While the focus for most American fans during the World FIBA Championship is on Team USA, Knick fans might want to check in on Russia too since they feature our new backup center: Timofey Mozgov. He doesn’t start for them, but the 24-year-old has either led or tied for second in scoring on two of their three games. Yeah, he was non-existant in the third, but still those other two games show serious promise. And in those two games, he only played 21 and 20 minutes, meaning he outscored most of his teammates even though in each one four or five of them got more playing time than him.
The one stinker was the 56-65 loss to Turkey where Timo only played 12 minutes. I didn’t see the game, so I don’t know if he got so few minutes ‘cuz he was sucking, or he simply didn’t produce because he didn’t get enough minutes to get into the flow of the game.
His best scoring game was today’s 72-66 victory over the Ivory Coast. In 21 minutes he lead the team with 19 points on a phenomenal 8 for 10 shooting (and 3 of 5 from the line). He also was solid in the team’s first game on Saturday, a 75-66 victory over Puerto Rico. Before we go any further, I just want to make sure you notice this irrelevant, but astonishing fact: so far their opponents have scored 66, 65 and 66 points. Talk about a consistent defense!
The bad: he’s sucked at rebounding, notching 2, 5 and 2 boards. The dude is 7’1″ and could probably be out-rebounded by the 5’8″ L’il Him, Nate Robinson. At least Timo’s gotten a block each game (an impressive amount in his 12 minute game, not so much in his 21 minuter, but it’s still a better rate than anyone who we played decent minutes last year).
For more info, check out this excellent scouting report by Sebastian Prutti on NBAPlaybook.com. While Prutti finds promise in many of Timo’s less flashy skills like setting picks and rolling to the basket (which, granted, is a huge part of our team’s offensive), none of the videos will blow you away. In fact, he looks pretty average to me in most of ‘em, but he’s still developing. Here’s one of the videos to whet your appetite, and there are several more on the page. He’s #25, the tall dude on yellow with the socks that go halfway up to his neck. This shows his ability to: 1. set a pick, 2. Roll to the basket, and 3. finish the play.