Follow FIBA on Facebook

22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
12 Ludvig Hakanson (SWE)
to read

Portrait in action: The Swedish John Stockton

STOCKHOLM (Sweden) - To understand how important Ludde Hakanson is to the Sweden national team in the European Qualifiers for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, watch him in action or look at his numbers.

The Bilbao-based point guard (1.92m - 26 years old) has offered a mesmerizing mix of slick passing and scoring.

"Portrait in Action" is a feature where some of the most outstanding talents around the world are highlighted, putting on display what they can do on the court that makes them must-watch candidates. Make sure to consistently check the FIBA.basketball website for "Portraits in Action" of your favorite players.

As a consequence, his national team has two wins in four games and is firmly in the hunt for a spot in the Second Round.

Ludde has been so good that if you consider he's averaging 19.3 points and 9.3 assists per game, he's accounting for 34.75% of his team's 82.3 points per game.

He's the only player above 9 assists per game on all continents in those qualifiers for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. That's better than Serbian sensation Milos Teodosic (8.5apg).

Hakanson's looked like the Swedish John Stockton. Let's break down his skillset.

Passes that lead to points close to the basket

Ludde has sliced and diced up defenses with penetration before making wrap-around deliveries to bigs for layups. He's gone upstairs with alley-oop tosses. He's gone from attempting a jump shot to passing when spotting yellow jerseys in open space. If a teammate sprints ahead on a fast break, Ludde has gotten him the ball for an easy score.

Delivering passes for jumpers

The Swedes like the high percentage shots, yet that doesn't just mean feeding the ball into the low post. Several players have shot 43% or better from deep in the European Qualifiers, so when one has been open, he's needed the ball and Ludde has found them.

He's made skip passes to the wing or diagonal passes to corner. He's dribbled into the paint and passed it back out. He's had such a good touch himself that when defenders have converged on him, he's found the open man.

Drilling it from deep

There have been occasions when a Sweden player had the ball down low and passed it back outside to Hakanson for catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, but the bulk of his damage from long range has been off the dribble. The step-back 3-ball from Hakanson has been a common sight. Defenders have sagged, if only a little, so as not to get beat on the drive and Hakanson has instead connected from behind the arc.

In the four games, he's made 11 of 29 attempts from behind the 3-point line.

Taking what the defense gives him

If Hakanson likes to let it fly from long range, he's been more than happy to take what's been on offer, shooting 61.9% (13 of 21) inside the arc. If a defense has been overextended, he's made backdoor cuts and scored layups. If defenders have run at him, he's been like a bullfighter dropping a muleta to let the beast run past before making a wide-open jumper.

Hakanson has hit step-back midrange jumper sots, driving lay-ups and gone off one foot à la Juan Carlos Navarro or Marcelinho Huertas. And yes, Hakanson has put the ball in the basket using his left, and right hands, on layups.