By now most San Antonio Spurs fans already know about the George Hill trade. A second round pick by the Indiana Pacers (#46th overall) in 2005, Erazem Lorbek is part of the deal that sent Hill to the Pacers.
Let’s get to know him better.
Lorbek is a 27 year old, 6-foot-10 big man that has skills and solid fundamentals. He has a reliable jump shot off the dribble and good midrange jumper and has nice handles with both hands. He can run pretty well in transition and good footwork and knows how to use his body to take full advantage of his skills.
He also has very nice soft touch around the basket, sees the court very well, and have great passing skills for a big man. The pick and roll comes naturally to him, has good understanding of the game and has great basketball IQ. A clutch player and loves big games. He is very competitive.
However, Lorbek’s main limitation to play successfully in the NBA is his foot speed, really poor even for a player that tall. As good as he is, he will have trouble scoring against athletic matchups.
Defensively it gets even worse. Given the amount of quick power forwards in the NBA, his effectiveness is at best doubtful. Besides, Erazem is a soft player. He doesn’t like contact. On the contrary, you might see him grabbing a rebound in traffic in the middle of the paint and stepping out to dribble instead of going towards the rim and looking for the basket.
Those limitations, along with his average vertical jump, keep him far away from being a rebounding or blocking force in the league. Considering his poor athletic attributes, he should try to get stronger in order to make everyone take notice of him in the paint. He will never be an athletic player, but with the proper work he could acquire better conditioning, and learn how to overcome his major weaknesses.
But don’t hold your breathe that Lorbek might play for the Spurs next season. The Spanish champions Regal F.C. Barcelona announced Friday that Lorbek will stay with the team next season after an option on his contract was picked up by the club.
Lorbek helped Barcelona to win the Euroleague title in 2010, in his first season with the club. Last season, Lorbek was solid as ever, averaging scoring 8.5 points and 3.7 rebounds on 51.2 percent field goal shooting, including 37.1 percent from the 3-point line. He also shot 72.2 percent from the free throw line in 21 minutes per game.
After eight seasons with six different clubs, Lorbek ranks 30th among all Euroleague players since 2000 in points scored and 22nd in rebounds. Lorbek is a former Euroleague Rising Star Trophy winner back in 2004, and has since become a two-time All-Euroleague selection, in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
The Spurs need to add another big man to shore up their front court. With his skills and experience, Lorbek might be a good addition to the roster but his latest contract signing will make it harder for the Spurs to convince him to come to the NBA.
Besides, if the Spurs are serious about winning another title in the Duncan era, they will certainly need a better post threat than Lorbek.