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Santiago Aldama

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Santiago Aldama 

Post#1 » by E S V L » Fri Jul 30, 2021 12:12 pm

I found this:
Spoiler:
First, anyone saying Aldama is an unknown is an idiot with no knowledge about Euro basketball and his opinion should be safely ignored. He is the son of an international Spanish player who played against the Dream Team in the '92 olympics. As some have already mentioned, he was the best player in the youth Spanish national teams for 3-4 years and and led Spain to victory in the under-19 world championship, winning tournament MVP ahead of every other international player in this draft, including Asperen Sengun and Usman Garuba (who played in the same team). Back then he was projected far ahead of Garuba, with comparisons being made to a young Pau Gasol (who hadn't even reached the same level of success at those ages). Future mock drafts penciled him as a high lottery pick, I recall seeing him as a top 5 at some point.

But then he made a number of unexpected career decisions. He didn't come from any of the ACB teams' youth programs, but rather from an obscure high school in the Canary Islands (they do produce a lot of good players over there). He rejected offers from several top ACB teams, including the ones based in the islands, in order to stay in school. In itself not a strange decision, but for someone who projected so high at the time it was quite surprising.

Then, when he finished high school and everyone expected him to join FC Barcelona (he played for them in a Euroleague-sponsored youth tournament) he turned down a contract offer and decided to go to college in the USA, ostensibly more for educational purposes than as a result of a basketball decision. This was seen as a very puzzling decision since a pro contract offer at that level would set him up economically and wouldn't prevent him (on the contrary) to get an education later on if his basketball career didn't pan out. In a recent interview he explained he was recruited by Loyola's assistant coach, who sold him the program's ability to get him a real education while still playing at a high level (I guess compared to other college programs where "education" is not exactly a priority).

He had been dragging a patellar tendonitis for some time and it flared up ahead of his rookie season, so he and Loyola decided he should have surgery to correct it, with the effect of losing most of the season, first recovering from surgery and then due to the COVID shutdown. He could not return to Spain for months due to the travel lockdown, and when he did he refused again to play with ACB teams since a pro contract would keep him from returning to Loyola. He did practice with an ACB team though.

He went back for his sophomore season where he put serious numbers against not exactly elite competition, so it's hard to gauge his current level. Because he was in the US and limited by travel restrictions he's been disconnected from the Spanish national team program, so he kind of fell out of the map from this side of the pond. In the meantime Garuba exploded in Real Madrid's youth teams and eventually in the ACB/Euroleague so he eclipsed Aldama as the top prospect of his generation. At the same time he kept dropping in the mocks from being a potential lottery pick down to the 2nd round and maybe even being undrafted. Hard to say how realistic those predictions were since mocks in the 2nd round are a crapshoot. But it was still a bit shocking to see him taken in the 1st round.

I have no idea if he plans to join the NBA next season or not. I'm not sure if he could go back to college. I find it unlikely he'd go to Europe since he's not going to get a better contract than his rookie scale contract, plus it'd be hard to negotiate an NBA out clause. Assuming he stays with the team my guess is he will be available for summer league and training camp and will spend significant time in the G league in his first season.

If he had fallen to the 2nd round the situation would be more complicated. He could get a better contract in Europe for sure, so he would likely become a draft and stash pick. The problem there is although a 2nd rounder is not limited by the rookie scale and could get an enticing offer if he grew up as a player there's the risk of him becoming a star in Europe and deciding to pass on the NBA (like Sergi Llull did, for example). No idea if this was a factor in the decision of trading up to #30 in order to pick him.

What do I think about the pick? I honestly don't know. If he gets anywhere close to his projections from high school this would be an incredible pick, again, he was unironically compared to Pau. But he also looks very understrengthed for the NBA, I could see him being pushed around like a ragdoll until he puts some muscle on. I could also see him flaming out if he doesn't show progress quickly. On the other hand this is a player that has proven he's not attracted by the big city lights at all. If he turns out to be a good player he could be a lifer.

