In short, the AAU (the pipeline to college basketball and the NBA), coaches, and scouts too heavily focus on athletic benchmarks– vertical, wingspan, quickness, etc. As a result, less athletic players are cast aside and/or benched from a young age.
In Europe (and South America and China), however, the less “athletic” talent pool necessitates a focus on skill and ball movement. This allows the Manu Ginbolis of the world to develop– such that, by the time they reach their athletic peak, they are:
- Generally more coach-able
- Fundamentally sound
- Accustomed to ball movement offenses that are increasingly popular.
These seemingly pedestrian skills are valued in a league where many players have learned to rely purely on athleticism.