Russian Center Mozgov Not All That?

With his game shrouded in mystery here, the Knicks and a few others are promoting the signing of 7″1″ Russian center Timofey Mozgov as a major coup, but according to information gathered by Synergy Sports, a major video-indexing and statistical analyst, his game is extremely limited for a big man.

In a demonstration, in Las Vegas, of the extensive resources provided to NBA teams, Synergy offered that Mozgov only scored 22% of his points in the paint and 27% of his points were off cuts, situations in which a ball-handler draws a double team and leaves him unguarded.  Mozgov, who the Knicks probably overpaid by giving him a $9 Million, 3-year deal  (Felton’s deal was only two years) indicated that he chose to come to the Knicks because of the prospect of scoring off the pick and roll.

Reportedly Mozgov’s last season was abysmal and he did not play many minutes for his team Khimiki. However, apparently he was impressive in secret workouts for the Knicks.  He also drew attention for his play in the European Championship last summer by averaging 11 points and 4.6 rebounds. (Perhaps the reader will have a better time finding those stats by Mozgov.  His Euroleague profile offers stats showing he averaged only 13:37 minutes in 16 games with averages of 6 ppg, 0.1 apg, no three point attempts and 62% from the free throw line. You’re kidding right? No). 

Mozgov’s agent, Buono Ndaiye, was excited to have him sign with the Knicks which he preferred over the Nets, who he didn’t speak with. Ndaiye also indicated his unique strategy for selling his client was not to overexpose him apparently to prevent a frenzy, perhaps a bidding war. “I did not want to go promoting him to N.B.A. teams because I know things would go crazy. To me, he is the No. 1 free agent outside the United States. I did not want to have all these teams calling me and going crazy, and I wanted him to play under Coach D’Antoni. The Knicks are trying to make a turnaround, and I think he would fit in perfectly with the new New York Knicks,” Ndaiye said.


The signing of Mozgov seems somewhat odd given coach D’Antoni’s penchant for being impatient with the game of big centers.  Over the past two years a parade of centers, such as Darko Milicic, James Bender and Chris Wilcox, have only been allowed to sniff the court during practices for the most part after their initial in-game auditions. The most successful of the centers to play in the New York version of D’Antoni’s system was the versatile and athletic Earl Barron who rejected a contract offer from Donnie Walsh near the end of last season and remains unsigned with the Knicks because of a vaguely reported mix-up between the team and his reps.

The following videos are courtesy of the KnicksBlog

and you can check this video out too.


The only thing I can come up with is the question, Why?  Clearly it is best to wait and see how he plays, but a $3 year contract seems to be a lot for someone that has demonstrated no evidence of being able to play D’Antoni’s high octane, offensively demanding system in the NBA. And you gotta ask yourself, how would the Nets president possibly be ignorant to this man’s skills and desire to play in the US without making a play for him regardless of what the Knicks did.  Was this really a coup or another fine Knicks marketing job?  I look forward to training camp and the pre-season games where the answers will be quickly revealed,


In other news, Nate Robinson resigned with the Celtics.  Apparently, he decided to take much less ($4 million over 2 years) than he had hoped to stay with a contender.  It is a great economical signing by the Celtics who can look to the future with Nate as a solid versatile 1 or 2-guard or a great tradeable asset.