Zebulun Benbrook is the editor of SB Nation's Oklahoma City Thunder blog Welcome to Loud City. He has spent the last few weeks at the Eurobasket tournament in Lithuania, and has been sending some scouting reports to the SB Nation blogs about their players in the tournament. He sends in this report of Kevin Seraphin's performance for France. Enjoy.
Kevin Seraphin has spent most of the tournament on the bench, only coming in sparingly as the fourth big man option. But with France choosing to sit Joakim Noah and Tony Parker, Seraphin finally got a chance to shine against Spain.
When the Thunder held a few late first round picks in the 2010 Draft, I sent an email to Gregoire T. of Airball.fr, asking him to give me the lowdown on Seraphin. When asked to give an NBA comparison for Seraphin, he said, "It's difficult to compare him... he's to small to be compared with the Shaq, he is a great shooter in the paint but he has to work on his outside shot to be compared to Karl Malone or Carlos Boozer... maybe Emeka Okafor ? You could compare him physically to the french center Ronny Turiaf (Warriors) for his rebounds and blocks: he just don't have as much as energy but he could become way better offensively !"
After seeing what he has to offer tonight, I'd have to agree with his assessment. He's very skilled at scoring in the paint, combining athleticism and a nice touch around the basket. He can just as easily throw it down as he can go for a fancy hook or put in a basic layup. His skill in this area was good enough to overcome Marc Gasol, who had huge troubles trying to guard him. It's hard to ignore a guy who can drain a left handed hook and a turnaround jumper in the face of a Gasol. His jumper doesn't have very much range, and isn't good enough to become a calling card for him in the NBA. He can use it to great effect at short range though, and it only makes him more deadly in the paint.
However, he is also very, very raw. It's not as if he recently learned to play basketball, but it's more like he's still taking his time to get adjusted to a higher level of play. He can find himself caught traveling, committing a bad foul down low, or losing the ball really easily. He so raw that he actually went to the French coaches on a few occasions and asked them what he was doing wrong. The good news is that these things are fixable with time, so it's not a huge deterrent when considering his NBA abilities.
As Gregoire said, it's hard to compare him to a current NBA player. He has the inside moves to deal with the best of them, like a Zach Randolph. But he also carries with him the athleticism of a Serge Ibaka, though not quite the energy level of a Ronny Turiaf. He can defend well half the time, but he can get into foul trouble in the wrong situations. Regardless, he does have the skill set to be in the NBA, and it's just a matter of time before he sees extended action.