can give him room and collapse in the paint. Can finish at the rim with both hands and has the creativity to either score or draw a foul. Some of his drives end up in really wild shots, but has gotten slightly better at it. Can pressure the ball on defense with his agility, but isn’t able to guard bigs after switches. Has helped himself overall with his play in Israel and if he hits some shots from mid- or longrange in Murcia next season, defenses are in trouble. Has to continue to improve his decison making and his shooting though, were never his strength.
Sek Henry (Hapoel TA) – ’87 | 1.93m
Didn’t play up to his full potential in his eleven games, but still a really, really solid guard. Has to rely on his three point shooting a lot due to his fading quickness, but still impacts the game in other ways. Shooting percentages were below his standard and need to improve especially with the increased volume now, but he showed in the past that he can do that. Was a factor on defense as always, guarded 1-3, switched onto bigs and helped with his rebounding and his physical presence. His size and his body are elite at that position and his versatility is also more than known. Isn’t the quickest anymore, but still has high IQ and knows how to play the game. Might be more of a good complementary guard next to another big time player now, but that’s just how things go. Will be a good addition for Karsiyaka.
Joe Thomasson (Gilboa Galil) – ’93 | 1.93m
Really good shooting/combo guard with good size. Really slim though. Has some Erick Green to him. A little less smooth and a little less elevation while shooting, but still some parallels. Efficient shooter from deep, either as a pull up shooter or as a catch and shoot threat. Likes to shoot it in isolations or after switches and has a high release point. Takes big shots. Gets to his spots in the pick and roll and doesn’t need much daylight to pull the trigger. Decent first step at that size, gets to the rim (especially in open court), but has trouble finishing against contact. Better driving to his right than to his left. Likes to play in a structured system but can break out. Likes to run, but stays under control. Good use of crossovers and eurosteps. Can really cover ground and is super quick in transition. Pushes the pace. Plays smart and really, really is a solid player. Not great defensively though, where he gets stuck in screens and has trouble matching the physicality.
On the rise
Caleb Agada (Be’er Sheva) – ’94 | 1.96m
Kind of an unorthodox guard, who already signed a new contract for next season with Be’er Sheva. 1.96m tall, can play 1, 2 and some 3 and just fits into the system that’s in place, where everyone has to do a little bit of everything on both ends. Has a fairly high center of gravity with arms and legs flying around and – as mentioned – tries do a little bit of everything on the court. Is a streaky shooter, most of the time slightly below average, but can also go 4 of 6 from deep. Hits spot up threes quite well, but is more comfortable with the midrange if he has to create for himself. Plays a little bit like the McCollum brothers in terms of getting to his midrange J with sudden herkey jerkey crossovers and high release point. Is a rebounding G/F, who likes to push the pace after grabbing the rebound. Made a good impression after playing in the second division in Spain.
Speedy Smith (Maccabi Haifa) – ’93 | 1.91m
Floor general and pass first player, but is getting more and more confident with his three ball and his overall scoring. Can hit it from midrange too. Good size, good vision, solid but not elite quickness. Plays unselfish and makes the right reads. Can play in transition and in half court. Could step up his off ball game if he plays next to another playmaking guard, but mostly an on ball creator. Really solid defender.
Amir Bell (Be’er Sheva) – ’96 | 1.93m
Another Be’er Sheva player who can easily play and guard 1/2/3 and do a little bit of everything. Absolutely elite defender thanks to good size, wingspan, agility and effort. Really gets after it, but has to stay out of foul trouble and tends to overplay at times. Offensively not outstanding, but at least solid in many areas. Can handle the ball, penetrate to the rim and is pretty versatile. Needs to work on his shotmaking and his shot creation though. Not the best shooter overall, but 25.9% from three shouldn’t be the norm for him. Will be better next season. Overall a really solid two-way player that should have a long and successful career. Would be a surefire BCL/EC player with a little bit more output on offense. Under contract with Be’er Sheva for next season.
Lindell Wigginton (Nes Ziona) – ’98 | 1.85m
Really quick, smooth and shifty guard, but not someone who can run the offense. Not the best feel for the game. Was in a tough situation in Ziona: First stint in Europe, new roster and overall not too many guidelines on offense. Hasn’t found the perfect mix between scoring and creating for others yet. Inconsistent shooter and not great from the free throw line. Draws a lot of fouls though, especially at the rim. Has to find his role over here, right now he’s more of a G league guy than a (high-level) player for Europe. Hasn’t helped himself.
Old but gold
Paul Stoll (Maccabi Ashdod) – ’85 | 1.80m
Still one of the most entertaining players in Israel. Maccabi Ashdod was already relegated before the crucial games even started, but that didn’t hurt his style of play one bit. You can see his age (34) and his declining efficiency more and more, but there aren’t many guys out there with the ability to splash multiple deep threes in a row while also casually dishing out 10+ assists. Stoll just knows how to manipulate the defense, plays at his own speed and was the main reason why Ashdod put up 80+ points basicallyevery game. His defense is still terrible and his finishing at the rim looks creative but isn’t efficient, but if you just wanna watch offense or a game for pure entertainment purposes, he should be your guy!