Lefteris Mantzoukas has been on the radar of basketball schools in the United States and many NBA teams’ scouting staffs since 2017 when he played 80 minutes at the top of the Greek Basketball League at just 14 years old. While showing a normal growth curve until 2019, he made a huge leap forward last year. At ANGT Munich, he averaged 32.0 points, 3.0 assists, 12.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 24.3% 3PTS in 9.2 attempts per game, 46.3% FG in 20 attempts per game. He also played great in the 2019 U16 Euro Championship before ANGT. He averaged 15.0 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.6 steals in seven games.
Team: ASP Promitheas Patras
DOB: July 8, 2003 (17 years old)
Shooting Hand: Right
Primary Position: Small Forward
Secondary Position: Power Forward, as a stretch
NBA Ceiling: Main rotation player
Pro Ceiling: High pro-level starter
Height – Shoes off: 6’9”
Height – Shoes on: 6’10”
Weight: 185 lbs.
His role in both EuroCup and HEBA A1 is that of a 6-foot-9 versatile forward who spaces the floor spotting up in the corners; similar to Deni Avdija’s role in the EuroLeague in general. On defense, it’s his job to follow his man and bring energy to the table. With his national team, Mantzoukas is a primary scorer and team leader, but he is not selfish, and not a leader who gives up easily.
Lefteris Mantzoukas was born on 8 July 2003 in Patras, one of the largest cities in Greece. He was interested in tennis and swimming sports until the age of seven, but in 2010 he turned to basketball with the guidance of his family.
He played for local teams in Patras until he was 11 years old. At the age of 11, he signed with ASP Promitheas Patras. Two Greek powerhouses, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos showed interest in him but Mantzoukas did not sign until this year. According to the news, Olympiacos is ready to ink the NBA prospect to a multiyear contract.
There is no one in Mantzoukas’ family who was an athlete, he is the first to play sports in his family.
Gerasimos “Makis” Giatras, the head coach of Promitheas, gives importance to Mantzoukas from day one. He is a very important mentor for him.
Teammates Gerald Robinson and Leonidas Kaselakis frequently gave advice to Mantzoukas in his individual training last year.. His first-ever start in Greece’s league came against Olympiacos, on 24 May 2017. Not only did he become the youngest starter in league history, he also put up 12 points over 31 minutes.
Physical Tools, Approach and Athleticism
Medical history: N/A.
Standing 6-foot-9 shoes on with 215-pound frame and 7-foot-1 wingspan, Lefteris Mantzoukas has nice size for a 17 years old basketball player. His body has improved significantly over the last seasons, especially, in terms of strength.
Mantzoukas has a nice upper body frame that has filled out well so far; he has long arms, wide shoulders with average muscle mass, popping biceps, and good stiff core muscles. However, I believe there are rooms to grow in his arms and chest.
Has a lot of room to grow on his lower body, as well, to improve his vertical pop. Mantzoukas has put in the work in the weight room, his legs need more work but they are definitely stronger looking than last season.
He is young so he definitely has time to improve his physical tools, but I have some important questions about it. He is on the roster of the Senior team and goes to all away games with them, so he is doing a lot of training and plays a high volume of games.
Mantzoukas also plays with Patras’ youth team in some tournaments. In the summer, he plays with his junior national team. I think it might be a good option not to go to some tournaments to spend more time in the weight room and focus on putting on muscle.
It is necessary to evaluate his athleticism package with two different things. Mantzoukas’ athleticism has little impact on his capacity to generate points around the rim. He showed some fluidity but lacks solid vertical pop. He does a great job of changing direction in the air and has solid lateral quickness. But I love his quickness, body coordination, and ability to change direction on the ground.
