Birthday: October 5, 1991
Hometown: Tbilisi, Georgia
Years Pro: R
Nickname: Toko Loco (thank you John Schuhmann)
How He Got Here: The Nets traded cash considerations to the Philadelphia 76ers for the rights to Shengelia, who Philadelphia drafted with the 55th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Shengelia had an additional buyout of $300,000, which the Nets paid to his former club Spirou Charleroi for the rights to sign him to a two-year deal worth the rookie minimum immediately rather than stash him overseas.
Contract: Shengelia has a guaranteed two-year contract worth the rookie minimum.
Like Teletovic (the other international import), Shengelia comes to the Nets a bit of an unknown. They traded for his rights on draft night, then were impressed enough by his summer league stint (10.2 points, 3.6 rebounds per game in five summer league games on 53% shooting) to bring him to the States on a two-year contract (paying an additional $300,000 buyout) when they could've simply stashed him overseas. He's not expected to do much -- he's third on the depth chart at small forward, behind Gerald Wallace and Josh Childress -- but the Nets feel they got a steal at the 55th pick.
Shengelia thinks of himself as a “taller Manu Ginobili,” and while that's a stretch, Toko Loco can score in a lot of crafty ways. Shengelia's a talented ball handler for a man his size, and attacks the basket without fear of contact. He's also shown glimpses that he can be a solid defender despite limited NBA athleticism. He's got some post moves as well, and he's quick and strong enough to create mismatches in small lineups at power forward.
Shengelia doesn’t have much of a jump shot, and most of his offense comes from creating around the rim. He’ll need to adjust significantly to score effectively on NBA defenses.
From the Coach
“He’s crafty; he knows how to play. Our game has gone more to that type of European spread offense — pick and roll, with one big guy, spacing the perimeter — so he knows that style of basketball.”