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Croatians Around The NBA: Bogdanović and Hamilton Impress, Šarić and Hezonja Struggle

November 1, 2016

Bojan Bogdanović with a facial on Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo on Saturday night

Bojan Bogdanović with a facial on Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo on Saturday night

Photo: ESPN

 

Croatian international, Bojan Bogdanović, has cemented himself as the best Croatian player in the world following a great start to the 2016-17 NBA season for the Brooklyn Nets this week. The 27-year-old small forward continued from where he left off this summer at the Olympics with a 21 point 9-17 performance against the up and coming Boston Celtics on opening night Wednesday night in bean town. Bojan struggled to get anything going against Paul George and the Pacers as he finished with only four points on 1-6 from the field. The following night, Bojan bounced back with a 26 point 9-15 from the field in a tight loss to the Milwaukee Bucks while guarding  Giannis Antetokoumpo for long stretches of the game. The Nets finished off the week with a disappointing 118-88 loss to the Chicago Bulls as Bojan only managed 15 points and three rebounds in the loss.

 

Bojan Bogdanović throws it down against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

 

“I’m feeling much better,” Bogdanovic said. “But I’m still not hitting those 3s that I have to hit because [on Saturday] all my 3s that I have were wide open 3s. [My teammates] found me great. I can improve many things right now. So I have to play also more consistent. I cannot have games like [Friday] night. So I’m trying.”

 

Bogdanovic’s jumper has never has been in question but his defense, on the other hand, always has been in doubt. He had the worst defensive rating on the entire Nets squad last season. Coach Atkinson is pushing Bojan to improve on the other end of the court. Also, Bojan will have to work on his rebounding after only averaging three rebounds last year for the Nets.

 


Dwayne Wade puts Bogdanović on SportsCenter

 

“Expectations for us are not good. I heard that,” Bogdanović said. “But I think the three games we played are on a really high level, especially the last two games, and [on Saturday] night, we played without our best player. So overall, if we continue like this, I think that we’re going to win many games this season and also surprise many people.”

 

The Nets are predicted to win just 20 games this season. But if they’re going to win more Bogdanović will have to play at an all-star level. Bojan is tied for the team lead at 17.0 points per game in Atkinson’s motion offense.

 

Bojan Bogdanović against the Bulls on Halloween

Brooklyn Nets center Justin Hamilton (41) passes the ball around Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34)  on Saturday night

Brooklyn Nets center Justin Hamilton (41) passes the ball around Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) on Saturday night

Photo: USA Today

 

After starting off the season with a bang, Justin Hamilton has cooled off for the Brooklyn Nets. The 26-year-old looked to be the signing of the season for the Nets after finishing with 19 points and ten rebounds on 7-12 shooting and 3-6 from downtown as the Nets lost to the Boston Celtics on opening night. However, after earning a spot in place of Brook Lopez for his opening night performance , Hamilton managed only eight points against the Pacers on Friday night, six points against the Bucks on Saturday night and a goose egg in 17 minutes against the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. Hamilton is a good NBA player and should be a valuable asset to the Brooklyn Nets this season. Hopefully, team Croatia keeps him in their sights.

 

Justin Hamilton has a great Nets debut

 

 

Dario Šarić struggled against the Hawks on Saturday

Dario Šarić struggled against the Hawks on Saturday

Photo: CSNPhilly

 
Dario Šarić started off the NBA season with two terrible performances for the Philadelphia 76ers. The 22-year-old power forward from Šibenik opened up the season by going 2-12 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, while failing to connect on all four three point attempts. Dario slightly improved on Saturday by shooting 2-9 and 1-3 from downtown in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The 76ers will continue to struggle as they look to miss the playoffs once again this season. Šarić will continue to start for the 76ers and should use this time wisely as he develops against the best players in the world. “I didn’t do a very good job last two games,” he said. “But it’s OK, the season is first two games. We have 80 [more] games. I hope I will catch some rhythm and I will start to play good.”

 

Dario Šarić interview after practice on Monday

Mario Hezonja is spending more time off the court than on the court for the Orlando Magic this season

Mario Hezonja is spending more time off the court than on the court for the Orlando Magic this season

 

Photo: Orlando Sentinel

 
21-year-old Mario Hezonja had a terrible first week to the NBA season by shooting 27% off the bench for the Orlando Magic in three losses. The Dubrovnik born small forward didn’t fare better on the defensive end as he finished the week with a 0.4 average on steals and 2.0 average on rebounds. The Orlando Magic have struggled thus far in the NBA season but Mario will have to improve his efficiency from downtown real quick or its back to Europe for the Croatian international.

 

Ivica Zubac remains on the inactive list for the Lakers

Ivica Zubac remains on the inactive list for the Lakers

Photo: Twitter

 
Ivica Zubac remains in a suit for the Los Angeles Lakers. The 19-year-old former Cibona center looked on from the bench as the Lakers started 1-2 to open up the new season. No word from the Lakers organization as to why Zubac hasn’t dressed in any of the Lakers first three matches but rumor has it that Ivica will start off in the NBA D-League once the season starts later in the month.

