Leandro Bolmaro Collaborative Scouting Report by Alex Brown & Ian Riaf

Leandro Bolmaro Collaborative Scouting Report

By: Alex Brown @AhbAnalytics & Ian Riaf

With insight from InStat


Player Profile

Age: 20 Years (September 11, 2000). Would have been 19.77 on a draft night that was not delayed.

Measurements: 6’7, 200lbs, 6’8 Wingspan.

Agent: Igor Crespo

Current Team: FC Barcelona Bàsquet 

Contract Situation: Bolmaro renewed his contract with Barcelona for the upcoming seasons until June 30th, 2023. This leaves him in a perfect situation to be stashed at the highest level overseas whilst having a comfortable buyout at around $900,000 (per Matt Babcock in this excellent article by Jeremy Berman of Babcock Hoops from March 2nd, 2020). NBA-out-clause present.

Background: Hailing from Cordoba, Argentina, Leandro Bolmaro has been steadily developing in Spain. He started playing basketball at nine years old as Bolmaro also competed as a high jumper during his teenage years. Bolmaro started his professional career at only 16 years old with Estudiantes de Bahia Blanca, in the top national league, Liga Nacional de Basquet. No stranger to international play at a young age, Bolmaro represented Argentina in their FIBA Under-17 South American Tournament and Under-19 World Cup competitions where he led both teams in scoring during these outings. He was also invited to the NBPA Top 100 Camp in 2017. Bolmaro played in both the Nike Hoops Summit and Basketball Without Borders, where he struggled in both outings. He spent from 2018 through now in Spain with FC Barcelona as he played the eternity of the 2018-19 season playing for Barcelona’s B-team and nine games in the following year. After nine games with the B team, during the 2019-20 season, Bolmaro moved up to the A-team. While he saw limited action and more (rather unfamiliar) off-ball play, Bolmaro had the opportunity to play in both the Spanish ACB and the Euroleague.

Injury Report: Minor injuries here and there. However, we would advise that teams check for issues with his hips & feet in physicals. Due to his lower body’s biomechanics & his general movement preferences, there may be issues there that can be corrected to augment his game (and health). Most importantly, if no health issues are found in his lower body, then his feel for shooting is notably lower than it may seem with his volume (more on this later). We cannot stand by this completely as of now as our access to medicals is currently limited to the eye test & consulting known kinesiology doctors on movement.

Personality: Leondro Bolmaro plays with a fight and passion. While he may need to work on his short term memory given his body language, but it’s clear that Bolmaro leaves everything out on the floor. His teammates seem to enjoy being around him and playing with him as well. While he has a competitive nature, he seems relaxed and in good spirits in interviews. Coach Sebastian Ginobili, in 2018, praised Bolmaro for his passion and love for the game. Baha Basket team psychologist, Agustin Arro, noted how “Above all, he has a strong attitude, and he adapts to change, and he has a good outcome in terms of adaptation and learning. He learns fast and eagerly, and he sets many objectives to make progress”. Bolmaro is a willing student of the game. During an ESPN interview with Mike Schmitz, he stated how he draws inspiration from James Harden in the pick and roll setting on offense and on the other side of the ball strives to emulate the effort level as Marcus Smart. A high character player, Bolmaro seems to play with a constant & admirable level of intensity.

Athleticism: Right now, Bolmaro is a slightly below average athlete for the NBA level due to lacking physicality and strength, but excels moving laterally for his size. On defense, he does an excellent job of using the outside of his feet and moving his hips to stay in front of quicker, more shifty guards. His effort and doggedness on defense help him make up for his shortcomings, but also subsequently can amplify mistakes. When moving downhill, he is quite coordinated, quick, and shifty. He has the athletic tools to employ quick changes of pace and effectively utilize a myriad of dribble moves. Vertically, Bolmaro posted a 32.5-inch max vertical jump, emphasizing his rather lacking vertical play. The most significant improvement area for Bolmaro is the strength department. Especially on his box-outs, Bolmaro got taken advantage of several times by wings and bigs. Opposing teams were also eager to hunt the post-up switch as he frequently gave up deep position. His frame suggests that he likely won’t put on a lot of weight.