Mentality and Awareness
This a section where I have very good thoughts but also some concerns. The positives are that he has played a lot of high-level competition at such a young age. He’s played against ex-NBA players, Euroleague champions, and many other experienced pros. He saw what he can do against them and never stepped back against them, it’s a huge mental plus on his sheet. From the awareness window, Mantzoukas’ is a classic Greek player. He never plays selfish, always wants to do something with his teammates, doesn’t force the game too much, and sees things both on offense and defense. These things are huge plus too.
My concerns for Mantzoukas’ mentality are typical for a young player who has success early on in his career. He must not stop working just because he is a great prospect now. If he has maturity and willingness to learn and improve similar to Luka Dončić, Mantzoukas could take his career two steps further. Right now, his mentality is good, Manztoukas doesn’t give up and always fights. He is focused on the game and loves training. But he must continue to build on this throughout the next months.
Shooting is the best thing in Mantzoukas’ offensive arsenal. His volume in 3-point shots is high despite his percentages not being high but I don’t think that is a problem because Mantzoukas has an almost perfect shooting form and BBIQ as a 6-foot-9 F.
With a low shooting pocket, unorthodox wrist curling, great hip rotation, energy transfer ability to his arms from lower body, nice feet set-up, a little above-the-head release, smooth last touch and good arc, Mantzoukas can shoot at all three levels. He takes good momentum from his chest (despite lack of strength his chest) and hits.
Mantzoukas does his best job as a shooter to find spot-up 3-point hits from the corner, as a floor spacer to bring the energy needed by his team at critical moments, moving well off the ball and creating spacing anywhere on the court. Mantzoukas has an average mid-range repertoire, but I’d like to see him be more aggressive in two-dribble jumpers.
He has room to get better as a movement shooter. In FIBA competition, he hit the three or two points shots as an on the ball scorer after a dribble fake or with a freeze jumper, but not consistently.
Pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop are strengths on the offensive end. Mantzoukas reads and reacts well to his opponent’s footwork and body movement in many of the scores he found as a roller. He quickly turns his hips, uses the correct spacing, and scores by going fluidly to the basket. In the PnPs, he showed good things thanks to his quick and comfortable shot form, shot rhythm, his ability to read the game correctly and his awareness. However, he has room for improvement as a screener. For example, lack of elite strength and aggressiveness hurt him against physical, freakish defenders. I would really like to see him be more aggressive, and more of a face-up scorer after the roll and pop. Also, lack of vertical leaping hurts him here many times.
Lefteris Mantzookuas is a good slasher (lack of strength hurt him here but his BBIQ and body coordination help him), off the ball scorer and very good, unselfish, dribbler and handler for his size.
He dribbles the ball his right better than his left quickly, has a high dribble and nice body balance when handling the ball. He knows how to use his body and how to set the game tempo to protect the ball. Mantzoukas has grab and go ability in transition, the ability to crossover while pushing the pace, but he can look a bit out of control here.
I don’t trust him to lead the set in half-court offense (I think he is like a secondary handler and primary half-court scorer, like Kristaps Porzingis’ early years) because there are some skills he needs to develop as a passer (good read and reacts but really that’s it, needs to develop some craftiness) but in general his deceptive ballhandling ability, speed in dribbling and court vision make him good here.
Mantzoukas has some tricks as a slasher. For example, after using his ability to change direction on the ground and break his opponent’s balance, he gains a step advantage before getting to the rim with his long arms. He has a nice reach and does a pretty good job using his length at the rim with BBIQ. Body coordination and speed help him here again. Not too soft touch around the rim but average. Can finish with either hand, can’t play through contact usually but sometimes, he uses his BBIQ in traffic to find buckets like Sergio Llull’s trademark floaters.
He should gain strength, level his athleticism package and play a little more aggressively. Ending a note here, Mantzoukas’ activity on the offensive glass is good, his effort is good but his lack of elite strength and pop really hurt his effectiveness around the baskett. For the NBA level, his slashing skill-set clearly needs upper body strength and vertical pop. I know, I wrote it many times but this is a really huge question mark in my mind about him.
