Kostas Papnikolaou had a pretty solid first NBA game. He show cased his defensive skills with a few blocked shots, and he showed his craftiness in transition. Crafty was the word chosen by the color analysts. It’s a perfect description of what he’s capable of.
Sep 29, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Kostas Papanikolaou (16) poses for a photo during media day at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
When Kostas put the ball on the floor, he made wise decisions (like his kick out to James Harden at 0:13). He rebounded well, having a nose for the ball.
His takes to the basket were confident and he even stepped out to nail a triple on two occasions. That’s something the Rockets seek to do as often as possible.
Papa’s defensive skills were showcased in the three blocks he had, and frequently frustrated the other team. The “Greek Kirilenko” comparison may end up being deadly accurate. He uses his length and body well, and as seen here, he brings some skills to the table that AK-47 never did.
It’s early in the preseason, but the bright flashes of potential in this video should have Rockets fans very excited to have another European prospect developing in what may be the best system for him imaginable.