We'll see, I'm as surprised as you. I'm moderately optimistic but he's not going to be a contributor out of the gates.
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Re: Santiago Aldama 

Post#2 » by jman3134 » Fri Jul 30, 2021 1:06 pm

I do not see the team fit, though I like Santi as a development prospect. He is active and has nice feet. This could help him become versatile down the road. Right now, the strength profile isn't enough to defend bigs and he probably couldn't defend wings all game out on the perimeter. We need to work with him to perfect his outside shooting, which was decent, but could use some work. My biggest concern is that he is not a defensive match if they are trying to use him as a big. Truthfully, he functioned as a wing at Loyola, so maybe they have other plans for him. Spent a lot of time watching his tape:

In my new segment, 'Diggin' in the Tape', I review the top trending prospects in major college basketball and draft eligible prospects out of the G League. In my first episode, I review Loyola (Md.)'s Santi Aldama, a positionless 6'11 Spanish wing/forward with a versatile offensive toolset. While his team began the season on a covid break and this contributed to their slow start (in addition to playing Lafayette in 6 of their first 10 games), they have picked up steam recently and could be dangerous in a conference tournament scenario. Aldama has performed admirably, showcasing a more consistent stroke from long range to complement his high basketball IQ. In terms of his background, Aldama comes from a basketball family. Santi's father played professionally in Spain and Portugal, and ultimately for the Spanish National Team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Similarly, his uncle was a professional basketball player in Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Santi cemented his status as an elite prospect at the FIBA U18 European Championships, where he led his Spain team to a gold medal, earning an MVP after averaging 18.0ppg 7.6rpg 2.6apg [2.3bpg 1.9spg and posting the highest plus-minus rating at the event]. These performances placed him squarely on the NBA's radar.

In terms of his evaluation, most of the lure behind Aldama as a pro prospect stems from his intriguing offensive profile, coupled with his good measurables. Standing at 6'11, Santi functions primarily as a wing in Loyola (Md.)'s offense. He possesses excellent straight line quickness - bolstered by nimble feet - and thrives moving without the ball, demonstrating an advanced awareness of floor spacing. As such, Aldama is constantly in motion and he utilizes the threat of his outside shot to backdoor cut on his opponents. After beating his man, Aldama does a nice job finishing either bounce passes or lob plays over the top of the help defender. When he does not finish on these plays, the misses are mainly 'concentration misses', as opposed to instances where he was disrupted by contact.


http://jtmbasketball.blogspot.com/2021/02/diggin-in-tape-part-1-santi-aldama.html?m=1
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Re: Santiago Aldama 

Post#3 » by E S V L » Fri Jul 30, 2021 5:08 pm

Based on the highlights I`ve watched and the materials I`ve read, he intrigues me a lot. It looks like he was promised by us. When someone easily makes step-back threes in the game is like wow
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Re: Santiago Aldama 

Post#4 » by jman3134 » Fri Jul 30, 2021 5:22 pm

E S V L wrote:Based on the highlights I`ve watched and the materials I`ve read, he intrigues me a lot. It looks like he was promised by us. When someone easily makes step-back threes in the game is like wow



Which is why he shut down all workouts and his draft stock basically was nonexistent. The Grizz did a good job of hiding it.

He was a very streaky three point shooter, but I think this is an area of development for him. I like Santi as a player. What I like most is his fluidity of movement for a 6'11 player. This portends big things down the road and suggests much higher upside than what we saw on the court last year. The lack of vertical rim protection isn't great, but if we play him as a stretch four, this weakness can be mitigated a bit by defensive scheme.

My greatest concern and the reason I think we might take a step back is rim protection, which is why I am not as enthused as I otherwise might be. Jonas was physical and brought this kind of presence in the paint. Adams has injury concerns, but might be able to bring somewhat of a similar presence defensively. But what about the interior offense lost? I understand that the NBA has changed a bit, but Santi is not a true post and I don't see us going to Adams as much down there. This means a great deal of our most efficient offense is off the table. This could mean a step back for our team.

