Oklahoma City have signed Georgios Kalaitzakis to a two-way contract as per reports from Eurohoops.
Georgios Kalaitzakis has a deal with the Thunder for the remainder of the seasonhttps://t.co/kkrsqwGOZc— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) December 30, 2021
Kalaitzakis was taken in the 2021 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 60th pick. Georgios featured sparingly for the reigning champions before being waived by the Bucks. Milwaukee chose to sign Wes Matthews and needed to create a roster spot. Kalaitzakis is the first Greek to play for the Thunder and the implications of his signing are quite interesting.
The CBA allows for a team to have two two-way players signed to a roster. Those spots are currently occupied for the Thunder by Aaron Wiggins and Paul Watson Jr. Wiggins has performed excellently over the last week or so and has made a strong case for being converted to a fully fledged contract with the main roster. It is possible that Presti takes this avenue as a way of creating a spot for Georgios.
As young players go, Georgios certainly fits into Presti’s type of player. Sam has prioritised acquiring lengthy forwards who have excellent feel for the game and great passing. Josh Giddey and Aleksej Pokusevski are recent examples of Presti’s vision for the future of the Thunder. Kalaitzakis shares a lot of similar traits with Giddey and Pokusevski.
Kalaitzakis is an ambidextrous passer who is more than capable of finding his teammates in good spots to score the ball. I would not say that Georgios is a lead offensive initiator but he can run a pick and roll effectively. He profiles more as a combo guard rather than being a point guard.
He was a good defender in European basketball and he has fairly solid fundamentals. Georgios is active off the ball and will often attempt to disrupt the passing lanes. His physicals are also enticing; he stands 6’7 and has an NBA ready body.
All of that being said, Kalaitzakis is a good athlete for European basketball. It is difficult to say whether that will translate to the pace and space of the NBA. On a wider court, Georgios might struggle to guard fast, explosive wings.
He has great fluidity for a player of his size and covers ground really well which will be a useful trait on defense. Providing that Kalaitzakis can hold his own defensively against other wings while contributing on offense, he should be able to carve out a role on an NBA team.
His shooting is a concern that must be addressed as soon as possible if the Thunder plan for him to be a long-term fit on the roster. Kalaitzakis has shown no real touch as a shooter and mostly relies on his clever finishing inside to generate points.
His free throw shooting does suggest that there is upside on this front. He shot 73.5% from the line during his six year stint with Panathinaikos and shot 77.8% from the stripe in three games with the Wisconsin Herd.
Kalaitzakis will likely spend most of his time with the Blue but he will get a chance to prove himself at the NBA level straight away. Oklahoma City are currently struggling for players and young players like Aaron Wiggins, Ty Jerome and Theo Maledon have received plenty of minutes in recent games.
On the whole, I like the signing for the Thunder. Kalaitzakis is a high potential young player who the Thunder can develop and turn into a serviceable rotation player.