As active as I was scouting players during the 2022 NBA Draft cycle, Gabriele Procida was not a name I was familiar with or a player on whom I had done any research. So, when Troy Weaver and the Detroit Pistons were on the clock at No. 36, I was REALLY hoping to see them select a guy like Jaden Hardy, Bryce McGowens, EJ Liddell, or even Ryan Rollins. As it stands, Weaver decided to go with the “draft and stash” and selected the 6-foot-7 wing out of Italy. As you guys know by now, that means it was time for me to go to the film room, and I am excited to share with you what I found. Sure, he might be a guy “stashed” away overseas for a year, but Procida is a legit prospect with shooting potential, size and vertical pop. Yes, he has limitations in his game, but he’s young and he has some solid building blocks to work from.
The first thing you will hear people talk about with Procida is the shooting. He shot 38% from 3 this past season on 60 attempts and is just a tad above that at 39% for his career on 146 attempts.
An important caveat to make clear on the young prospect right out of the gate, Procida only played 18.5 MPG this past season and even less in the seasons prior. He is absolutely a guy you are going to be confident in when left open, but I think what immediately caught my attention was his shooting coming off of screens and with 1 or 2 dribbles. An aspect I would love to see improvement in over the next 12 months is transitioning that off-the-bounce shooting into the mid-range to grow his all-around shooting game.
Once you get past the shooting stroke you immediately start to have questions about Procida’s offensive game. While he showed a few possessions where he was able to attack a closeout and put pressure on the rim, in general, this was not something he was successful with. His overall 2-point percentage this past season was 68%, BUT if you take away transition, putbacks, and cuts he only made 32% of his shots “around the rim” (via inSTAT). More directly, when he was trying to score the ball in Isolations or as the PnR handler, he just was not that effective. I honestly did not come away from my video study with any clips that gave me a ton of hope in this area of his game and a lot of that has to do with a loose handle that must improve.
Because he was not a player who put a lot of pressure on the rim, I did not get a real feel for what kind of passer he is or could be. He had one VERY isolated possession where he attacked off the bounce and dropped it off to the big for a dunk, but one possession in five games does not give you a feeling that it is something he does well at this point in his career.
Before moving to his defense I do want to mention a few aspects of his game that gave me confidence. First, he absolutely does have some vertical pop as I and others have pointed out and clipped out on Twitter for everyone to see. Because of that vertical pop, I believe he is a guy who will be able to run out in transition and be a play finisher. In the half-court, he showed a nice knack for cutting, even if he didn’t always get the reward of a pass from his teammate. I also think his offensive rebounding is better than what the 0.6 per game number shows. He was constantly taking the opportunity to run into the lane when a shot went up, and I think with more minutes throughout a game it could show up even more in the box score.
As we transition to his defense, I want to start with the biggest negative he has on that end of the floor, defending on-ball screens. This area of his game showed up over and over and over, and countless times he would run right into the screen, or get hung up on it, putting his teammates in a tough spot. There were a few isolated possessions where it was better but I do not think this is an area of his game that is a must for improvement before he enters the league.
The nice thing is that other than the on-ball screen navigation, I came away pretty happy with everything else I saw from him on this end of the court. I feel he does a good job flipping his hips and using his length to stay in front of ball-handlers when not involved in a ball screen, and his overall basketball IQ plays right into him being a good off-the-ball defender. I thought he did a really good job executing “simple” defensive actions like “icing” a ball screen and “scram” switching, and was a very good communicator for a 20-year-old playing in one of the better professional leagues in Europe. Right now, I would say he is only able to match up with wings, but as he gets stronger, I wonder if there is some position versatility to guard 4s where he would be able to hold up if they wanted to try and post him up.
At the end of the day, Procida is probably a prospect we will forget about over the next 12 months (out of sight, out of mind) and maybe he ends up never suiting up for the Pistons. I think I still would have liked to see a player like Jaden Hardy selected who would have been awesome value with the 36th pick, but maybe the roster spots just are not going to be there. I will say I am more intrigued by Procida than when he was drafted and am VERY excited to see how he develops over the next 12 months playing overseas. I know fans are often skeptical about these types of moves paying off, and understandably so, but I do believe this young prospect has the foundation to eventually be a rotation player for the organization down the road.