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Petrović: The Never Ending Debate

May 21, 2020

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“He wasn’t afraid.” That’s what Lebron James has said about the late Dražen Petrović.

 

 

With “The Last Dance” now over, we all were able to revisit the glory days of the greatest basketball player to ever play the game: Michael Jordan. But that begs the question, who is the best international player of all time? Many still say it was Croatia’s Dražen Petrović, who tragically died in a German car accident in 1993; only playing four seasons in the NBA. It wasn’t enough time to showcase his true talents even though some still say he is the greatest shooter in NBA history; being posthumously enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.

 

 

Olajuwon. Nowitzki. Nash. All legendary international players in the NBA. But where does Petrović rank?

 

 

When the NBA resumes, CroatianSports will find out.
 

 

 

 

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Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 81 comments





  1. Maminjo says:

    Arguably would have been the best Euro player ever, as he was entering his prime and watch getting better every game.

    He would have had a solid five more seasons to show what he could do.

    It’s going to be tough for Cro to get back into basketball.

    The Saric, Hezonja, Bender prospect trio were a monumental failure. Saric is solid, but Hezonja is too dumb and Bender just doesn’t care.

    We really need a young star in the mold of Petro again to get kids in Croatia playing basketball the same way they do football.

    I’m surprised that Kukoc, Radja and some of our star 90s players never really got their sons into pro basketball the same way many former NBA players have successfully done. Can’t recall if any of their kids became pro ballers. I think just Arapović and Perasović.

    Roko Prkačin and Boris Tišma’s parents got them into it, and they are the stars of our U18 team that won the Euro gold in Serbia. Velimir Perasović’s kid was a key player on that team too.



  2. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Hard to talk about this man without including words like “legendary” and “world class”!

    I’m not knowledgeable in basketball at all but I can recognize a competitor when I see one and he was a beast!

    I loved the fact that Petrovic known as a Croat…makes me proud!



  3. The truth says:

    There was a lot to be proud of regarding petrovic and great respect to be had for his patriotism

    His game would’ve been better off yet today

    Would he have been that best international player every. Definitely not

    In the next ten years, he’d be lucky to crack the top 20



  4. niko says:

    Its so hard to compare players from different generations, there’s different styles of play, different rules, different philosophy’s every generation, he’s always going to reconsidered as a pioneer of European players and amongst his peers a great player…



  5. niko says:

    Its so hard to compare players from different generations, there’s different styles of play, different rules, different philosophy’s every generation, he’s always going to be considered as a pioneer of European players, and amongst his peers a great player…



  6. Poglavnik says:

    Awesone player but I doubt his career would’ve been better than the 3 guys you mention. Especially the 2 big men.



  7. Stipe says:

    Im a really young Croatian according to my buddy Suba !!!!! Where ya at??? How ya been bro???

    In all seriousness, I remember the day, time, and place I found out Dražen Petrović passed.

    I was 8 years old coming out school. I heard it on Z100. Sad day.



  8. Maminjo says:

    The issue is that a lot of these Euros came too late.

    Arvydas Sabonis would have probably been one of the best centers of all time, had he not entered the NBA at age 31.

    However, IMO, Sabonis is easily one of the best ever international big men. I don’t care about length of career…unfortunately, it plays a huge factor in people’s perception.

    Sabonis could polish off a couple bottles of vodka the night before, and be game ready the next day and hit like 5 threes to bury some team (unheard of back then for a man his sheer size). He was also an elite rebounder, defender, and (surprisingly) passer. The dude was like the Prosinecki of NBA centers in both skill and (lack of) discipline.

    Even Bojan Bogdanovic coming over at 26 was too late.

    His shooting and scoring numbers this season are better than Stojakovic’s best-ever season (if you factor in mpg).

    Bojan can also pass, slash, create his own shot and defend much better than Peja (who had the luxury of playing with elite passing big men in Webber and Divac, along with an all defensive backcourt in Christie & Bobby Jax).

    However, because Peja came in at 21 and Bojan came in at 26, you just assume he had the better overall career (and therefore must be the better player, which is not the case at all).

    I think the reason why Petrovic’s name keeps coming up over and over is because people saw that he had that “IT” factor, despite only playing for two seasons as a starter.