Bad post-up player at the moment, needs a TON of work here. Can’t do anything even against 6-foot-7 defenders. I think this is the worst weapon in his offensive arsenal.
Mantzoukas’ interior defense is based more on BBIQ than physicality or aggression. He showed some flashes defending head-to-head/face-up situations around the basket and free throw line (lack of strength hurt him here again), but overall what makes his interior defense good is his BBIQ. He does a great job understanding mismatches and knows how to rotate down, rotate to the correct spot or slide on the perimeter.
While he is not a shot blocker or huge rim protector, he does a good job using his length and quick eye-hand coordination to contest shots and has very nice timing contesting shots. He shows good defensive awareness and reaction. However, he has to improve his blocking ability. Again, lack of vertical pop, elite aggressiveness and strength hurt him here…
Despite his thin frame for a forward, Lefteris Mantzoukas is an almost excellent post-up defender. He always battles in the post and plays above his weight-class. He strengthens his stance while defending in post-up, he can use his arms very actively, he never lowers his intensity defense. Mantzoukas also knows very well how to get an offensive foul against his opponent’s reverse, and he annoys his opponent. Of course, he can’t do a good defense against bigs who have a very strong athleticism package but in general, his post-up defense is really good. Thanks to his hip mobility, quick body coordination and feeling for the game, Mantzoukas is a huge factor in the passing lanes although his steal numbers do not dazzle in his stats sheets. Motor runs hot always on the defensive end and it makes him a factor in the passing lanes.
Mantzoukas is also a good switch defender. He can defend SFs, PFs and stretch Cs thanks to his mobility, good length to defend all positions, intense defensive skill-set (eye-hand coordination, quick moves, BBIQ, read and react mechanism, good-level motor, and awareness). However, he has some problems defending explosive athletes. Although he can defend quicker guards and forwards in some positions, Mantzoukas can’t guard freakish athletes.
Although he has quick reactions, active hands, high-level motor, smooth hip turns, BBIQ and awareness, Mantzoukas’ pick-and-roll defense is bad because of his unnecessary rotations. When his opponent sets a screen, he follows him very closely, but cannot do the correct sliding after the screen. He does help-defense unnecessarily, gives the defensive spacing against the handler, and can’t do anything against the step timing of the roller. He does well against guards one-on-one, but when it comes to an action-packed one-on-one defense, Mantzoukas becomes one of the weakest links in his team.
Mantzoukas is not an off the ball defender who can run around the screens well, chasing shooters. He does a good job seeing his man and sometimes gives good reactions but while doing it, he creates backdoor cuts and classic help-side offense chances to his opponents. His BBIQ is not working here. So, as I said, I would like to see him more balanced. Needs a ton of work to pressure spot-up shooters, he can’t rotate to spot-up shooters (he can do it very well around the perimeter but not with his team).
- Will he be able to maintain consistency mentally?
- How much muscle can he gain?
- Will he be able to add some explosiveness to his offensive package?
- Can he become a better passer?
- Will he be shy or adapt to the NBA or NCAA environment?
Lefteris Mantzoukas has the versatility and skill set to play multiple positions on both the offensive end and defensive end but his versatility and arsenal more stand out on the offensive end. Mantzoukas can dribble the ball very, very fast for a 6’9” forward. He can shoot, he can run on full-court in four seconds and score, but when the game comes to tight spaces, to use athleticism in half-court, Mantzoukas is not good. He couldn’t do much around the basket, especially in the face of elite rim protectors like Adem Bona, but some flashes he showed are promising. At the end of the day, I think his offensive arsenal as a floor spacer makes him a good NBA fit prospect. Possessing versatility on the defensive end, Lefteris Mantzoukas is a factor in the passing lanes, energetic on the switch defenses and holds his own stance very well to guarding post-up situations. And yes, his BBIQ and high-level motor are dazzling on the defensive end. However, he has to gain strength, learn to play balanced, and he has to add some athleticism to his offensive and defensive arsenals.