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BIRTHDATE: 1/10/03

POSITION: Point Guard

HEIGHT: 6'4"


SCHOOL/ TEAM: Vanoli Cremona

CLASS: International 




  • Offensive creativity and advance shot making

  • Shifty and creative ball handler

  • Changes speeds and directions 

  • Plays with high confidence along with flash and flare

  • Prefers to score off the bounce 

  • Aggressive mindset; looks to attack defenders and get downhill

  • Thrives in open floor 

  • Solid athlete; fast with ball in his hands 

  • Potential to play both guard spots 

  • Really good pull up shooter off the dribble

  • Plays hard; Will dive on floor and make scrappy plays

  • Solid passer with upside as a high level creator

  • Good AST/TO at U20

  • Fearless; not afraid of the moment


  • Tendency to play too fast and out of control

  • Sometimes his confidence leads to wild turnovers

  • Leaves his feet and forces passes 

  • Must improve shooting consistency 

  • Shot only - 11% on jump shots at U20 

  • Made 2-15 as P&R ball handler at U20

  • Extending shooting range

  • Struggled finishing at rim in half court 

Italian point guard Matteo Spagnolo, who is arguably the most exciting prospect from an entertainment standpoint in the 2022 draft class. But he’s not just all flash and flare, he’s got the game to compliment his highlight reels. 


First thing I noticed about Spagnolo was his offensive creativity and swagger. Swagger is becoming and overused term in sports, but if I had to pick out one prospect that exudes swagger in this draft class, I’d probably go with Matteo. 


I’m intrigued with his upside as a shot creator off the dribble but what really stands out is his confidence. He’s not on the same level as a passer, and I’m not saying he’ll have the same impact, but I see the same type of mind set in Spagnolo that I see in LaMelo Ball. He never seems to be rattled and is not afraid to take risks on the court.



Another area of Spagnolo’s game that caught my attention is his ability to get to his sweet spots and make pull up jumpers out of ball screens. He’s an aggressive attacker that loves to get downhill in pick & roll situations and he has what I call the “Stop and Pop” in his bag of tricks. I believe this is a much needed weapon and it always amazes me how many guards lack the body control to be able to stop on a dime, elevate and make a pull up jumper off the dribble. 


So far this season through 10 games he’s shooting a respectable 38.5% on pull up jumpers off the dribble on 39 attempts. His percentages jump to 44% on pull up jumpers put of pick & roll.


I think it’s a positive sign considering he’s only 18 years old and playing in Italy’s top division and has made huge improvement over the summer where he only shot 1-18 on pull up at the U20 games this summer. 



From the games I’ve seen, the majority of Spagnolos possessions come as the pick & roll ball handler where his first instinct is to get downhill to finish in the paint. However, Spangolo has shown he can mix defenders up, mostly bigs on switches, and keep them off balance with crafty ball handling to get to his pull up which has been bread and butter this season.



While his scoring gets all the attention, Spagnolo is a good passer, actually I’m not giving him enough credit, he’s a really good passer that makes high level reads and uses his threat as a scorer to create open looks for teammates. 


In my opinion the best and most effective players out of P&R are also aggressive scorers that look to turn the corner and manipulate defenses with their ability to put the ball in the basket. 


I like how he has a variety of reads in his distribution arsenal, he can make kick outs, pockets passes, he can find the roll man and of course whip flashy live dribble passes with a little Italian sauce to cutting teammates..


I really like what Spagnolo brings to the table as a transition scorer. Whether it’s playing for Real Madrid last season, the Italian U20 national team of for Vanoli, he’s been effective scoring in the open floor.  And the numbers don’t lie, Spagnolo has converted over 75%  of his attempts in transition over the last calendar year. He has great instincts and creativity in the open floor and is equally dangerous as the lead ball handler or scoring filling the lanes. He’s at his best playing in a run n gun system where can impact games as a transition playmaker.


As far as areas for improvement. We can start with his jumper. He’ll need to improve as a shooter to maximize his potential as a scorer. He struggles in catch & shoot situations and sometimes passes up open looks from deep to take a tougher mid range shot. His lack of shooting was evident this summer when he only made 11% of his jumpers playing for Italian U20 national team..


Finishing at the rim and in traffic is another area where I’d like to see him make big improvements. He has the handle, speed and offensive creativity to get to the basket, but struggles finishing in the paint. Some of it is due to his lack of strength or lack of vertical pop around the basket and sometimes he just misses what looks like an easy bunny..


Lastly, I’ve mentioned how much I like his swagger and confidence but sometimes it’s gets him in trouble as he tends to hunt highlight reel assists or plays wild and out control. Sometimes he’ll add a little flavor or sauce to a pass instead of making the simple play. I don’t want to rake away from his creativity but he’ll need to find a balance between flash and fundamentals.  He often drives without a plan which leads to him being caught in the air and forcing passes that aren’t there..

ut overall I’d take a shot at him as a 1st round pick. He’s only 18 so we’ll see if he decides to come out this year or next.

Rafael Barlowe - October 26, 2021

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