    Portland held him back (but his stats were always good there) and he blew up when he was finally allowed to play his game in New Jersey.

    He was better than Steve Nash, despite Nash being a two time MVP.

    Nash had a long career and really blew up when he was gifted the opportunity to play the ‘7 seconds or less’ ball that Phoenix afforded him.

    He was mediocre in his early years, was very solid in his Dallas years (although they let him walk as a FA), then became a superstar when he was in Phoenix. He quickly fell apart after he left Phoenix, when everyone thought the Lakers would become contenders when he joined them.

    Great PG, but could not defend a chair. Excellent in transition basketball, but not so much in the halfcourt. Not surprised that Phoenix never made the finals with him (despite having multiple all-stars on the team), but he benefited greatly from that style of play.

    If Petrovic was given 5-6 years in New Jersey, he would have continued to shine and shown people what he had to offer.
    He was on a crazy high trajectory, and would have cleared 25ppg (triggering a lot of MVP talk).

    Two years was just not enough exposure for many fans to really get to know him.



  9. Stipe says:

    @Suba

    My first time on in 4-5 days.

    I made one comment, not even directed at you. I had a question in my original comment.

    You responded to me in 6 different entries lmao

    I didn’t see until now

    Your a funny dude.



  10. Anonymous says:

    Stipe has come across as an angry guy
    This is not the first time he had displayed
    Aggression against fellow Croats. He makes you
    Wonder. Jersey City is a faggy neighborhood
    These days which is where he claims to be.
    Stipe do you live on Grove ?



  11. Stipe says:

    @Anonymous

    I am enjoying life. I love. I am extremely grateful that my family is healthy.

    Grove street? That’s Jersey City Heights

    No I am from Jersey City

    I know what I feel in my heart.

    You guys are so serious lol

    It made my week.



  12. The truth says:

    let me off the top of my head start listing off the better international players

    Dirk
    Tony Parker
    Manu Ginobli
    Ben Simmons
    Pau Gasol
    Hakeem
    Steve Nash
    Karl Anthony Towns
    Kyrie Irving
    Luka Doncic

    initial list…i’m sure more will come to mind



  13. Stipe says:

    @the truth

    Yea they are maybe better than Dražen Petrović.

    But Dražen Petrović was 28 when he died. He was just heating up.

    Hakeem was better than nasa Dražen. But Hakeem was top 4 or 5 in the league.

    You don’t know what your talking about.



  14. Maminjo says:

    @truth

    I can tell that you don’t watch ball.

    KAT and Simmons are definitely not better. They are flawed players who are difficult to build around. You’re being clouded by their #1 pick status and basic stats.

    Irving is a loser and has achieved nothing in his career. He makes teams worse. He’s a great one on one player though, but he is more troubled than he’s worth. He’s also not an international player just because he was born in Australia. The guy is American (I’m hoping you knew that).

    Parker, Ginobili, Gasol and (fake MVP) Nash had better careers… But none of them have that IT factor in the clutch like Petrović had. You can debate these guys all you want, but it’s only because they all had very long careers and a lot of positive moments to cherry pick from.

    Dražen would have blown by some of these guys if he even had a couple more years.

    Petrović is in the same ballpark as Dončić, Dirk and maybe Hakeem.

    Again, you can’t look at just “points per game” and make assumptions about how good a player is.

    We all saw what a true star player has, when we watched Kawhi dominate last year’s playoffs (and still not even be considered an MVP candidate).

    Dražen is always hyped because he was the first European to have this ability. To take over a game and drop 20 points in a quarter to will his team to win.

    Guys like KAT and Simmons will likely never be able to do things like this.



  15. Suba says:

    In my view the top 3 euro players ever are Petro Kukoc and
    Doncic with Radja not too far behind with pau gospel and dirk

    The rest are ok but none have been close to match those above

    Divac gets an honerable mention but I won’t because he lied through his teeth during the once were brothers doco like a real Chetnik

    What about detleff schremp no love there very underrated he was



  16. Poglavnik says:

    Hakeem was the only one for me that definitely stands out. He dominated all the centers of the 90’s. Shaq, Zo, Ewing, Robinson, Dikembe. All HOFers too.



