Will Georgios Printezis ever make his NBA debut? This is usually the second question asked about the power forward for Olympiacos, proceeded only by, "Who the heck is Georgios Printezis?" But after introductions are out of the way by fans of the Thunder, the next stage of business should be trying to figure out how to finally land the former 58th overall pick in 2007 in Oklahoma City.
Sure, it's a big "if" at this stage but knowing what Georgios Printezis can bring to a team, he could very easily be thunderstuck in the next year or two and finally make his NBA debut in Oklahoma City after being drafted six years ago.
Last Thursday when the Thunder sent Maynor to the Blazers in return for the draft rights to Printezis, the clamoring by OKC fans was reminiscent of the head scratching in New York back in late 2011 when the Knicks acquired the 6-foot-9 power forward as part of the Tyson Chandler deal between New York, Dallas and Washington. Clearly being unfamiliar and perhaps even uneducated about Printezis' overseas career with Olympiacos, Unicaja Málaga and the Greek National Team is often the norm in these situations, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Printezis would be a great addition to an already impressive roster of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.
If only it were that easy.
Right now, the 27-year old Printezis is under contract with Olympiacos, the resigning Euroleague champions, until the end of the 2014-15 season (2.7 million euros), so any talk of the Thunder buying out his contract is merely that at this point. Speculation and up for discussion. The other down side to consider is the fact that his rights have now been traded five times since the San Antonio Spurs selected Printezis 58th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. Printezis then had his rights traded to the Toronto Raptors, swapped again to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 and then acquired by the Knicks. It was believed New York tried to negotiate a one-year deal with Printezis, but he turned it down to sign with Olympiacos, which in the end proved to be a successful move for the scrappy forward.
Not only was he named the most improved player last season, but he saved his best shot for last.
Printezis hit the game-winning floater over Andrei Kirilenko of CSKA Moscow with 0.7 seconds left to give Olympiacos an incredible 62-61 comeback win last May to capture a Euroleague title.
Last July Printezis -- or at least his rights -- was on the move again, this time to Portland. The Blazers acquired Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric, the rights to Printezis and Kostas Papanikolaou(48th overall in 2012), a 2016 second round draft pick and cash considerations from the New York Knicks in exchange for Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas. The thought then by Portland's brass was that Papanikolaou, a 22-year old 6-foot-9, 230 lbs. small forward, would continue to develop overseas with Olympiacos until Portland was ready to push him through their "draft and stash" pipeline.
Does that mean the window is closing on Printezis and the NBA?
Hardly. Pablo Prigioni, the 35-year old rookie point guard for the New York Knicks, shows that it's never too late to make the jump overseas, but does that mean Printezis will wait another nine years before setting foot in the Association?
His production would be more than welcomed in Oklahoma City.
This season with Olympiacos, Printezis is averaging 10.1 points (second on the team in scoring) and 3.8 rebounds, while shooting 56% from the field in Euroleague competition, and 14.2 points (leads team in scoring), 4.9 rebounds (leads team in rebounding) and shooting 70% from the field in the Greek League.
The scouting report on Printezis: gets after it defensively, goes to work on the block, isn't afraid to sacrifice himself for the ball, can drive and kick on offense and has a consistent stroke from outside. He also brings national team experience to the mix and captured the 2009 Eurobasket bronze medal with the Greek National Team.
Not a bad overall resume for Printezis -- a champion, international experience, a very tough competitor.
All that is missing is finally calling the NBA home.