Nationality: Romania | Team: NBA Global Academy | Birthday: 02.09.2004 | Height: 6’5´´
Introduction, Contexts and Teams
Other than the few U18 games with Romania, Lungu was deployed in a role playing off the ball. For the senior team of U-Banca, Lungu played just 40 minutes in total. Statistics at this point became nearly irrelevant because it’s just too noisy. He flashed some nice drives and creation moments, but overall it’s just hard to take away too much from the tape. In ANGT, he was the main source of scoring, despite being used in an off ball role at Cluj. Most likely, this will be his role on a professional basketball team going forward. Cluj played only four games in the ANGT qualifiers and lost all of them.
2020/2021 Season – U-Banca Transilvania Cluj ANGT
2021 – U18 Challengers, Romania
Here, Lungu shows quite good straight line speed with the ball. I like the hesitation plus hand switch at the freethrow line to get a better angle at the rim without running into two defenders. What’s notable, is that it seems like he didn’t have much lift jumping from one foot.
He gets himself into scrambling situations like this one on a regular basis when he tries to beat his defender off the dribble. From what I can recall, it’s most often his left hand on crossovers and in tighter lanes that leaves a bit to be desired.
Tries to make use off his hang-dribble to create separation here. He isn’t very explosive out of these moves and has problems gaining any space with it. There is quite a lot of ball exposure too, and I would guess that this dribbling style will result in lots of turnovers when he plays against better competition.
Lungu loves to attack out of pivot moves. Stutter rip into the drive, two dribbles and a clean layup out of a standstill posession. Technically, he isn’t really sound as of now and has to clean up quite a bit going forward. He gained momentum here by using his front foot, rather than pushing off with his backfoot. Pushing off with his front foot created a shorter initial stride length and it’s hard to be really explosive this way.
It’s a very small sample size, but I had the feeling, that he improved his ball handling a bit between the end of the season in Romania and the U18 Challengers. He was way more solid in my opinion in ball handling situations overall and was able to create off the pick and roll quite a bit. Here, he split the two defenders and got into a clear finish at the rim.
Lungu loves using pump fakes to attack closeouts. His shooting threat is good enough to generate pretty hard closeouts where the defender makes himself vulnerable. Another rip move, this time with a backfoot plant and drive which gets him some seperation from the defender.
This clip stems from the senior team, where his role was way more reduced. I don’t know why he really tried to attack the defender here, but it results in a turnover. When the defense was vulnerable for a second, he got into a retreat dribble instead.
I would categorize this turnover as positive because he got a good driving lane and tried to use it. However, the processing here was rather slow, and he had a clear pass way before he tried to pass it.
Another occurrence where his ball handling, specifically with his left, just wasn’t good enough for the situation. The decision-making is also a bit questionable. He already created a clear shot for at least one of his teammates standing in his vicinity, but Lungu decided to dribble into the defense even further with no clear advantage in sight.
Wide dribble, ball was pretty exposed, and he turned it over. It’s hard to understand the process here, but in my opinion, he should wait until the big man comes to screen or clears the lane before attacking the defense.
Pick And Roll Ballhandler
This ball screen action looks like a decoy to me, with the corner shooter clearing the whole side. Lungu rejects the screen and drives into the empty side for a quick finish. The lift looked much better, and he didn’t have a problem finishing with his left out of this.
It felt like he reached a different level of comfort during the games. Regardless of his options and his decision-making process here, it’s pretty neat to see him try this stuff.
With his struggles with his left hand in mind, I was stunned to see him dribble into the lane (only dribbling left) and try a floater with his left hand. He clearly doesn’t play to his current strengths here, but I like it as a sign of development on his side.
Good timing from him on the exit dribble and over the top pass. He could step through to create space, but the retreat dribble allowed him to open a better angle to pass over the top.
It took a second for him to pick the ball up and pass. The next step of his development would be to make this pass here out of the dribble directly.
His tendency to do flashy passes shines through occasionally, but it seems like Lungu has some flair and creativity to him but is restricted in using it.
One underrated part of his transition game is his passing. I really loved to see the quick backspin pass here that allowed his teammate to run into the pass and catch it easily.
Quick process of the situation from him with the touch pass to open a potential open three or swing situations.
The timing here is very important. Had he passed one dribble before, his teammate wouldn’t be this open.
Pretty good timing here, too. Hang dribble with the left, the big shows up high and wasn’t able to recover in time when the pass came.
Retreat dribble to the left, his middle drive opened the shot one pass away.
He projects as a pretty interesting standstill passer, too. Timing, velocity and spin on the bounce pass are pretty good.
Another display of quick processing here. He knew what to do even before catching the ball.
Turnovers aren’t generally bad. I like what he tried or saw here, it just lacked execution.
A common thing now are his back cuts. He is pretty good at reading the defender and timing his cut to the basket. Normally, he tends to do a reverse layup in these situations.
He can’t really create a window for his shot here, but enough gravity on his drive to create a defensive breakdown. Unfortunately, his willingness to pass or his vision in these situations is not advanced enough in order to make the pass every time he creates quality looks, not for himself, but for his teammates.
Little stutter step here to freeze the defender right in front of the screen. He could do a better job of selling the move by involving the ball more. The opportunity for the retreat dribble and pull-up was also there, but he is more comfortable coming down the floor and using his floater to score.
Underrated offensive rebounder just by his motor and ability to finish possessions. Decent leaping ability and relatively quick loading time here from him on the put back. Doesn’t need a long runway or load up to finish with a dunk.
One of the before mentioned backdoor cuts finished with a dunk. One step, jumping with both feet to finish strong.
Marvelous pick and roll possession from Lungu here. Unfortunately, his one-foot leaping in traffic isn’t explosive enough to finish this one.