  17. Poglavnik says:

    Nash is no joke Maminjo. One of the best pure shooters and passers of alltime. It takes a special point guard to run that offense. Other teams would’ve done it if they could. Losing to Kobe and Shaq or the Spurs in the playoffs every year doesnt mean you suck. He was a warrior in those playoffs.



  18. Z says:

    I feel Petro had a similar intensity to John Stockton, though Stockton was quieter.

    Was watching some old Stockton videos and he had 24/7 intensity. Defence or offence.



  19. Slavonac from Canada says:

    changing the topic here:

    Member Of France’s 2018 World Cup Squad Sells Winners Medal For Insane Cash. A member of France’s 2018 World Cup winning squad has sold their medal in an online auction for a whopping $71,875. The medal was listed for an auction on JuliensLive.com who sell a variety of expensive celebrity memorabilia

    this wouldn’t surprise me if true. I doubt half the French players even identify as French!



  20. Maminjo says:

    @Pog

    Yes, it takes a special point guard to run that offense. But the reason why other teams didn’t do it, is because they were not sold on the concept of it leading to NBA titles.

    D’Antoni is running something similar on the Rockets right now, and much like the Suns of the past…The Rockets get praise for being revolutionary, but likely will not even make an NBA Finals.

    Don’t get me wrong about Nash. He’s is a great PG.
    But I don’t think he was MVP level, nor do I think he was any better than Petrovic. He was just lucky to play in his era and that system, whereas guys like Petrovic were not.

    The fact that Shaq only won one MVP award, and Steve wins two is ridiculous.

    Shaq won those LA titles, with Kobe as his sidekick. Shaq leaves LA and goes to Miami…then Miami immediately wins their first title.
    Kobe (in his prime) is in LA without Shaq, and he can’t even lead his team to the playoffs (finishing 10th place in the Conference) until they loaded up on other franchise caliber players like Gasol….and they decide to give Steve Nash bac-to-back MVP awards? Come on.

    Shaq, to me, is an MVP player who has a major impact on winning.

    At the time when Nash was playing for the Suns, the NBA was going global, they wanted more international players to get recognition, they implemented zone defence (to help non-defenders like Nash remain on the court) and he was exactly what they wanted in a star player.

    Let’s face it…if Nash played in 1993 like Drazen Petrovic did, he would be a career benchwarmer. His inability to stay in front of his man one-on-one, would result in a net loss with him on the court and he would probably be out of the NBA within his rookie contract.

    The rule change (along with D’Antoni’s wild offensive system) is what made him what he was.

    James Harden is averaging more than 35 ppg these past two seasons. That’s better than what Jordan did in his peak years over a two season span.

    Is James Harden better than Jordan?

    No, everyone knows that if he leaves D’Antoni’s system, his stats will drop significantly…and everyone also knows that Houston is getting bounced in the second round by someone like Kawhi or LeBron anyway.

    Not saying that Harden isn’t awesome. He is, but he’s no Jordan.

    Same goes for Nash. Great PG, but Petrovic IMO is a better and more complete player.



  21. Poglavnik says:

    Petrovic warmed the bench like Nash did too on their first teams and they’re both considered 2 of the alltime great shooters.
    Nash was a Warrior in the players. If losers like Stoudemire and the Matrix had half his grit they couldve done something. And let’s not fail to mention his passing and vision which I would say was better than Petro’s. Anywho love Nash, and not just cuz he’s Canadian. Hes tougher than most of the fuckin league.

    https://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/best-shooters-nba-history/



  22. Poglavnik says:

    Shaq couldnt even shoot a free throw. Specimens like him dont impress me as much as highly skilled players like Nash. The MVP voters got it right!