What confuses me most is the direction. We drafted several ready now players in previous years in Clarke and Bane. They produced pretty quickly. Now, we trade our center (who we didn't play well without when he went to the bench in the playoffs) and draft two developmental prospects. If we want to add outside shooting, why not take Wieskamp at 40 and trade a future 1st and 2nd for Aldama at 30?

My point is that it doesn't appear to be a consistent strategy.
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Re: Santiago Aldama 

Post#5 » by E S V L » Fri Jul 30, 2021 5:26 pm

jman3134 wrote:
E S V L wrote:Based on the highlights I`ve watched and the materials I`ve read, he intrigues me a lot. It looks like he was promised by us. When someone easily makes step-back threes in the game is like wow



Which is why he shut down all workouts and his draft stock basically was nonexistent. The Grizz did a good job of hiding it.

He was a very streaky three point shooter, but I think this is an area of development for him. I like Santi as a player. What I like most is his fluidity of movement for a 6'11 player. This portends big things down the road and suggests much higher upside than what we saw on the court last year. The lack of vertical rim protection isn't great, but if we play him as a stretch four, this weakness can be mitigated a bit by defensive scheme.

My greatest concern and the reason I think we might take a step back is rim protection, which is why I am not as enthused as I otherwise might be. Jonas was physical and brought this kind of presence in the paint. Adams has injury concerns, but might be able to bring somewhat of a similar presence defensively. But what about the interior offense lost? I understand that the NBA has changed a bit, but Santi is not a true post and I don't see us going to Adams as much down there. This means a great deal of our most efficient offense is off the table. This could mean a step back for our team.


Ja should be in charge now for interior offence presence. Who will be able to stop him?
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Re: Santiago Aldama 

Post#6 » by jman3134 » Fri Jul 30, 2021 5:37 pm

E S V L wrote:
jman3134 wrote:
E S V L wrote:Based on the highlights I`ve watched and the materials I`ve read, he intrigues me a lot. It looks like he was promised by us. When someone easily makes step-back threes in the game is like wow



Which is why he shut down all workouts and his draft stock basically was nonexistent. The Grizz did a good job of hiding it.

He was a very streaky three point shooter, but I think this is an area of development for him. I like Santi as a player. What I like most is his fluidity of movement for a 6'11 player. This portends big things down the road and suggests much higher upside than what we saw on the court last year. The lack of vertical rim protection isn't great, but if we play him as a stretch four, this weakness can be mitigated a bit by defensive scheme.

My greatest concern and the reason I think we might take a step back is rim protection, which is why I am not as enthused as I otherwise might be. Jonas was physical and brought this kind of presence in the paint. Adams has injury concerns, but might be able to bring somewhat of a similar presence defensively. But what about the interior offense lost? I understand that the NBA has changed a bit, but Santi is not a true post and I don't see us going to Adams as much down there. This means a great deal of our most efficient offense is off the table. This could mean a step back for our team.


Ja should be in charge now for interior offence presence. Who will be able to stop him?


Ja and Jonas had a decent rapport in the pick and roll game, so we lose a bit of that. Then, when the offense was stagnant, we used to be able to throw it down to Jonas for a high percentage bucket in the post. I understand that Ja can get to the rim at will and moving Jonas out of the paint (or trading him) was better for spacing. But, it also makes the offense less versatile and more Ja-dependent.

As I said previously, we drafted Ja Morant and he needed a year or so to really come into his own. If the timeline is/was longer, why did we draft two ready made players with our last two 1st rounders in Bane and Clarke and compete for a playoff spot? We could have had a higher draft selection and paired Ja next to a more explosive offensive contributor off the bounce (than we currently have) this year. Was it just a matter of trial and error where we decided we could not realistically compete with the current roster and now we are moving the timeline further out?
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Re: Santiago Aldama 

Post#7 » by E S V L » Fri Jul 30, 2021 6:30 pm

jman3134 wrote:
E S V L wrote:
jman3134 wrote:

Which is why he shut down all workouts and his draft stock basically was nonexistent. The Grizz did a good job of hiding it.

