TBG Player Previews 2016-2017: Egidijus Mockevicius

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Egidijus Mockevicius, center

2015-2016: 31.8 MPG, 15.7 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 2.8 BPG, .637 FG%, 0 3PT%, .684 FT%, .658 TS%, .637 eFG%, 34 G, 34 GS

Who Is Egidijus Mockevicius?

On June 26th, just a few days after the 2016 NBA Draft, the Brooklyn Nets signed Egidijus Mockevicius to a partially guaranteed one-year deal, a move that padded out their squad beyond the roster’s maximum size of fifteen. Born in Kursenai, Lithuania, Mockevicius is an interesting prospect and there’s something to be said about the Nets signing him just days after the draft dust had settled.

In college, Mockevicius played at the University of Evansville, a small Division 1 school in Indiana, for four years and measures about 6’10 and 235 pounds.

Mockevicius relies on his 7-foot wingspan and smart body positioning to get the advantage on the boards and, given his height, will have to continue to do so if he wants to find success in the NBA. The center cannot depend on natural athleticism to be competitive, so he’s a self-proclaimed hard worker and looks to take advantage offensively by moving off ball.

2015-16 Recap:

Although he’s already 24 years-old, Mockevicius was named Defensive MVP of the Missouri Valley Conference — where NCAA tournament darlings Wichita State and Northern Iowa complete — and made the All-Conference squad for the second straight season.

Perhaps more impressively, Mockevicius led Division 1 in rebounds, posting 13.9 per game in 2015-2016 — a total that defeated high draft selections like Domantas Sabonis (11.8), Ben Simmons (11.8), and Pascal Siakam (11.6).

For the Nets, Mockevicius averaged 5.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 10.7 minutes per game during Summer League in July.

Will he make the team?

Unfortunately, the Nets already have a logjam of frontcourt options heading into the season so Mockevicius’ chances currently look slim. Brook Lopez is the obvious starter and franchise player in the middle, but, more importantly, the Nets signed Justin Hamilton to a guaranteed deal worth 6 million over two years. It’s safe to assume that he’ll be Lopez’s primary backup, so, perhaps, Mockevicius was always a safety net in case the Nets struck out in free agency.

Toss in Anthony Bennett, Trevor Booker, and Luis Scola, who could all get minutes at center in a small-ball lineup, and the odds aren’t great for Mockevicius. However, if he’s willing, he could head to the Long Island Nets and hone his skills this fall, all under the watchful eye of Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks.

The Mockevicius Highlight Reel Theater:


“Brooklyn Grit” seems like it would suit Mockevicius well.

The Bottom Line:

Barring injury, Mockevicius seems destined for Long Island or Europe. He’s obviously a hard worker and great rebounder, but there are too many established veterans and guaranteed contracts ahead of him. However, with their D-League team operating so close to the professional level, there’s plenty of opportunity to carve out a rapport with his fellow undrafted (and likely D-League bound) teammate, Yogi Ferrell and get noticed.

The Brooklyn Game Player Previews: Jorge Gutiérrez