  23. The truth says:

    nash was definitely better than petrovic.. nash’s team’s never one a title but it wasn’t because of a lack of his effectiveness. if you simulate that team playing during that run 10 times, you definitely come out with 1 championship on average and possibly two

    they ran into consistent bad luck through injuries, and the “brawl” suspension from the horry nash hip check

    I’m not sure there is a ton of evidence that petrovic could greatly move the needle on winning… perhaps his best outcome would’ve been devin booker, but that probably would’ve been a reach

    in the 91-92 season, the nets were 40-42, and I nthe 92-93 season they were 43-39… they weren’t world beaters by any means with petrovic leading them

    once again, lots of respect for the guy…great player…. but there is virtually no evidence that he was a better player than nash in any way

    outside of incredible shooting…which does have high value…his other contributions were almost non existent. a 3 rebound, 3 assist, undr 1 steal guy at his max

    even on the Yugo/Olympic teams it was under 2 rebounds a game, and 3 assists…. so it wasn’t just a situational nba thing

    although his steal rate in the 92 Olympics was acutally kind of crazy.. 3 per game

    at the same time , 0 assists in the semi finals though.

    1 block across 15 olymipc game between 88 and 92 shows a lack of athleticism also that would’ve kept a ceiling on him



  24. Stipe says:

    @ the truth

    What are you talking about? I love Steve Nash. But Nash didn’t have to go against Jordan and Bulls dominating the Eastern Conf each year.

    Your really going to talk about stats against the Dream Team? Which is hands down the best TEAM ever played on earth in any sport.

    You want to talk about Nash’s bad luck with injuries?? Naša Dražen was killed in a car accident.

    Stop talking.

    Go play NBA 2K or something.



  25. Lika Joey says:

    I love Drazen to the moon and back! But come on comparing Nash to Drazen is laughable!!! Nash was on a different level. Nash was better in any era.



  26. Soul Champ says:

    Dražen Petrović was the first Euro to make an impact.

    Voted 3rd best two guard in the league his last year in the Michael Jordan era.

    He could have played 10 more years with his drive.

    Training would have improved.

    He got into squatting to ward off hand checking and was losing a bit of his agility.

    He would have fine tuned his leg training.

    His shooting would have aged well.

    His 40 pts against Cleveland in the playoffs shows the type of baler he was in money games.

    No hand checking league today and open floor offense would have meant buckets for him.

    He would play lead guard today.

    Back in the day he over trained his legs and sacrificed his quickness.

    He would have Curry type three point make numbers today.

    He could shoot from anywhere on anyone.

    Jordan is the GOAT.

    I measure every player on how they did against him.

    In those days Jordan would erase his fellow 2 guards

    Dražen thrived.

    Dončić is closest thing to Drazen when it comes to confidence from a Euro guard.

    Real Madrid has rich basketball tradition as well.

    All these Euro’s are spoiled because of Petrović and Kukoč.

    Young Sabonis was the most dominant force I have ever seen outside the US. He was so agile and powerful and could ball.



  27. The truth says:

    Look i love drazen. Great player, could’ve still improved a little more, and probably would’ve been better in today s game

    But nash was generational.. tremendous driver of winning and offensive efficiency and one of the greatest shooters of all time with consistent 50/40/90 splits

    Nash needed an offense built around him, but turns out peak basketball is in thispickn roll/isolation/space and pace style



  28. Soul Champ says:

    “Nash needed an offense built around him, but turns out peak basketball is in thispickn roll/isolation/space and pace style”

    This is my point.

    Dražen was trending to having an offense built around him.

    Also Nash played 4 years of college ball when it still mattered in the US.

    D’Antoni is an offensive genius and a visionary of the game that Nash benefited from tremendously.

    Dražen was built for a Phoenix or Dallas type system.

    Credit to his competitive drive that he fought through the adversity to establish his stardom in the NBA.

    He died as he was ascending into his NBA peak.

    That is the heartbreaking reality of his legacy.

    That gold medal game in “92 demonstrates his competitive greatness.

    I am convinced he would have fine tuned his leg routine as his one flaw was that he over trained on traditional squats.

    He was way more agile and quick but similar to Kukoč, the weight room training left him a bit heavy footed.

    No one in the NBA today trains like the early 90’s anymore.

    Phoenix Suns training staff was leading the way in core alignment and efficiency.

    Dražen would have ate that type of stuff up.

    No doubt he plays through his late 30’s.

    And probably through his 40’s in Europe.

    Then builds 4 basketball academies all over Croatia.

    Remember it was our basketball team that put us on the map in ‘92.

