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About Sergio Llull...

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by anchel, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. anchel

    anchel Member

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    Firstly and in advance, I apologize for my English.

    Well, I am really really impressed with this guy. I follow him since he played for the U-18 Spanish national team in the European Junior Championships at Zaragoza. Llull was 17 y.o. and the backup of Sergio Rodriguez on that team. This Sergio (the 2nd one) was the greatest prospect of that generation, Rodriguez was the undisputed MVP (and champion, along with his team) of a tournament that brought together players like Johan Petro, Ian Mahinmi, Yaroslav Korolev, Andris Biedrins, Carlos Suarez, Marco Belinelli, Uros Tripkovic... A lot was expected from him. He already shined in his first season as proffesional in the ACB league, he became the team leader coming the playoffs with just 18 years old dominating the games since the p&r. That summer he was drafted in the 1st round. Many in Spain criticized his early march to the NBA. Rodriguez was still a raw player, he had only one good year here, not even that, a few months. He had not played for any big team nor competed for any title, but his talent shone above the rest and NBA scouts trusted in him. He started his NBA career in Portland, then went to Sacramento and now New York, his production so far has been very disappointing.

    Meanwhile the figure of Ricky Rubio was emerging (already in ACB League with just 14 y.o.) and Llull competed on the LEB league (2nd Spanish league, 8th-9th better national league in Europe) playing for Basket Manresa, a small Catalan club. In 2006-07 season he signs with Real Madrid. A major change for him, he goes from the LEB league to one of the better european ballclubs. Llull comes as a project, firstly the idea was to let him a spot on the team to learn from veteran PGs, practice, and prepare to try to be useful for next season. Therefore no many minutes were expected for him... The dedication and courage of Llull in every minute he had was appreciated for the fans, and he became soon one of the fan favourites... the typical young guy who fights on the court and even doing mistakes excites the fans with his potential (a Jordan Hill e.g.). Llull was the third PG of the team behind Raul Lopez and Kerem Tunçeri, nevertheless his work ethic and determination earned him a few minutes. The team appreciates his energy off the bench, he goes out there and spreads his intensity, change the pace of the games and warms the crowd.

    In 2007-08 season Real Madrid keeps trusting in him for the future. Llull gradually is getting better and demanding more minutes. Despite having 2 more PGs on the team, it's hard for his coach not to put him on the track; his character helps a lot to a team that's lacking some talent, he compensates it with other skills. The coach starts giving him SG minutes (plus some PG minutes) sharing time with Raul Lopez. His body allow him defend all type of guards and his speed since SG position is important to push the tempo of the games.

    In 2008-09 season Real Madrid replaces PG Tunçeri for Pepe Sanchez (former NBA), but Pepe's attitude and performance during all season is very disappointing and he's waived by mid-season. Llull goes on to become the 2nd team PG just behind Lopez, averaging 20 minutes per game. His good season ending would bring him 2 unexpected awards... On one hand his draft selection at the 4th pick of the 2nd round; on the other, an invitation from coach Sergio Scariolo to fight for the final spot of the Spanish national team, which would play in summer, Poland, the Eurobasket. Llull gets the spot on the practices and enters on the final roster.

    He comes as theoretical 12th man and last player at the backourt behind PGs Lopez, Cabezas and Rubio, and SGs Navarro and Berni Rodriguez. During the preparation and pre-tournament exhibition games Sergio makes his way into the rotation, and already in the Eurbasket his presence becomes critical in some comebacks, playing as SG. National media begins to notice the progression of the player, and Llull makes a name for himself around Europe. His physical level has improved until NBA potential, and permits him to defend almost every guard, push the ball, break defenses and draw fouls, rebound, etc. He's becoming an all-around combo guard.

    His shot (always had good shooting mechanics) also has improved a lot to become a serious weapon since all distances (long range)

    Llull began 2009-10 season as a backup of new signing Pablo Prigioni (Lopez went to Moscow). The arrival of coach Messina has had a decisive impact on the progression of the player. Llull has become this year a vital part of the team. It safe to say he's currently the most important backourt player of the team over other names like Pablo Prigioni, Louis Bullock, Marko Jaric, Travis Hanse ... Not just that, Llull continues improving over the season and establish himself as the team leader on important ACB and Euroleague games. Not just he ends the games on the court, but team look at him in the clutch.