Projected Roles: Pick & Roll Playmaker, POA Disruptor, and Bottom Option Scorer.

Projected Draft Landing: Second Round

Statistical Profile:

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Bolmaro’s Shot Chart Over his Last 60 Games (Via InStat Basketball)

Career Projections:

    • High: Low-Mid Rotation NBA After 2 Year Stash – Eventually Back Overseas
        • Becomes a serviceable spot up shooter from deep (slightly below league average on lower volume), high-level POA defender, improves physically in an NBA training program, and uses his P&R advantage creation to shoulder a low-mid usage initiator role off the bench for <7 years. Possibly from years 22/23-29. Probably not a guy you would pair with a guard that isn’t a plus shooter.
  • Medium: Low Rotation NBA After 2-Year Stash – Eventually Back Overseas.
      • Slight improvements as a shooter allow him to hit open 3’s occasionally, but defenses still go under screens comfortably. Remains a high level POA defender. Uses his P&R advantage creation to shoulder a low usage initiator role off the bench for <5 years. Probably not a guy you would pair with a guard that isn’t a plus shooter.
  • Low: Draft and Stash – One Short NBA Contract – Eventually Back Overseas
    • Does not develop into a serviceable shooter but retains POA & and P&R initiation value. Might be more comfortable playing a higher usage role in a top European League (ACB, Euroleague) or being a coveted lead initiator over there. He could get called over in his prime for his defensive value and P&R initiation, but if he can’t score effectively or do much off the ball then there isn’t a real incentive to play him in a notable role in the NBA for a long term.

INLINE_DRAWING: InlineDrawing

Offense

PT data from last 30 games.

Strengths

    • Playmaking – Vision out of the Pick and Roll/Pop Action: While featured much more off the ball than usual during the 2020-21 season, Bolmaro had the opportunity to run the offense during a late October outing. He recorded ten assists during his first 18 minutes despite turning the ball over five times. While overambitious at times, Bolmaro’s one-handed hook passes out of the pick and roll were incredibly captivating. Being a capable passer with both hands paired with his ability to read the defense is by far his most intriguing offensive skill as a prospect. Bolmaro understands the importance of passing the ball to a spot and leading the roll man to the hoop. Bolmaro likes the high-risk, high-reward type of passes, but he’s able to keep the majority of his bounce passes low enough to squeeze through a tight passing pocket. Naturally, he had some incredibly creative ways to find his roll man. Furthermore, he had good chemistry with lead guard Nick Calathes operating as a third-man off the ball, as Bolomaro seemed to know when Calathes was moving into an open shooting pocket. On pick and pops, Bolmaro can execute fundamentally sound and well-timed passes to create advantages for the offense.
  • Live Dribble Passing: Bolmaro is comfortable employing both hands to fire a myriad of live dribble passes all over the court. He can genuinely dazzle you with his ability to find & create passing angles using this skill. Combined with his handle and size, he has the base for a dynamic playmaker that can pick defenses apart while on the move.
  • Handle: The handle + height combination is certainly a compelling aspect of Bolmaro’s offensive profile. Just 19% of his tracked turnovers this season came from him either losing the ball out of the dribble or getting stripped. Bolmaro had to face several pesky, veteran guards in Euroleague competition and held his own when pressured. Furthermore, Bolmaro’s speed with the ball (especially in transition) makes him a dynamic threat capable of thriving when going coast-to-coast. We also like the pace manipulation flashes and reactivity he plays with. If he can improve his shot, Bolmaro may not need to rely so much on his handle for self-created offense, that said, he has this in his arsenal.

