Our 2022 NBA Draft scouting report series continues with a look at Gabriele Procida, a wing out of Italy.
It’s that time of the year again: the build-up to the NBA Draft. The endless mock drafts, the countless conundrums that teams face whether to trade up, trade down, or trade out, and the tough decisions early entrants need to make whether they keep their hat in the ring for the 2022 NBA Draft or return to college.
For international prospects, they’re faced with a different type of safety net. Nearly all international prospects are already with professional teams in some capacity or other, and should they not enter the draft or be selected in the draft, life for many will go on as it was before whereas life for those coming out of college undrafted face a different path.
So brings us to today’s prospect: 19-year-old (turning 20 in early June) Italian wing Gabriele Procida.
Standing at 6’7 (according to ESPN), Procida plied his trade with Fortituto Bologna in the Serie A in Italy last season, averaging 6.9 points per game on 52% shooting from the field on 4.3 field goal attempts, 38% from three on 2.3 attempts, 78% from the free throw line on 1.9 attempts, a true shooting percentage of 66% and an effective field goal percentage of 62% to go along with three rebounds, 0.69 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks, 0.7 turnovers and 0.9 fouls a game in an average of 18 minutes a game in 26 games played this season, per RealGM.
Obviously looking at those stats it’s safe to say that Procida, right now, isn’t a world beater but what is evident is that Procida was very efficient with the opportunities that he did receive. To average a hair under seven points with just over four shot attempts per game is solid, especially when over half of them come from beyond the arc.
Well, no point hanging around too long here, let’s look at some film and see what Procida (who wears number nine) showed this season in Italy. For those who are new here, basically I’ll break these down into three categories: scoring/offense, playmaking/passing, and defense before wrapping up with a conclusion while looking at where said player is mocked and what draft experts say about him (this is the last step for me in writing these so I’m not swayed by something someone else has said when I write this, that this is just what I see. Just a note for general transparency).
With just over four field goals per game and over half of them being three-pointers, there’s not going to be a massive amount to say here but enough to be getting on with.
The two main aspects I would say about Procida’s offensive game would be his athleticism and his perimeter shot-making.
Starting with Procida’s athleticism, I have to say I was surprised because as I watched him move on the floor, I didn’t really see that athleticism lurking beneath: he rarely drives to showcase it. But what he does do when he gets a chance off of a turnover, or in transition or for an alley-oop is finish with authority at the rim.
Off of a steal by his teammate in the front-court, the ball is handed to Procida with the entire defense at bay, and Procida showcases his athleticism with the big finish:
Off of another steal from his teammate, Procida is the support in the 2-on-1, and his teammate throws an audacious lob that Procida collects and is able to finish for the alley-oop:
On the defensive end, Procida pounces on the loose-ball, takes it away from the defender to lead the charge himself and finishes with the one-hand slam:
Off of a steal on an out-of-bounds play (that you won’t see because the broadcast was showing a replay), Procida charges towards the rim and finishes with authority:
We’ll see this a little later but Procida is active in his off-ball movement and often on shots that go up is active about his movement getting into the paint. Here, when the shot goes up, he takes the defense by surprise and crushes the offensive put-back jam:
You’ll kind of recognize the theme in which these opportunities presented themselves: they’re in the open court where there are none or one defenders. Plays like this in the half-court are not frequent for Procida right now.
Let’s move onto Procida’s three-point shooting.
Right now, Procida is best in catch-and-shoot situations from behind the arc rather than anything off of the dribble so we’ll just look at a few of threes in those situations and move on.
Here, he awaits on the perimeter, relocating slightly as the drive is made by his teammate, receives the ball and hits the three:
A little defense to offense here as Procida recovers to block the jumpshot, streaks ahead in transition, receives the ball and initially looks for the pass for rising up into the three-pointer:
Off of the pass on the drive, he gathers the ball and hits the catch-and-shoot three:
On the quick play that the broadcast almost misses, Procida hits the contested three-pointer as, sadly, Gigi Datome’s facial hair is powerless to prevent the three:
Again, I would Procida’s best work behind the perimeter is in catch-and-shoot scenarios but he shows flashes in some work off of the dribble.
