It’s been almost a year since we last saw Juhann Begarin play basketball for the Boston Celtics at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Since then, the draft-and-stash prospect has been plying his trade in France for Paris Basketball of the LNB Pro A league. The French league isn’t one of the more prominent competitions in Europe, but it does boast some former NBA talent and is home to future NBA star Victor Wembanyama who many believe is currently the best prospect in the world.
So, Begarin is in good company, and that has allowed him to continue developing his game as he bids to eventually make the move stateside and join up with the Celtics or another NBA team. However, from what we saw during Summer League, Begarin is still a raw player who heavily relies on his size and athleticism to remain competitive against more skilled opponents.
Throughout the current season Begarin has had his ups and downs, just like any young and developing player, but, much like the Celtics, Begarin began to show signs of rapid development as Paris’ season drew to a close. When speaking to an international scout, under the condition of anonymity, he provided Heavy.com with some insight on Begarin’s immediate future.
“I think you’ve got to be excited about how he has developed. I mean, he was raw with a capital R, even at the beginning of this season. He made some strides last year, and early this year you were just looking for some signs that he was putting it together. Then, bam, I think you really saw it late in the season. They made some tweaks to his jumper, he shooting from the outside with a lot more confidence, and he is a little smoother.
He is still raw, but you can see the physical gifts coming together now with some work, some practice time, and some development. He is smarter defensively, you can see that. They might want to bring him over on a two-way (G-League contract) or maybe you leave him in Paris for one more year. But he could be a keeper,” The scout said.
Getting a Second Opinion on Begarin
Heavy also spoke to an international scout back in February, at which point Begarin was once again a topic of discussion, although he hadn’t yet started to string together multiple good performances.
“At some point, you have to become a basketball player. I think we are seeing that with some other French guards, guys like Killian Hayes and (Theo) Maledon. Great athletes, can go 100 mph, but can you shoot? Can you do the things to make your team better? He has been a starter on a team that has some decent enough players, but it’s a bad team.
He has a lot of strides to make just in terms of, playing within himself, slowing down, using athleticism when you need it, not all the time. And shooting. I mean, he is a shooting guard who can’t shoot. He is going to have to learn these things. He is 19, there is time, but you’re not going to see him in Boston for two years at least,” A scout told Heavy.com under the condition of anonymity.
Begarin Has the Athletic Profile to Suit the Celtics
Since Brad Stevens moved into a front-office role and Ime Udoka assumed the duties of head coach, the Celtics have been very clear about the type of player they’re looking to add to their roster. Stevens has coined that prototype as “shooting with size” with the notion being that additional size and length will usually afford itself to better defensive skills long-term.
Begarin, who is incredibly athletic and well-built, has an NBA-ready body and is just waiting for his basketball skills to catch up. Luckily, the developmental jump the young guard has taken this year proves that he’s got the potential to become an NBA talent at some point in the near future.
Assuming Udoka is still the head coach at that point, Begarin could find himself battling for a full-time roster spot, but he will need to improve his defensive IQ before undertaking that battle. Begarin’s size and speed also allow him to bully his way to the hoop at will, which will fit Udoka’s physical brand of basketball, while also ensuring Boston’s ability to pressure the rim remains at a high level when Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are on the bench.
Begarin is probably still another year or so away from being ready to compete in the NBA, but could do well to follow in Yam Madar’s footsteps and move to a more competitive league to continue his development in Europe.