Improvement Areas

    • Range Shooting: Undoubtedly, shooting is the largest swing skill for Leandro. He has not executed very well from behind the arc, and opposing teams have even dared him to shoot & go under screens far too comfortably. Looking at the numbers, it is not hard to see why. For example, in his last 30 games he has only made 9/35 of his shots from deep, resulting in a quite poor 25.7%. In catch and shoot situations within that sample, he finished 3/18 (16.7%). Volatile mechanics and a lower shooting feel are to blame.
        • Lacking Movement & Pull-Up Shooting: Two very important on/off ball skills for initiators to have in the modern game are lacking in Bolmaro. Based on his current sample (1/11 from deep out of P&R on pull-ups in 58 games) and mechanical issues, we do not find it reasonable to project Bolmaro to have much (if any) movement or pull-up shooting value at the next level anytime soon. This really limits what you will be able to do with him schematically as an initiator.
  • Shooting Mechanics: Bolmaro’s overall feel for shooting does not seem to be at a high level. There are multiple bottom-top mechanical changes that will need to be made in order to provide value & consistency, starting at his base and finishing with his wrist action (doesn’t hold follow through consistently, etc.). He has a long way to go before you would hesitate on going under screens against him as an opposing coach, and you would even give him that shot in a myriad of scenarios. He has a long way to go before we would be asking him to hit pull up or movement threes for our team.
      • The Base: Bolmaro’s base is widely inconsistent & causes notable shot volatility. He seldom lands where he took off, and his feet & knees are often all over the place. Correcting this with an emphasis on balance should be a top priority regarding his development. In the clip below, we can see a disconnect between his feet and how this impacts his base. Notice how the difference in his feet causes his balance to falter, that right leg to shoot out, and how his landing almost always is significantly different then his initial setup. Widening his base & eliminating the difference in his feet will significantly help him once he develops the muscle memory. When his feet do not exhibit this motion, his knees typically look all over the place instead. Essentially, no matter the situation, Bolmaro’s balance & base is a major hindrance on his shooting. It needs lots of work, but it is feasible to turn Bolmaro into a serviceable spot up shooter should a team nail this rebalancing act. It will just take a while.

https://youtu.be/gjj4sLELmhM

https://twitter.com/AhbAnalytics/status/1320398772254371840?s=20

https://twitter.com/AhbAnalytics/status/1320408801799880705?s=20

https://twitter.com/AhbAnalytics/status/1320408119143399424?s=20

    • Upper Body: From the guide hand placement to the subsequent follow through, there is a lot to work on regarding Bolmaro’s upper body motion on his shot. To start, there were a myriad of instances where Bolmaro’s guide hand actually was nearly or completely on top of the ball. This was followed by a release that had volatile wrist action and a follow-through that was not held.

Combined with the significant lower body issues we have seen, it is safe to call Bolmaro a shooting project that does not guarantee value.

Lower body is clearly out of sync, especially in the knees during this attempt. In the third picture, we see Bolmaro’s faulty feet+hand setup, which leaves a lot to be desired. The guide hand on top of the ball can certainly be problematic.

    • Off Ball Value: Bolmaro does not offer much if any value off the ball, unfortunately. Without shooting gravity, notable spot up shooting value, or effective cutting (6/11 over 60 games), there is not much there to work with.  If he can become a good spot up shooter, he can stay in the NBA for quite a few years, but if not we worry about his offensive value. We do not think his on-ball value is enough to mitigate this offensively.
  • Pick and Roll Scoring: My summation of Bolmaro in P&R is simple: He is great at creating the initial advantage, but he struggles to capitalize on it. Bolmaro has not excelled as a scorer in the pick and roll despite his notable playmaking and initial advantage creation. Why? He lacks counters. He does not employ a mid-range pull-up, left hand, or a consistent floater to really generate consistent advantages after the initial one. His occasionally contact averse nature does him no favors either. For an initiator who thrives at creating initial breakdowns in P&R, the fact that defenses will be able to comfortably (and may even prefer to) drop on him is not ideal in a modern initiator. 0.5 PPP on layups as the P&R handler. Pace control is promising, but he does not yet have the tools to maximize the value generated by it.

Bolmaro’s shot chart operating as the P&R BH, last 58 games.

