12 - 20
August 2022
17 Neoklis Avdalas (GRE)
Long Read
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Player Spotlight: Neoklis Avdalas, the Greek point forward


SKOPJE (North Macedonia) - Greece have been one of the dominant forces of the FIBA U16 European Championship, earning a spot in the last four of the competition.

Behind their success is a balanced team with several important contributors. Their top prospect is undoubtedly Neoklis Avdalas, who already signed a five-year contract with Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos. The skilled forward is widely considered one of the most intriguing youngsters in his age group and put on a show against Israel to help Greece reach the Semi-Finals.

With Avdalas's standout performances so far in Skopje, it's time for FIBA contributor Marius Flachenecker to take a closer look at his game. 


The first thing that sticks out about Avdalas' game is his ability to create shots for himself and others, while standing at 2.01m. He uses fluid dribble combos and impressive footwork to create open jump shots.

With his size, he can easily shoot over most defenders, and while his output and mechanics are expectedly inconsistent, he converts a ton of difficult pull-up jumpers, making him one of the most talented shot makers in European youth basketball. From a stylistic perspective, how he gets to his spots, especially in the midrange, and then rises up over them to knock down jump shots, is reminiscent of the likes of Kevin Durant and Shavon Shields.

Furthermore, Avdalas loves to create for others, especially out of pick-and-roll. He handles the ball well for his size, even under pressure, displays good passing vision and consistently shows his unselfishness. Couple this with the fact that he can see over most of his defenders, and you have a tremendously skilled passer, who often brings up the ball and creates shots for Greece.

If he can turn his flashes as a shot maker into consistent production from midrange and from three, he can leverage these skills to draw in the defense and create passing windows. He already excels at baiting defenses into contests by seemingly rising up for shots, and then finding the open man while in the air. While it's difficult for players his size to fill a primary ballhandler role, it's easy to see him in a secondary role at a high level of professional basketball in his prime, assuming he develops well.

Avdalas is dominant in transition, since he's a very good athlete and Greece's defense has created many opportunities to run the break. In the half-court, he's passable at creating shots at the basket. Becoming elite at this skill at that size requires an outrageous combination of ball-handling and physical tools, which only few players like Luka Doncic or LeBron James possess.

It would be incredible if Avdalas could develop into anything close to that, but he can become an awesome player either way. For now, he gets pushed off spots too easily and he's right-hand dominant, but his touch is already high-level. Against Israel, he converted several tough, contested attempts from within five feet of the basket.

Defensively, Avdalas is at his best off the ball, where he can use his tools to make an impact in passing lanes and around the rim. He's a good athlete with long arms, and he understands how to use them to create extra possessions, averaging 2.4 steals and 0.8 blocks in just 22.2 minutes a game, including two crucial clutch rejections in the fourth quarter against Israel.

Of course, the 16-year-old has plenty of physical maturing ahead of him, but he certainly has the chance to become a good help defender at the professional level given his size, mobility, vertical and solid feel for the game. On the ball, he can still become more consistent, as he's given up too many driving lanes throughout the week in Skopje. Fortunately, he has heaps of time to improve his game before he reaches his prime.


Neoklis Avdalas is one of the top prospects at the FIBA U16 European Championship in Skopje. His offensive skill set of pull-up shooting, pick-and-roll playmaking and transition scoring is outstanding and hints at a remarkably bright future.

The Greek point forward still has to become more consistent in several areas of his game, but if he can turn his impressive flashes into consistent production, Greece are looking at another youngster, after Lefteris Mantzoukas and Alexandros Samodurov, who could become a staple of their senior national team in the future.