    You could have thousands of kids training to be the next Dražen.

    Could you imagine if Dončić was Croatian?



  29. Niko says:

    Anybody watch Marin pongracic today? Heard he played well and kept haaland under control..



  30. BZ says:

    Yeah, on the other Croatian forum they are saying Pongracic was by far best Croatian player on Wolfsburg today.

    That’s depressing.

    Brekalo subbed in at the perfect time, down 2-0, and Bodi in cruise control.

    Brekalo just can’t get any momentum vs good teams, but he will look good for us because we give him so much space.

    Nobody is going to focus on Brekalo if studs like Perisic and Rebic are on the pitch.



  31. Maminjo says:

    We need to call up Pongračić.

    He’s playing first team football in the Bundesliga, and he’s technically still eligible for a Germany callup.



  32. Joj says:

    Olajuwon. Nowitzki. Nash all had better careers, and we cannot compare those… But watching Petro, he was just starting to come into his own… Watching at that time with the way he was adjusting to the game, people were expecting him to be a top 1-2 player in the league. We never got to see the best of him at the NBA level, so you cannot argue that point at all… He really had one year of adjusting to the game..

    But if you see Reggie Millers comments in the interview, game 7, game on the line, 1 person to take a three to win the game… Who do you choose.. And he choose Petro… This from mabye the best pure shooter i have ever seen. Anyone who watched Petro enough understands that he had something special in him like Jordan… Those other three were all time players, but never had the chance to overtake or be mentioned in the same breath.

    Petro story is one of what could have been.
    And I will never forget him in the old NBA JAM game… And HES ON FIRE!!



  33. Niko says:

    @maminjo
    I don’t think there will be any meaning international games for a while, but if he keeps this up, How could they even keep him off… also I doubt he’s on the German radar, he’s only got a handful of German league starts, and Germany has a much bigger pot of equivalent talent to choose from!



  34. Maminjo says:

    @Niko

    Do they?

    Last I checked, Germany sucked and stuck it out far too long with their overrated veteran players.

    Lowe is a reactive coach who has finally been replacing the old guard.

    Some of the callups are seemingly no name players, who play for mid tier or bottom tier Bundesliga teams.

    Not hard to believe that Pongračić could be a candidate if he has a great season playing first team football for a big money Bundesliga club like Wolfsburg.



  35. Anonymous says:

    Leave blacks alone for like a hundred years, you’ll find out how fucked up this world is.



  36. Maminjo says:

    Well, there have been Croats playing on Germany before.

    Off the top of my head, Fredi Bobic and Thomas Brdaric come to mind. Ivan Klasnic was also called up to play for Germany, but he turned it down.



  37. Maminjo says:

    Can’t find any detailed match report for the game.

    Tin Jedvaj got a 7.6 on Whoscored.com (the team average was 7.1).

    The entire back line got a great score. Probably because they kept a clean sheet.

    Jedvaj is at that age where a lot of Croats begin to put it together.

    I can see this being the start of him taking a step forward in his career.



  38. Eric says:

    I watched most of the game, and Jedvaj was solid. Looks like he’s getting stronger. Probably a good move if he continues to start.



  39. Maminjo says:

    @Pog

    Yea, she is a natural beauty.

    Kovacic’s wife is more of the type that only really looks that good with makeup, but Jedvaj’s girl is great looking with or without.

    Livakovic has a natural beauty of a girl too.



  40. Dalmatia says:

    I would like to see Pongracic get caped for the senior side. I think that him and Katic could be very solid center back paring.



  41. Maminjo says:

    Yea, better safe than sorry with these guys.

    Lovren and Vida aren’t young…and Caleta-Car is still too young and shaky to be a sure fire replacement. His career can go either way. Benkovic still has to prove he can stay healthy.

    Good to see Jedvaj playing regularly. Pongracic too, but we need to cap him. The more young CBs we call up, the better.

    We actually have a quite good base of CBs in the 20-24 age range. We just need to hope that a couple of them pan out.
    It would be pretty embarassing if the one we DIDN’T call up and cap (Pongracic) turned out to be one of the better players.

    Gotta cap them all and see what they can do in practice and in the last few minutes of a game.
    We need to plan for the chance that Vida, Lovren (or both) begin to regress.