    -Vs Montepaschi
    -Vs Barcelona

    Llull has improved in every offensive facet: the ball handling, decision making, has developed mid range game, the mid distance jumper, the catch and shoot off the screens... His development has been incredible and at this point I'm sure he has exceeded all expectations, including the Rockets ones. He seems day-to-day like a better player, seems like a veteran, he's showing a scoring instinct not expected, he shows leadership on an elite team full of veterans hardened in thousands of battles (Garbajosa, Prigioni, Reyes, Jaric, Hansen...) But above all his best attribute is that he's a WINNER, that's in his mind. Some have it, others don't. Llull has that mark.

    In the recent Euroleague series against Barcelona Llull has been the best player of Real Madrid along with the croatian center Ante Tomic. Have been a very tough series against surely the best team in Europe, for Llull against Rubio and Navarro. Llull has played better than Ricky in those 4 games, a matter that would have been unthinkable 2 years ago. Now does exists in Spain a debate on Llull and Rubio... unfortunately for Rodriguez (now the other Sergio) he's now out of that discussion. Llull has passed with surprising precocity some crucial stages of the beginning of his career, his course resembles to the one of Jose Calderon when he played for TAU Vitoria (next to Scola). Draftexpress compared him with Calderon a year ago (b.c.s.), but even that profile is now obsolete... a whole year has been too long time for Sergio. We don't know what kind of player we'll find next year, for sure a better one, the matter is how much. Now with his work ethic, his good head, physical tools, developed talent and hungry for improvement, I wouldn't dare to talk about a ceiling with him. A player of Calderon's level? Even better, who knows, but I want him in Houston as soon as possible. Morey will go for him this summer but will be very difficult to recruit him. Anyway, I start to trust him as the future PG of the franchise.
     
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  2. rockets934life

    rockets934life Contributing Member

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    Excellent write up...

    One of the things that impress me about Rubio is his defense, how is Sergio's defense as he has matured over time?
     
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  3. Pest_Ctrl

    Pest_Ctrl Member

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    Thanks for the excellent post. From what little I have seen about the kid, I like him a lot. He has the potential and the mentality to become a quality player in the NBA. Hopefully we can get to see him soon in summer league.
     
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  4. BimaThug

    BimaThug Resident Capologist
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    Unfortunately, Real Madrid won't let Llull go play summer league unless he's been bought out of his deal.

    If Llull plays summer league (or even shows up to training camp), it'll mean that the Rockets have already signed him to a contract.
     
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  5. jopatmc

    jopatmc Contributing Member

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    Hmmmmm, interesting.

    I think he'd probably be a good fit coming off he bench with Lowry and Ariza next season. Since our starters on the perimeter should be Brooks, Martin, and Budinger.
     
  6. MojoMan

    MojoMan Member

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    Your English is better than a substantial number of posters here on this board who speak English as their first language, as sad as that may sound to you. Seriously, you should post here freely without any further sense of insecurity around this question.
     
  7. sbyang

    sbyang Member

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    I don't know if we should bring Llull over next season. It will be difficult for him to find much playing time because we have quality players at the 1 and 2. It would stunt his development to come over here and sit on the bench or only play 10 mins a game. Of course if a trade happens and we have tons of playing time to give then we should bring him over.
     
  8. vince

    vince Member

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    It is good to hear he is growing so much as a player. Given Morey's analysis of players (Brooks, Landry, Budinger, Hill), what you say about Lull only re-emphasizes Morey's player scouting prowless.

    Wow, he is sounding more and more like a legit NBA starter at some point.
     
  9. yaoistall

    yaoistall Member

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    Updates like this are one of the reasons I appreciate Clutchfans so much. Thanks for the write up. Here's to his continued improvement. For play or trade it can only be a good thing.
     