Here, Procida comes off the screen before stepping-back for the three-pointer on the move:
From the baseline, Procida makes a move to get the ball as the screens are set for him and sheds the switch defender with the step-back and hits the three:
Procida is very active off of the ball and while this didn’t lead to massive amount of cutting opportunities, in the right system it certainly.
Starting at the bottom of the picture in the corner, Procida zigs-and-zags his way inside the paint from the wing, relocates to the corner but in this instance moves a little much as his teammate, expecting Procida to be in the corner, drops the intended pass to Procida out of bounds:
Again, Procida makes plenty of movement here after the give-and-go and, if anything, moves too much again as he tries to make his cut across the lane as his teammate is heading from the opposite direction, not only creating unnecessary traffic but adding another defender in a tight spot to the mix:
Again you can see on this next play that Procida, while active off the ball, ends up hindering his side somewhat as his cut brings a second defender to the ball-handler:
Procida is active off the ball and on rebounds when shots go up but needs to translate this more into points, because he’s clearly willing to move off the ball.
There’s really very little to say here either, as you would probably expect with Procida averaging 0.59 assists a game but we’ll look at a few passing highlights briefly and move on to the defensive side of the floor.
Here, a nice quick volleyball tap to his teammate that leads to a three-point attempt (before showcasing his willingness to move off the ball and try get in the mix when a shot goes up:
Another play of a similar type; a quick touch-pass that leads to a three-point attempt but, again, the shot is missed:
Here’s an example of Procida trying to make a pass off of the dribble, getting caught in traffic and dropping his pass into a turnover:
You could see what the idea was here but wasn’t able to squeeze the pass through.
A bit more to say here, thankfully, than Procida’s passing so let’s get into it.
His movement and ability to stay in front of his man is relatively impressive, so we’ll start from that side of things.
On this play, Procida picks up his man at half-court and hounds his man, staying in front of him and contesting the perimeter shot, which ends up in an airball:
To end the half, Procida does a great job here preventing penetration from the perimeter and contests the shot well to complete an excellent defensive possession:
This next defensive play is an amalgamation of different defensive aspects. As the ball is swung to the weak-side, you can see just before that Procida — in the zone defense — is ready to step in front of the big-man in front of the rim and when the ball is hit to the corner, Procida gets to the corner, prevents the drive, kills the dribble and forces the pass. Next, this time as the help defender, Procida jumps in to help on the-ball when the dribble is ended and rips the ball away for the steal, completing a fantastic defensive possession as he serves both in zone, 1-on-1, and a help defender:
What was impressive to me with Procida was his general competency in the zone defense at his age and on this possession here against Milan (who were one of the best teams in the Euroleague this season and knocked out in the playoffs by eventual champions Efes) he’s active on defense; stepping in to plug gaps, switch back to the wing, prevents the drive, steps into the gap again to help create the turnover...just showing he knows exactly where he needs to be and doing so effectively:
Again, Procida displays good awareness as a whole as he digs in on the drive to help create a turnover:
Procida is able to contest shots quite well, as we’ve seen a little bit already but here’s another look at a perimeter shot that is missed with Procida in close proximity:
We’ve seen a few instances — when we looked at his offense — of steals from Procida where he finishes with a dunk but here’s one we haven’t looked at yet as he anticipates where the pass is going, intercepts it and steams in transition for the dunk:
Procida does well here to anticipate the drop-pass just in front of the rim and comes up with the steal, but commits a quick turnover leading to points:
Let’s ‘Procida’ to bring this to a conclusion, shall we?
Gabriele Procida is an interesting prospect.
Offensively, there’s not a massive amount to say right now in terms of what he can do right now. As a three-point shooter, there is some good potential to expand upon here but right catch-and-shoot is the name of the game. I actually don’t think it’s massively important if Procida isn’t able to shoot the three as well off of the dribble, but obviously it helps.
I’d love to see Procida do more off of the dribble inside the arc and explore his penetration-game and what spots he can get to and what his best spots are. Can he come off the screen and hit an elbow jumper? Can he come off the screen and drive to the rim? He is clearly athletic and can finish with authority at the rim and if he can drive by opponents/get downhill, he would be a threat at the rim because of his near explosive athleticism. For now, however, these big finishes come either in transition or off of turnovers/steals which limit his scoring output.