  42. Slavonac from Canada says:

    I used to be very hopeful and excited for Jedvaj’s future but to be honest, he’s just a strange type of player to gauge. At first he was supposed to be a superb centre back that many Croatians touted as our future but he really hasn’t solidified he is a capable started as a centre back. He’s nothing special at right back either….I see very little value to play him there…so in my books, he’s a decent sub that we can count on.



  43. Maminjo says:

    He’s fast, can dribble the ball pretty well, and seems to be ambidextrous.

    He has the physical skills, but he makes mistakes. It’s that mental element that prevented him from being a star.

    However, experience can help with this. He might be a late bloomer because of it.

    At the very least, he’s a good backup.



  44. BZ says:

    Jedvaj is a solid utility player at worst.

    He can play RB, CB, & LB at a moments notice.

    Jedvaj is Croatia’s leading goal scorer per minute at Left Back of ALL-TIME. He scored twice at Left Back against a quality opponent (Spain.) It’s not like he only performs against bottom dwellers like some of our young players.



  45. Suba says:

    Slavonac is right there’s something about Jedvaj maybe it’s just he’s just not pleasing to the eye and that’s all it is and he will become a true champion

    I think he’s just biding his time personally



  46. Johnny jockich says:

    Jedvaj is lovren lite…not as good in the air…pops in the odd goal but very error prone.WATCH the England goals the last time we played them and keep your eye on jedvaj…he had these same mistakes in Germany that’s why he’s never been a starter for an entire season.
    Him and lovren both have great hair and bangable wags though so props there!



  47. gbvh says:

    FYI TSN2 in Canada tonight has Croatia-Argentina from 2018 World Cup . . . at 9 p.m.. EST.

    Showing three games tonight, the first Spain-Portugal at 7 p.m.



  48. Eric says:

    I can’t wait to re-watch that game. After that game, we all knew, this generation can do something special. Has anyone watched “Junaci Našega Doba”? I thought it was well done, giving some informative background stories.



  49. Razbijač says:

    Jedvaj is at best a utility man. He’s good enough to make a 23 man squad, but certainly not the rock to build the defense upon…

    With that being said, it’s time to break out the ole “Cap ‘N Trap” on Pongracic. He’s got a lotta potential.

    And has been clocked the fastest player in the Bundesliga for a recent Match Day, hitting 35,3 km/h. So this guy can really crank up the afterburners!

    Too bad Ligue 1 doesn’t plan to resume it season, opting to cancel it. It would have given Caleta-Car, Basic, and Brdaric some valuable playing time as they’re still nascent in their careers and developing.



  50. Maminjo says:

    That first half against Argentina is great.

    Two bumbling goalkeepers. Who is gonna mess up first.

    Lots of mistakes by both keepers, lol. Subašić was giving me a heart attack.

    Rebić was on his way to getting a straight red, then he calmed down after the half. Then scored.



  51. Elvis says:

    Watched the Cro vs Eng on the
    Tactical cam on YouTube today.
    The entire match really gives you
    The best perspective.



  52. Suba says:

    I think Jedvaj would get to a slightly better version of vida

    Remember when vida was young it was pretty much the same concerns



  53. Soul Champ says:

    Jedvaj is 24 and as a CB will improve naturally with age.

    Made the classic Roma move into player purgatory.

    Had some serious injury that laid him out for a while.

    Full respect as he has performed for us consistently.

    I am not sold on any of our CB’s as world class.

    I am just happy he plays regularly for Augsburg and we have some depth at CB.

    Be nice to have a world class keeper and at least one world class CB.

    This would free up our midfielders even more.

    We definitely need to cap Pongračic asap if he has potential world class talent.

    All Hrvati who are born in Germany and have world class talent need to be capped for us.



  54. Dannyj says:

    What’s wrong with their upbringing that they would choose Germany
    Not that I’m saying he is

    I get it playing for a Germany is great for a career…buy You can’t tell me these days Croatia isn’t sexy enough to want to choose??



  55. Maminjo says:

    To be fair, I don’t think any Croatian-German has chosen Germany “over” Croatia.