    • Overzealous Passing: The confidence is awesome, but execution needs improvement. Bolmaro so often appears to be a wizard with the ball in his hands, but he can suffer from the occasionally overzealous nature of his playmaking. For Bolmaro, 57% of his tracked turnovers per InStat this past year came from bad passes. A large portion of them came in the pick and roll setting where he left his feet too early without making a decision or forced something that wasn’t there. Bolmaro’s highlights are captivating, but these passes come at the expense of several failed highlight attempts. Right now, he needs to do a better job of picking and choosing his spots. This means slowing down his cadence after the initial screen and making the right (not always sexy) read.
  • Finishing: Lack of strength and finishing versatility hinders Bolmaro’s ability to finish around the rim. He had only converted on 27.8% of his recent rim attempts per Derek Murray of Babcock Hoops. The versatility just is not there yet, and it is rather concerning that he lacks a myriad of counters given his style & projected role. He has great flashes with his right, but not much else.
      • Left Hand Finishing: Despite being rather ambidextrous when handling the ball, Bolmaro cannot use his left hand at the rim. He goes to his, right even when it is not convenient or fundamental. He is clearly far more comfortable with his right, and in InStat’s data sample, Bolmaro was only 3/8 in his last 60 games with his left hand. That is not promising for a P&R player who needs as many non-range shooting counters as he can get.
  • Control & Shot Selection: Staying under control will be a common theme when coaching Bolmaro on either end. When he is in control, he has excellent flashes. When he isn’t, he makes some rather poor mistakes. In the shot selection department, lacking a go-to scoring method seriously hurts his game. There are not a lot of shots we like him taking as a slasher, and we do not think there is one go-to shot he can get to consistently at the NBA level.
  • Playing Through Contact: Bolmaro does not excel through contact when going to the rim. While this is partially due to him being less physically developed than the grown men he plays with, his lack of physicality is not a plus. We would like to see this change for a 6’7 initiator that needs a consistent scoring method. If he could improve his physicality as a slasher, he could put far more pressure on the defense in P&R. Bulk him up, get him physical.

https://twitter.com/AhbAnalytics/status/1323684463381897219?s=20INLINE_DRAWING: InlineDrawing

Defense

Strengths

    • Indefatigable Motor: If there were one aspect of Bolmaro’s game that he could hang his hat on right away at the NBA level, it would be his defensive motor. He is a player that gives constant defensive effort and almost never takes plays off. He will gladly pick up 94 feet. A 6’7 POA defender with that motor is a rare find, so this is certainly a floor raiser. He finishes plays and gives his all, which will always earn massive respect in my eyes.
  • Navigating Screens: Bolmaro is simply awesome when defending on/off ball screen actions. He moves so quickly laterally, gets skinny on a dime, makes the correct reads, and maintains that indefatigable defensive motor throughout. This is one of my favorite parts about Bolmaro’s game, as the potential versatility could be so useful to any team. Not many 6’7 20-year-olds can move as quickly as he can while navigating ball screens at a high level.
  • Team Defense (When Focused): Bolmaro showed that he could execute high-level off-ball switches when called upon. While his on-ball switching and defensive communication in the pick and roll setting needs work, Bolmaro made a number of off-ball switches and was fairly adept at anticipating when to help.  When he was focused on watching both the ball and his man, Bolmaro executed understood the necessary help concepts and prevented a number of open looks. Bolmaro stuck with off-ball cutters, moved well around screens, and used his nimble footwork and tight turning radius to stay attached to their hips.
  • Contesting Shots: Bolmaro showed that he could consistently impact shooters with his effort and fundamentals. Furthermore, he did a great job at getting up in their space without fouling. While he occasionally made the ‘tap on the wrist’ shooting foul, Bolmaro was very calculating in his contests. Especially playing against savvy veterans in the Euroleague, Bolmaro showed that he could defend perimeter space creators without falling for their tricks. While he may be a bit too jumpy with his on-ball pressure, Bolmaro is already very in tune with avoiding committing that three-point shooting foul.
  • Versatility – POA: We would be comfortable putting Bolmaro in POA defense against the wing or guard positions. He has the quickness, P&R navigation, and size to impact initiators (of all non-big sizes).
      • Guarding Large Initiators: Every team wants a wing sized POA defender who can check opposing large (relatively wing sized) initiators on the perimeter. It is tough to find guys with Bolmaro’s size, quickness, and motor on the defensive end. When you need that defensive energy against larger initiators, Bolmaro is your guy. He may not be able to deter as much in the paint, but he will make an impact on the perimeter on/off the ball against large (wing sized) initiators.