He has no problem finishing with his left, but would be more effective with more space or separation. His lift also doesn’t help here to get a clean layup attempt.
Great job of feeling the defender and shielding for the extension finish. There are certainly ways to be an effective finisher despite physical limitations.
Nice stutter rip move by Lungu here to beat the defender baseline. the finish was super ambitious and the ball slipped a bit or he was hit on the arm.
The free throw shooting overall looks decent. It looks like the ball comes off his middle and ring finger because of his shooting bed. His slightly left sided bias starting the shot leads to a left side biased to middle shot line and could lead to left and right misses.
As youcan see in the replay, the guide hand is on the ball when the ball hits the set point. The shot starts left of his body, which causes a flaring elbow on his shooting arm. He has a quite severe knee valgus when loading up his shot. When you look closely, his offhand thumb has some influence in the shot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I like his overall energy transfer, despite some indicators that he has to work on his overall strength to become a more consistent shooter.
Lungu takes time to set his feet before the shot and didn’t tend to rush his shots on stationary catch and shoot attempts.
Some examples of his knee valgus on catch and shoot attempts.
Normally, he tends to prefer a 1-2 footwork getting into his shot. In this example, he used a hop to set his feet when moving backwards. I like the hop a little bit more usually, because it’s a more versatile pattern.
I like how he planted his right foot, to go into the turn on a hop right here. Sets him up for a more balanced attempt while turning his body to be able to get a clean shot off. The whole movement was pretty quick and explosive, he even could attempt a drive out of the hop plant more easily, because he hasn’t established a pivot foot this way.
Lungu is a very confident shooter and will shoot without hesitation. However, I would’ve liked him to reset the offense here, instead of chucking this attempt up. But he shows his overall aggression.
Currently, he isn’t able to create much separation on a standstill most of the time, but has shown some nice flashes of craft to work his way to the rim or draw fouls. Maybe it’s just me, but he looks more decisive now than a few months ago, which could be a sign of growth and comfort in those situations.
When creating his own shot, Lungu is better going left, which is a common thing amongst right-handed players because of a more natural body alignment. The flashes are there, but currently the results are inconsistent.
Earlier, I mentioned his love for creating out of the pivot. He uses his gravity as a driver to gain space in these situations and get into the shot. The next step is chaining some moves out of the pivot together to create more separation.
The flashes of self-creation are pretty intriguing and are something to build on.
Good process here, reading where and when to gather to beat the rushing defender.
He really shines in transition situations with early passes and his ability to run the floor hard and finish with good touch, without slowing down that much.
Rarely gives up possessions on offense. Is able to create secondary looks just by his effort and motor.
In the open court, Lungu’s passing creativity shines through, and he is able to make good reads and act as a ball handler and passer. I really love his grab and go potential because of it.
On Ball Defense
He really likes to get into the ball handler early in the possession and playing full court defense.
DL had his fair share of gambling high up the court, which often leaves his teammates in the dust and leads to easy points. He was successful from time to time, but the rest of the team was too vulnerable in these situations.
I think Lungu wants to go under and back to the ball handler here, his big thinks it’s a switch. Far too easy for Niagu to get right to the rim for an open dunk.
His effort going through screens isn’t the best yet. I don’t mind dropping and going under, but it’s bad when he gets screened so easily.
When it comes to screen navigation, Lungu has some ways to go. Whether it’s communication or general understanding here, he gives up far too many open shots through easy mistakes.
Great use of vertical defense and controlled strides to go with the ball handler without fouling.
Off Ball Defense
Most of the time, he makes a good job at digging into opponent ball handlers and at least disturb them. He was able to get some steals this way.
With his slight frame, he won’t be able to contest shots from stronger, way bigger players. However, I really like his activity here, as he gets most rotations right and is able to change some attempts at the rim. He rarely makes any business decisions here.
A good indicator of a player’s off ball defense activity and functional length are blocked jump shots, and Lungu had two in the U18 Challengers.
I like his ability to shuffle between two opponents and close out in time. His general level of aggressiveness is pretty high and can backfire, but helps with recovering back to the opponent.
A minor thing here, don’t turn your head and back to the action. He would’ve been able to disturb the ball handler normally, but took himself out of the play in this instance.
His defensive processing is a bit slow at times, which isn’t uncommon for younger players at all.
By the time of release of this scouting report, Dragoș Lungu already joined the NBA Global Academy to work on his game. In a recent interview over on Prospective Insight, he talked about his strengths and weaknesses:
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths and playstyle?
DL: Yeah, I’m mostly…I’m all-around, I can do everything. It depends on the day. When I feel like I can score, I’m just going to score. I feel like I can pass [and] create for others. But I can play defense really well. My defense is a very big point in my game. I can apply pressure and be aggressive. Also, I can shoot threes and mid-range, also layups. Yeah, I can do everything, you know.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
DL: Yeah, my shot, range shot. I think the most [important] thing that I have is to develop my shots and also my vision and my IQ. So yeah, that’s kind of it.
His shot would really open the rest of his game going forward, and he would be able to display his ability to attack closeouts. I don’t think he projects as an on ball creator going forward, but as a connecting piece that extends advantages by attacking closeouts and hit open shots. To develop further, he has to work on the technical details of closeout attacking and become more comfortable and able to see the floor when doing so. His experience with the U18 the past summer will help in that regard. An accelerated learning curve by playing more on ball could be in place in the future, but I don’t expect it to happen. His only chance to develop in those situations will come in training and in game situations, but playing off the ball for now.
Overall, I think the Academy situation will suit him to develop a better feel for the game and improve his processing on both ends, because they are able to work full-time with him, and he is able to play a higher level of competition overall with other high(er) level prospects around him.
He plans to join the G-League or NBL Next Stars program in the near future, but is also listening for college offers, which he explained further in the interview.