    I don’t think Brdaric and Bobic were ever offered the chance to play for Croatia. Plus, Bobic is half Slovenian and born there, so it would be a stretch.

    Klasnic can barely speak Croatian, and yet his still TURNED DOWN Germany. Not sure if the Kovac bros were offered to play for Germany, but they for sure wouldn’t have done so.

    Also, re: Stanisic…

    Stanisic probably just ‘fake committed’ to Germany, because he and his family know that his fragile young career could be completely turned upside down by Bayern if he chooses to verbally commit to another country (even though words mean nothing anyway).

    Stanisic is not some World Class prospect. He got a start in some preseason games because Kovac was coach. Something like that gave him great exposure, which got people talking about him (mostly wondering who he was)…and you don’t wanna mess with that by prematurely declaring that you will never play for Germany (even if they show even a bit of interest).

    Until he actually accepts a callup from Germany, only then we can judge. He’s never actually done that. I’m sure if we called him up tomorrow, he would suit up for us.
    But odds are that he won’t be good enough to play for either country.



  56. gbvh says:

    Pongračić with his first goal just now for Wolfsburg, late in first half — header via free kick.



  57. Razbijač says:

    Tall, fast, strong, and he’s a set piece threat as well. We need to cap him asap.



  58. Suba says:

    CAP HIS ARSE RIGHT NOW

    Although I saw his positional play the other day against Dortmund and it clearly wasn’t the best

    He’s young and it was against Dortmund but if he wants to be a starter for us he needs to improve

    Maybe boneheads Lovren or vida can help him



  59. Maminjo says:

    I did not realize that this kid is so fast.

    Usually fast CBs are rated very high and teams pay a premium for this. He’s got decent height too.

    Surprised he wasn’t featured that much on our U21 team.

    Maybe he made some huge strides this past year. Sometimes things like this happen. Gotta call this mofo up.



  60. Razbijač says:

    No offense to Mile Skoric, but no way he gets called over Pongracic in the future.

    Skoric is 28 and has limited upside. Hopefully the League of Nations is green lighted in September, because that’s the perfect opportunity to cap him.



  61. Maminjo says:

    Dalic’s biggest strength and weakness is that he insists on creating a good atmosphere in the locker room and tries to satisfy everyone outside the locker room as well. Unfortunately, this can result in some poor callup choices.

    Mile Skoric was capped because he was the captain of NK Osijek and the game was in Osijek. They had a critical game against Wales there, and he capped him simply to satisfy the Osijek crowd. Dalic was actually very lucky because Skoric was terrible and his only contribution was causing a foul in a dangerous spot, which Bale missed on the free kick. It could have tied the game in injury time.

    He also capped Marko Rog’s cousin (Dario Melnjak) for the same reason when they played that friendly in Varazdin.

    I can see him calling up Pongracic, but I can also see him taking his sweet time in doing so…simply because we already have defenders on the squad who have been there before him. He would probably put too much stock into what our current defenders would think if he cut one of them in favor of a new one.

    The true test for Dalic will be whether or not he can transition certain older starting players, for the newer, younger ones.
    He hasn’t been here long enough to have to do this.

    Vlasic replaced Rakitic, but that was only because Rakitic was flip flopping and didn’t show up to the qualifiers. Otherwise, I don’t think Vlasic would have gotten off the bench. Same goes for Strinic being replaced by Barisic (but that was due to a career ending injury for Strinic).
    Petkovic came in to replace Mandzo (who retired). Same as Livakovic for Subasic.

    No difficult decisions have been made yet, to replace the old guard while they are still on the team. It will be interesting to see if Rakitic is re-inserted into the starting eleven for the Euros (despite Vlasic being there for the qualifiers).

    Replacing Vida and Lovren will only happen if either of them retires. I can see these two starting to wind down over the next couple of years. I can also see one of our younger defenders (out of Pongracic, Jedvaj, Caleta-Car, or Benkovic) start to step up over the next two years to make things interesting.

    Not sure if Dalic has it in him to make a switch.
    If he didn’t want to bench an obviously injured Subasic during the World Cup, it’s unlikely he moves away from the Vida/Lovren pairing until he absolutely has to.





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