Improvement Areas

    • Ball or Player Watching: Another quick fix for Bolmaro would be his tendency to watch his man and not the ball at the same time. Even before the offense completely set up, he would turn his back to the ball to focus solely on the cutter when he was guarding off the ball. While the help defense impressed and executed many successful stunts at the ball from the nail, Bolmaro could have been an even better off-ball defender had he not turned his head so often to focus on just his man. Making sure his head is more on a swivel should be something teams should emphasize when getting him up to speed with the NBA game. Typically this is not much of a problem, but Bolmaro gets laser-focused on his assignment and that causes some tunnel vision. We would like to see him stay as engaged while keeping team defense principles in mind.
  • Overextending Himself: While initially staying in front of a primary ball-handler, Bolmaro could get beat side-to-side when guarding smaller players by overextending himself. He put too much of his body into his defensive slides and thus would give his opponent ample room to drive inside. Sometimes his size & length allowed him to recover, but occasionally he was completely left in the dust after an initial move from his opponent. Keeping him under control while keeping that effort present will maximize his value.
  • Physical Limitations: While NBA players exist at Bolmaro’s stature, his lack of strength was easily exploitable at the Euroleague level. Not only did this come against bigs but also against equally tall wings that had more strength. He struggled to move his man boxing out on the defensive glass and pretty much with every other physical aspect of the game that involved strength. If he is to truly stick in the league, his defensive versatility needs to be superb. This means that he needs to bulk, and we are not sure if his frame will hold a ton.
  • P&R Communication Lapses: The most notable defensive lapses for Bolmaro came through many switching/hedging mistakes. It appears as if he is hyper-focused on either his man or the roller and does not always focus on the play’s broader context. Rather often, Bolmaro and his big would both step back to guard the roll man and subsequently would leave the ball handler open for too long. While we touched on this before, Bolmaro will need to stay engaged to the team defense concept rather than zeroing in on 1v1 man coverage. Failing to execute schemes could seriously negate his value. However, he is young, and this can certainly be corrected. The fact that he is so engaged in POA that he forgets to communicate is not a terrible problem you could have.

INLINE_DRAWING: InlineDrawing

Overall Outlook

Bolmaro’s value and differentiating factor is derived from him being a 6’7 two-way playmaker with the confidence and vision to make every pass in the book while also being a tough, quick, versatile POA defender. What he will struggle to do at an NBA level is score and provide offensive value. It is difficult to have a core initiator that cannot hit pull-up 3’s or play off the ball effectively when it matters, much less execute on their main form of advantage creation.

As mentioned earlier, initially pairing Bolmaro in backcourt next to a non-shooter is something we advise against. To provide a bit of context, let’s look at the Orlando Magic and the way they used Michael Carter-Williams last season. This presents a possible initial scenario for Bolmaro’s role in an NBA organization. Carter-Williams, played the majority of his career at the point guard spot but last season spent 68% of his time at the shooting guard position paired alongside of D.J. Augustin. This gave Augustin the ability to do more freelancing in the pick-and-roll/pop game as the Magic could run their offense through a more efficient lead ball handler. Carter-Williams could and would initiate the offense but this was more in a secondary role. On the other side of the floor, Carter-Williams was the on-ball POA defender as he would occasionally pick up the lead ball handler. For Bolmaro, pairing him next to a higher usage guard off the bench would make the most sense given his current offensive profile as his defensive acumen is already very promising.

While & if his shot develops, Bolmaro’s separating factor needs to continue to be defensively by checking all forms of opposing guard/wing initiators. If his shot doesn’t develop, we do not think he has enough offensively to be a tenured NBA guard. We do expect him to see the NBA at some point and be a major piece for years to come in the European scene.

If his tools do intrigue you, we would advise you to stash Bolmaro in hopes of him developing his shooting, counters, and frame to potentially bring him over in his prime to utilize his P&R playmaking and aggressive POA defense. We find it reasonable to project him as an offensive negative & slight defensive plus.

Major Swing Factors: Shooting, Counters, Finishing, Bulk.

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