Is there a place in the NBA for Przemek Karnowski? – The Slipper Still Fits

Prezemek Karnowski was born 25 years too late. In 1989, Atlanta Hawks 7’ 260 lb. back-up center Jon Koncak signed one of the NBA’s richest contracts ($2.2 mil per year) making nearly as much money as Michael Jordan ($2.5 mil per year). Eight years later, 7’ 280 lb. Bryant “Big Country” Reeves signed a 6-year, $61.8 million contract extension after playing two seasons for the Vancouver Grizzlies. Neither Koncak nor Reeves could be called superior athletes, they were big and skilled in a time the NBA rewarded those attributes. NBA centers needed to battle Shaq, Patrick Ewing and Karl Malone, not be overgrown guards who fill the lanes on breaks and shot threes. Aww Shemmy, those were the days.

Yes, Shem lacks the wingspan and athleticism of today’s prototypical NBA center but he makes up for his shortcomings in skillset, basketball I.Q. and attitude. Those positive attributes will only take him so far, what will get him over the hump is to show parts of his game he wasn’t able to display at Gonzaga.

The first area is the consistent ability to hit the 15-18-foot jumper. Shem showed flashes of a decent mid-range game this past season, but why shoot from 18 when you can back down and shot a hook from 5-feet. As Florida center John Egbunu proved last season, Shem’s signature hook shot is susceptible to being blocked by an NBA caliber defender. A consistent midrange threat could be the difference maker. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities he has the skills. Domas Sabonis proved a threat from deep in the NBA. He took 14 threes in his two years at GU, last year he took 159 at OKC.

Two other areas where Shem needs to demonstrate to impress potential NBA teams are rebounding and defense.

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