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  10. T-Slack

    T-Slack Member

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    You notice how the op didn't say anything about his defense? HaHa. He won't play unless he improves on that. Or else he'll be the next V Span.
     
  11. Shroopy2

    Shroopy2 Contributing Member

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    It seems as if Lllull can use 1 more year of Euroleague seasoning to be TRULY legitimate. But doing that will also drive up his price. Better to get him while he's "raw" and relatively still coming up. Doesnt look like a player his club will freely give up either. Right now he seems like a great fit as Rockets third PG/combo guard.
    I'm no V-Span sympathizer, he came in with a boom or bust approach riding the hype wave of the World Championships performance. Though looking back, under Van Gundy he really only had a small opening to get any kind of meaningful minutes that he didnt capitalize on being pouty and hardheaded. Adelman is a tight rotation/trust the veterans type of coach himself like Van Gundy, but look at all the chances younger players are getting now. Who's to say V-Span wouldnt be a Greek Kyle Lowry type?
     
  12. Melechesh

    Melechesh Member

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    Llull plays solid defense in Euroleague. He's got that bulldog mentality ala Kyle Lowry.
     
  13. redracer1

    redracer1 Member

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    I have no idea regarding his contract situation with Real Madrid. If we somehow lose Lowry via free agency and his buyout from his mother club is pretty reasonable I hope Morey signs him to be one of our back up PG.
     
  14. leebigez

    leebigez Contributing Member

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    Rubio is going to be a bust in the nba. A big pg with slow feet,no shot,and no post game. If youre a big point and have those traits, you will have problems in the nba on both ends. He does have good court vision,but thats not enough as a big pg.
     
  15. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    First, do not apologize for your English. You communicated very well. Thank you.

    Re: Rodriguez - it appears his talent level is NBA but that his 'head' or adjustment or something else is not. I suspect he needs the right coach and team in which to fit smoothly and he'll be fine. I also suspect that it will be overseas, not here. More the shame.

    Re: Garbajosa - Before his injury I thought he was excellent. How is he doing now; does he have any thoughts, to your knowledge, of an NBA return?

    Re: Tomic - Please tell us more.

    Re: JCN - I felt he never received an opportunity to fit in. I had always hoped he would have found his way to the Rox. As Garbajosa, what is his possibility of an NBA return?

    Thanks for your Thread. Keep them coming.
     
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  16. sks123

    sks123 Member

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    Thanks for the write up. We need a 3rd PG especially if Lowry or Brooks gets hurt next year during the season (provided we are able to resign Lowry). I doubt we will be able to get Llull next year though, but stranger things have happened...
     
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  17. RudyTBag

    RudyTBag Contributing Member
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    He is only shooting 47% from 3... :rolleyes:

    Oh yeah, he is also an elite defender at a VERY high level.

    And by the way, Daryl Morey thinks he will be a stud.

    What say you?

    His feet and shot are both better than say, Jason Kidd...
     
  18. Naija Texan

    Naija Texan Member

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    Honestly, I see us drafting another PG or converting Taylor to play the position more likely then I see us bringing Llull over next season.
     
  19. BimaThug

    BimaThug Resident Capologist
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    Llull is NOT coming over here to be the third PG. He's too good a player over in Europe. Why come to the NBA to barely play when he can play more and make more money in Spain?

    As long as both Brooks and Lowry are on the roster, I don't see Sergio Llull being in a Rockets uniform.

    That said, he's probably an attractive trade asset (remember that Marc Gasol's draft rights were a determining factor in the Pau Gasol debacle, I mean, trade to the Lakers) or is at least a nice backup plan for 2011-12 if the Rockets either don't bring Lowry back next season this summer or get outbid for Brooks in 2011.

    I doubt that Taylor plays any PG for this team. Sure, he may get matched up defensively with some larger opposing PGs. But I don't think Taylor has the goods to play the point at the NBA level, even for short stretches. Dude is a SG, plain and simple.
     
  20. RocketsMAN!

    RocketsMAN! Member

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    HE did, because he was the Greek T-MAC!!! :p
     

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