Our first look at Adam Hanga

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The last step of qualifying for the 2011 FIBA Eurobasket Championships kicked-off yesterday as Hungary faced Portugal in Coimbra, Portugal. Along with Finland, Hungary and Portugal are fighting for the last two spots in the tournament. Each team plays one another twice, once at home and on the road, and the two teams with the better records get the last two spots in the tournament. Pretty simple, no?

Why this is of interest to you is that Adam Hanga plays for Hungary. Hanga was drafted by the Spurs with their 29th pick in the second round (59th overall) back in June. Yesterday’s game against Portugal gave us our first look at Hanga and what the Spurs got in snatching his rights.

We’re not going to do a proper recap considering the circumstances, but we’ll look at what Hanga brings to the table, bullet-style.

  • Hanga is a 6’7″ 2-guard, so he’s got some length to him. At one point, Hungary went with a four guard lineup and had Hanga playing the 4. Then again, Portugal didn’t have a lot of size to them so Hungary wasn’t punished all that much. Also, it’s Portugal so how much damage could it have done?
  • Offensively, Hanga has a decent all around game. He shot well in the first quarter, hit 2-3 3-pointers. He also had a nice play where he beat his man off the dribble, got into the lane and threw a pretty lob to a teammate for an alley-oop.
  • Hanga’s shooting fell off a cliff in the second half and he finished 4-10 from the field, although the last miss was a borderline desperation 3-pointer late in the game. Nonetheless, Hanga’s spot-up shooting is a strength. He has good form and not a lot of negative motion. His release could be quicker, but I imagine it hasn’t be a necessity for him at this point in career. It’s adjustment he’d have to make, though.
  • One thing that stands out about Hanga is how upright he plays. He reminds me of Stephen Jackson in that regard. Jack never seems like he gets low, always playing straight up. Hanga is similar.
  • This gives him some bad habits on defense, though. If he’s not actively engaged on defense, Hanga is upright and flat-footed. He also seems to relax too quick on defense. If the player he’s guarding is in the motion of passing the ball, Hanga stands upright before the ball is even released. He could be abused on give-and-gos at the next level.
  • That said, Hanga is a solid weak side defender. As a 6’7″ 2-guard, he’s got some length to him. He finished the game against Portugal with four steals, all of them on picking-off passes on the backside if I remember right. Hungary played a lot of zone and Hanga was stationed along the baseline. Portugal’s guards were trying to throw cross-court passes to shooters in the opposite corner and Hanga gobbled them up.
  • Hanga finished with 11 points on 4-10 shooting, four rebounds, four assists, four steals and only two turnovers. Portugal did come back and beat Hungary 71-66, however.

In all, I was expecting a lot less from the second-to-last pick in this year’s draft. He showed some solid skills, and his height and length could translate well. That said, he was playing Portugal. And as a 2-guard, a lot of what he does is easily replaceable. Unless he becomes an absolutely lights-out 3-point shooter, that is.

Hungary next takes on Finland on Friday afternoon in Szolnok, Hungary.