I’d also love to see Procida utilized more in off-ball situations where he can make more cuts and is found by teammates on these cuts for scoring opportunities because the knack for it is there, as is the willingness to do so.
In terms of his minutes, you’d obviously like to see an increase in those too but young players in this position with a professional team really have to work for these opportunities; it is not easy at times.
Defensively, I like what Procida has shown so far. He can move his feet well and stay in front of his man and has a decent reach to contest and block shots on occasion too. He’s comfortable in the zone, he’s intelligent in knowing where to be, where he can rotate be to help and then get to where he needs to be as bodies seamlessly interchange in the zone — he already has this knowhow which is great because some players just get lost in the zone; you really have to be on a string.
Let’s see what some other outlets say about Procida and where they mock him ahead of the draft.
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic currently has Procida mocked at No. 55 to the Golden State Warriors, which would honestly be a perfect situation where they he can continue to develop in Europe and the Warriors could look to add another shooter to their bench later down the road. If it works out, fantastic. If not, it will be of little consequence for a team that is heading to the NBA Finals and whatever the result of that will look to return there in the near future as Procida develops.
ESPN rank Procida 52nd on their ‘Best Available’ list and Portland-bound Mike Schmitz had a lot to say about Procida when he went to see him play last year.
April 29, 2021: (Intriguing long-term prospects) — Out of all the prospects I evaluated, Procida is the prospect I’d feel most comfortable stamping as a sleeper with a real chance to play in the NBA and outplay his projected draft slot — whether he targets the 2021 draft or not. At almost 6-foot-8 with wide shoulders, a sweet shooting stroke and excellent fluidity, Procida has the ingredients to eventually carve out a role at the highest level if he can continue to improve as a ball handler, decision-maker and defender.
Watching him warm up in Brescia, Italy, for about an hour, it didn’t take long to realize that he is one of the best shooters in this draft class, with the ability to knock down shots on the move and finish above the rim in space. On the season, the 18-year-old Italian player is shooting 42% from 3 on 81 attempts in his first full season at the first division level, shooting the ball with confidence, even sprinting off screens or rising into pull-ups.
As is often the case with young players, Procida was on a short leash the night I evaluated him, playing six total minutes after he was sent to the bench for the rest of the game following a missed dunk and blown defensive assignment at the end of the first half. The game can move a bit fast for him on both ends of the floor right now. and he is certainly not ready to play in an NBA playoff game tomorrow. He is still a bit slight in stature and far from a finished product physically. But from studying his film extensively, it became clear that he fits an NBA prototype and has the energy and baseline physical ability needed to hold his own defensively as his body matures.
Procida also does a lot of the little things you need from role players — regularly crashing the offensive glass for tip dunks, jumping the passing lanes for a steal or scampering back door for an easy finish. Whether it’s Kevin Huerter or Furkan Korkmaz, size and shooting is king on the wing in today’s NBA, and Procida can offer both to an organization willing to invest in him long term as a draft-and-stash prospect. A late bloomer who is still somewhat unknown to most NBA executives, Procida is the type of prospect who could have broken out in a Nike Hoop Summit type of setting in a normal year without a pandemic. — Mike Schmitz
A lot of what Schmitz said from 2021 still applies here: he can still crash the glass, he can still get into those passing lanes and he’s still got a potential NBA future.
I personally think that a team should spend a second round pick on Procida because I think there’s a nice baseline here but another year or so abroad would do him good, especially in a situation where he’s utilized a little more and allowed to explore more of his offensive game because at the moment it is limited. Nothing to really lose if it doesn’t work but potentially a lot more to gain here with Procida.
I really like Procida’s potential ceiling and if he can continue on this trajectory because, as Schmitz mentioned, a combination of size, shooting and defense too, is desirable in the NBA. Some players’ combination of skillset and size make it difficult for them to translate into the NBA but Procida’s — again, if he can continue to improve — could pave the way forward for an NBA future.