The surprising physical talents that super-sized people possess is part of the attraction of basketball, a game that showcases agility and skill normally associated with smaller athletes. Since he debuted in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague two weeks after his 24th birthday in 2016, big man Johannes Voigtmann has consistently proven that size and skill go well together. Heading into his fifth EuroLeague season, efficiency and rebounding have been the hallmarks that let him succeed for the first three at TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz before signing last summer for two years with defending champions CSKA Moscow. But during these first four seasons, Voigtmann has also showcased the kind of floor-running ability that is scarce among players his size, 2.11 meters, and very valuable to his teams.
Only a handful of EuroLeague players stand taller than Voigtmann, but perhaps none of them can be seen streaking down the court as much. It often starts with his rebounding. Since he arrived in the league, no player has pulled more defensive boards than Voigtmann’s 534. His average of 4.2 per game ranks third in the same span. Voigtmann often uses those rebounds to ignite fastbreaks himself, either by making the traditional outlet pass to a teammate or by turning and dribbling upcourt. Both his passing and dribbling are above average for players his size, but Voigtmann doesn’t make the mistake of trying to do it all. More often than not, he will pass early and then race ahead to get the ball back and finish close to the basket. He is also quite capable of making long passes for his teammates to finish or run behind them to finish the break as a trailing scorer. He is equally dangerous in slightly slower, transition situations as a trailing passer from the top of the three-point arc, where he can pass, shoot or fake and create. Not too many players Voigtmann’s size command the defense’s respect in all those facets of offense.
About to turn 28, Voigtmann enters the prime of his career having figured out and applied an age-old truth in basketball: if you out-run your opponent to your offensive end of the floor, your chances to score rise a lot. As such, his career 62.0% two-point efficiency is better than all except three players since Voigtmann entered the EuroLeague. Voigtmann shot more three-pointers with CSKA last season and spent less time near the basket, but his role in starting and finishing fastbreaks remained the same. When it comes to tall players, if you see one head rising above a pack of sprinting fastbreakers, don’t be surprised if it’s Johannes Voigtmann of CSKA Moscow.