 

Dragan Bender shows his reach against the Sacramento Kings on Wenesday

Dragan Bender shows his reach against the Sacramento Kings on Wenesday

Photo: AFP

 
After a promising 10 point in 12 minute performance by Dragan Bender on opening night for the Phoenix Suns, the 18-year-old prospect put up goose eggs in the following three games. New Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson is already on the hot seat as his boys have lost all four of there opening NBA games this week. Dragan will definitely need to average more than five minutes of playing time to produce in this league.  Watson has already suggested that there will be lineup changes with Tyson Chandler already replacing Alex Len in the Suns starting lineup. Maybe Bender can push out Jared Dudley for the power forward spot as the season progresses.

 


Dragan Bender plays the “Friends” game

Andrew Bogut in action against the Rockets on Friday

Andrew Bogut in action against the Rockets on Friday

Photo: AFP

 

NBA champion, Andrew Bogut, is starting to fit in with the Dallas Mavericks even though the team lost its opening three games this week. The former Golden State Warriors center averaged 11 rebounds and five points while shooting over 50% in 25 minutes of action this week. Bogut does so much on the defensive end that doesn’t show up on the box score, something that Portland Blazers guard Damian Lillard notices. When asked about the new look Warriors, Lillard stressed the importance of losing Bogut in the off-season, “It’s not the same,” Lillard said of the Warriors’ defense. “They are a great offensive team and I think they will still be a good defensive team, but it’s different than when (Andrew) Bogut is not back there. It’s just not the same.”

 

Andrew Bogut flagrant foul against the Rockets

Damjan Rudež is hoping to high5 his way into the Magic rotation

Damjan Rudež is hoping to high5 his way into the Magic rotation

Photo: Magic

 

Damjan Rudež is still looking to make his Orlando Magic debut. The 30-year-old, former Minnesota Timberwolves forward looked on from the bench in three losses this week for the Magic.
 
 

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Denis Svirčić
Posted By: Denis Svirčić 8 comments





  1. Maminjo says:

    I’ve been reading the Phoenix message boards regularly, and Watson seems to be obsessed with playing PJ Tucker over Bender, despite Tucker being the worst player in their rotation (the guy has played 20+ minutes a game and couldn’t score any points in three games).

    Bender, in his few minutes, has shown serious poise and an ability to play within the flow and defend well too (apparently, he did a great job on Durant in his few minutes that he had to defend him).

    Watson is gonna get fired, or he will be told to play Bender ahead of Tucker. The fans are already losing their minds over this.

    Also, Šarić tore it up last night with 21 points.

    The only Croatian player that is struggling is Hezonja. The rest are doing very well with their playing time.



  2. Denis Svirčić Denis Svirčić says:

    Boys,

    I will be writing a Tuesday to Monday write up of Croatians in the NBA. Yes, Saric did well on Tuesday but “struggled” with his shot and defensively from Tuesday through Monday.

    @maminjo,

    I agree with you about Watson. Rookie coach doesn’t have a clue and will be the first coach fired this season.

    PJ Tucker played well 2 seasons ago and has spiraled downward ever since. Bender should get 20+ minutes per game on this young roster.

    Also, Hamilton struggled after his monster opening night game.



  3. T says:

    Once again it is shown that serb balkan shit, lies and garbage mentality is prevalent in that pointless made up non-country and people of b-h, the so-called bosnians, lol, muslims and serbs are pointless and gypsy garbage people and share a sick mentality and need to be told or forcefully taken back to their desert homes where they came from and belong, the serb mentality and civilization has no place in europe because their whole existence is about destroying other peoples and civilization and trying to replace it with their serb maggot civilization, send them back to egypt and the middle east while they can still dance like and sing like their brethren forefathers in the levant.



  4. Maminjo says:

    Whoa.

    The Lakers suddenly decided to start Ivica Zubac today (after not even pl;aying a single NBA minute).

    The kid did pretty well, scoring 6 points (on 3-3 shooting) and snagging 3 rebounds and a steal in 18 minutes. Overall, he was a +10 in a big win over the Hawks (while the other center on the team, Tarik Black, was a -10).

    This is very good for Zubac. Probably the biggest steal of the second round in this past draft.



  5. jm says:

    great to see zubac in the mix! figured he was headed for the development league. the guy still seems to put efficient numbers up wherever he lays



  6. Crotone says:

    Which nationalities live in Bosnia, if I’m not mistaken their’s Croats and Serbs?
    Back when the war was going on I remember some English loser asking a question about the Bosnian crisis, he asked, “Croats, Muslims and Serbs, who hates who, and why?” So the English loser mentions 2 nationalities and 1 religion! My question is, what nationality were these Muslims before this pointless country was made up?
    The question should’ve been, Catholics, “Orthodox” Schismatics and Muslims, who hates who, and why?





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