He was a very streaky three point shooter, but I think this is an area of development for him. I like Santi as a player. What I like most is his fluidity of movement for a 6'11 player. This portends big things down the road and suggests much higher upside than what we saw on the court last year. The lack of vertical rim protection isn't great, but if we play him as a stretch four, this weakness can be mitigated a bit by defensive scheme.

My greatest concern and the reason I think we might take a step back is rim protection, which is why I am not as enthused as I otherwise might be. Jonas was physical and brought this kind of presence in the paint. Adams has injury concerns, but might be able to bring somewhat of a similar presence defensively. But what about the interior offense lost? I understand that the NBA has changed a bit, but Santi is not a true post and I don't see us going to Adams as much down there. This means a great deal of our most efficient offense is off the table. This could mean a step back for our team.


Ja should be in charge now for interior offence presence. Who will be able to stop him?


Ja and Jonas had a decent rapport in the pick and roll game, so we lose a bit of that. Then, when the offense was stagnant, we used to be able to throw it down to Jonas for a high percentage bucket in the post. I understand that Ja can get to the rim at will and moving Jonas out of the paint (or trading him) was better for spacing. But, it also makes the offense less versatile and more Ja-dependent.

As I said previously, we drafted Ja Morant and he needed a year or so to really come into his own. If the timeline is/was longer, why did we draft two ready made players with our last two 1st rounders in Bane and Clarke and compete for a playoff spot? We could have had a higher draft selection and paired Ja next to a more explosive offensive contributor off the bounce (than we currently have) this year. Was it just a matter of trial and error where we decided we could not realistically compete with the current roster and now we are moving the timeline further out?


1. Jonas is kind of player who needs the whole team playing around his best skills, including our only superstar, to be effective. Otherwise, he is just a liability. He cannot make other players better. That`s why he was traded by Toronto, that`s why he was traded by Memphis, and he will be traded many times more.

2. To maximize Ja, we need to provide him space under the rim and 4 shooters on the perimeter. Plain and simple. Ja met 2 guys under the rim all the time when he played with Jonas. And he still was effective. We need to maximize our superstar.

3. In terms of timeline, we have accelerated our development. We are now a PO team even without JV. Our roster is complete, so we can afford to draft high-risk high-reward players without sacrificing our current competitive status.
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Re: Santiago Aldama 

Post#8 » by jman3134 » Fri Jul 30, 2021 6:41 pm

That 100% will depend on how Adams plays, which is anyone's guess. Whenever Jonas was out in the playoffs with foul trouble, our team was outplayed. This was pretty noticeable.

How is Adams any different? He isn't going to space.
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Re: Santiago Aldama 

Post#9 » by E S V L » Fri Jul 30, 2021 7:35 pm

jman3134 wrote:That 100% will depend on how Adams plays, which is anyone's guess. Whenever Jonas was out in the playoffs with foul trouble, our team was outplayed. This was pretty noticeable.

How is Adams any different? He isn't going to space.


Nobody cares about Adams. JJJ is our starting centre. He played against Gobert in PO, in case you've noticed. Once we open the floor - it’s going to be a different basketball for sure. More dynamic.
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Re: Santiago Aldama 

Post#10 » by VCfor3 » Fri Jul 30, 2021 11:23 pm

Think Santiago could play some PF?
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Re: Santiago Aldama 

Post#11 » by E S V L » Sun Aug 1, 2021 3:10 am

VCfor3 wrote:Think Santiago could play some PF?


I think so. His skillset hardly matches either standard position - PF or C. He can shoot pull up step back 3pts, he is a pointcenter like Joker, he can attacks the rim in a variety of ways, he moves well, I don’t know to be honest, but I am quite excited and intrigued. This kid was MVP just a year or two ago. That’s a great option from the bench. Him and Tillman? Easily. Him and JJJ? Why not.
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