Babcock Hoops’ manager of video scouting, Derek Murray, breaks down Argentinian NBA draft prospect Leandro Bolmaro of FC Barcelona.
Position: SG/PG | Height: 6’7” | Weight: 180 | Team: FC Barcelona
Scoring off the Dribble
Court Vision + Passing
Versatility + Playmaking
Feel + Instincts
Energy + Motor
Point of Attack Defense
Free Throw Shooting + Rate
Team Defense + Awareness
Leandro Bolmaro projects best as a versatile, secondary ball-handler due in large part to his great positional size at 6’7”. Bolmaro has displayed his versatility at multiple professional levels in 2019-20, seeing playing time in the LEB Silver, ACB, and EuroLeague.
Bolmaro’s key contribution to the scoreboard has come from attacking off the dribble. What he lacks in length, he makes up for with craftiness and solid ball-handling, as he regularly maneuvers through defenses to get to the rim. He has a strong first step to get around defenders in the halfcourt, but what really gives him an advantage is his change of speeds. He is not an elite, quick-twitch athlete by any means, but he’s intuitive about when to use hesitations and utilizes small speed changes in order to create space. Once he’s able to create even a slight advantage, his change of direction makes him extremely difficult to stop.
Along with his ever-changing speeds and direction, Bolmaro’s ball-handling and passing are what set him apart, solidifying him as a legitimate NBA prospect. It’s evident that Bolmaro has worked on his handles the last few years, especially out of the pick-and-roll. He’s extremely crafty and has an array of advanced dribble moves in his arsenal, but the flashiest, and perhaps most entertaining, part of his game is his passing ability. There isn’t a read in the game that Bolmaro thinks he can’t make; it seems that almost every game you watch he’s either threading the needle out of pick-and-roll, launching a beautifully placed full-court transition dime, or attempting multiple behind-the-back passes — most of which are successful. Bolmaro’s high risk, high reward mentality can cause unnecessary turnovers at times which will need to be improved, but he’s often able to fit zip or hook passes into windows that some players don’t even see. His vision and indisputable confidence as a passer and creator are what draw me to Bolmaro, convincing me that he is a future NBA player.
As a scorer, there are some debates on whether or not he’ll be able to contribute at the NBA level. I believe in him as a slashing, cutting wing due to his strong basketball IQ and feel on that end of the floor. He’s advanced in creating angles and leverage, but some have concerns with his finishing ability at the rim. I took a deep dive into his 2019-20 numbers and found that while playing up with the FC Barcelona squad, he finished only 27.8% of his “around the basket, non-post up” attempts. At first glance that number was worrisome, so I checked these against his Barcelona B stats. At that level, he converted an impressive 72.2% of the same attempts; this gave me confidence, as it shows that he performs really well against his age group. However, he will need to improve his touch on floaters and runners, especially since he thrives on getting into the lane. Although just a small sample size, he shot a dismal 4-for-13 on those shots this past season. While playing up, there were instances where the significant difference between Bolmaro’s length and athleticism compared to his defenders caused problems for him. However, he was still able to get to his spots. I tend to shy away from prospects who struggle simply getting to the rim, so while he does need to improve staying under control and absorbing contact, I like the fact that he is fearless when attacking and gives himself opportunities to make plays.
The swing skill for Bolmaro’s NBA career is likely his shooting. He hit less than 30% of his threes on the season. At this point, he’s streaky and inconsistent from outside. Any concerns with his outside shooting are valid, in my opinion. Even though his numbers aren’t where I would like them to be, his form and mechanics have improved over the past year, so with a continued development curve I wouldn’t be surprised to see significant development in this area from him.
At times, Bolmaro’s shot selection has also been questionable with Barcelona A. Reading his projectability is unique in that it requires comparing same season statistics at multiple competition levels. At just 18 and 19 years old he was thrust into a role with European powerhouse FC Barcelona, and it appeared that he tended to press in an effort to make a good impression.
Do I think Bomaro will ever be a high-level three-point shooter in the NBA? No, I don’t. However, I do think he’ll be able to develop into a league-average shooter who will command respect from defenders. He has a motor that refuses to quit, shines in competition with his own age group, and his confidence continues to grow. Still only 19 years old, I’m not going to look down too far on his efficiency for games he played in arguably the best basketball league in the world outside of the NBA.
One of Bolmaro’s most underappreciated attributes is his point of attack defense. Standing at 6’7”, he can put pressure on his man, both on and off the ball with denials and good positioning. He has terrific lateral quickness and mobility, which allow him to cover ground and cut off potential driving lanes. On the ball, his feet are really good as he avoids screens, not letting his man have anything easy. The same change of direction that helps him on offense comes into play on defense; even when his man gets a step on him in isolation or pick-and-roll, Bolmaro is never out of the play.
He’s extremely competitive, so when Bolmaro employs his active hands, good things happen. In his nine Barcelona B games he tallied 16 steals, and with the A-team he had 12 in 13 contests. An important thing to note about his Barcelona A numbers is that he only played about 11 minutes in each game. Rim protection won’t ever be a strong suit for Bolmaro, as he recorded only three blocks during all 2019-20 competition. His reported 6’8” wingspan doesn’t allow him to contest shots all that well, although the effort is there. He’s still not an elite athlete so the best of the best do give him some trouble, but I believe in his competitiveness, feel, and instincts. I think he can be a solid team and on-ball defender at the NBA level, but like most 19-year-olds, it will take some time to get there.
Of all the players I’ve evaluated in the 2020 Draft class, Leandro Bolmaro is one of my favorites to watch. He’s energetic with a relentless motor on both ends of the floor, and his playmaking ability is promising for him to carve out a role on an NBA roster. I also enjoy his ability to score off the dribble, as he can create advantages that benefit both himself and his teammates.
I believe that a major part of Bolmaro’s development will be the amount of high level playing time he gets following the draft. It’s unsure whether he’ll be a stash option and continue to see playing time in the EuroLeague, or if he’ll be given G-League or NBA minutes next season. Either way, a high volume of reps and minutes should assist in speeding up his development.
Earlier this year it had been rumored that Bolmaro’s contract with FC Barcelona included an unreasonable multi-million dollar buyout clause Nonetheless, in an article written by Jeremy Berman outlining the situation, he wrote, “Matt Babcock recently confirmed that Bolmaro’s NBA buyout is in fact only for $900,000, a much more reasonable amount, meaning Bolmaro will only have to pay $150,000 if he wants to play for an NBA team next season.” That was big news, clearing the way for NBA teams selecting in the first round to consider Bolmaro without any concerns of potential financial constraints.
Based on our staff’s collective efforts evaluating Bolmaro, and the fact that he does not have a hefty buyout standing in his way, do not be surprised if you hear Bolmaro’s name called in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft on October 15th. Regardless of where he’s selected, I fully believe that Leandro Bolmaro will be the next Argentinian player to have a successful NBA career, following in the footsteps of players like Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, and Andres Nocioni, just to name a few.
Until next time, “adios amigos.”