POSITION: Small Forward
WEIGHT: 205 lbs
SCHOOL/ TEAM: Brose Bamberg (Germany)
Size - Good size for a small forward at 6'9"
Tools - Effective shoot, passing, making plays for others and driving to basket
Athleticism - Can make plays above the rim; Fluid athlete; Changes directions well; Quick jump
Confidence - Always seems to be confident in his shooting even if he's having an off night; Plays with a swagger; Did a 360 dunk in a game
Shooting Potential - Shoots an effortless easy ball; Very good when his feet are set
Playmaking - Has the ability to make plays for others out of pick & roll
Ball handling - Solid ball handler for a SF; Likes to go left; Can put the ball on the floor and attack rim
Finishing - Uses both hands around the rim
Active - Moves well off the ball; Really works to get open
Streaky - A bit of a streaky shooter; Can get hot in a hurry but also have long cold spells.
Finishing in traffic - Struggles finishing vs length, athleticism and bulk
Strength - Must bulk up and get stronger to play through contact
Attacking basket - Tendency to take bad angles on drives and not get shoulders low enough
Shot selection - Very confident in his abilities which sometimes leads to tough contested shots
Turnovers - Forces passes into tight spots attempting to make the home run plays
Balance - Good shooter when feet are set, Footwork and balance are not always consistent.
Arnoldas Kulboka of Lithuania is a 6'9 small forward with a skill set that perfectly fits todays modern day NBA. He possesses the ideal size for an NBA wing and has the ability to shoot from deep, make plays out of pick & roll and is a good but not great athlete. It's easy to see why he's considered an NBA prospect but there's still a few question marks regarding his overall game.
One of the first things I noticed about Kulboka was how well he moved with and without the ball. Off the ball he works hard to get open to either spot up or get the ball from the ball handler. When he has the ball he's a solid ball handler who can make plays for others and shows the potential to create his own shot off the dribble whether its off a dribble drive or creating space to get his jumper off. Kulboka has a good feel for the game and is a pretty good passer when he's not looking to score. He's a very fluid athlete that changes directions well and finishes strong with highlight dunks in transition, even finishing one particular play with a 360 degree dunk.
Kulboka carries himself with a swagger that exudes confidence, but like most uber confident players his confidence can be irrational at times which leads to bad shots and highlight reel passes the end up as turnovers.
At the 2017 FIBA Under 19s in Cairo, you could see Kulboka's talent and potential, but you also could see his flaws on full display. While he's a solid shooter, he's more on the streaky side than a specialist. Against a German team that featured good size, athleticism and length at the wing position, Kulboka torched their defenders for 25 points (9-17 FGS and 5-8 from 3) 8 rebounds and 5 assists and looked like a sure fire 1st round talent. However, he also had a stretch where he shot 3 for 27 from beyond the arc over 4 games including a 1-15 game vs Italy and 2-10 game against Argentina. Kulboka also finished the tournament with more turnovers than assists. When his jump shot wasn't falling he looked to drive to the rim, but a lot of his drives didn't seem to have a purpose. While he's athletic, he's not very explosive and unlikely to finish a play above the rim w/o a clear path. He loves to go left and can finish with both hands around the rim and likes to use a reverse layup to avoid shot blockers.
There's a lot to like about Kulboka's game and it will be interesting to see if he can get some additional experience this season for Brose Bamberg.
RAFAEL BARLOWE - OCTOBER 15, 2017