Warrior fans, our team made the playoffs last season. Warrior fans, we signed former All-Star and Olympian Andre Iguoadala to a four year deal. Warrior fans, Stephen Curry showed in the playoffs that he is a bona fide star in this league. These are things all Warrior fans know, but something that may still be unknown is the ability of Nemanja Nedovic. I wondered the same thing when the Warriors pulled the trigger on him with the 30th pick in the draft last July.
My first reaction to the selection went something along the lines of, “Huh?” followed by some head scratching. The Golden State Warriors dealt another explosive combo guard in Archie Goodwin and swingman Marcus Lee (both acquired earlier in the draft) to the Phoenix Suns to get their hands on the prospect.
Now, I’ll explain why it was the right move. What is his work ethic like? What about his athleticism and potential? These are just a few of many things you want to consider before you add a player to your roster via the draft, free agency or trade.
Let’s start with the basics, he runs about 6’3 and 192 lbs. He’s a Serbian combo guard who tested to have a 41 inch vertical jump. To get a better indicator of what that means, Kobe Bryant is his prime tested to have a 38 inch vertical while Derrick Rose’s vertical tested at 40.
Now you may be thinking are “Are you telling me that a 22 year old Serbian kid has more hops than the Black Mamba and DRose?” Well, yes he does, but I am in no way comparing the rookie to the former MVPs skill wise. All I know is, you can’t teach bounce like that. Athleticism, check.
Next, he’s been training seriously since the age of 12. In 2005 at the age of 14, he started playing competitively with the Red Star Belgrade junior team which competes in the ABA League, Euroleague and Serbian League. By 2008 he showed great promise and worked his way up to the Red Star first team.
From 2009-2011 he competed with the U20 (Under 20) Serbian national team at the FIBA Europe under 20 Championship and although they never took home the gold, Nedovic continued to improve. In 2012 (his first year of eligibility) he joined the Men’s Serbian National team to play in the FIBA Eurobasket 2013 qualification. Whew, that’s a mouthful.
So with his strives of improvement over the years stemming from a young age it’s safe to say, work ethic, check.
[youtube id=”LULZkKaNz08″ width=”600″ height=”350″]
Now when you look at his strengths it gets interesting. There are various videos and highlights of his game on Youtube that show him getting buckets with some vicious dunks. Now, whether or not he wants to be a point guard in this league has yet to be answered but as long as he’s a Warrior it’ll be tough to get minutes at the point behind Curry. That being said, while he learns the NBA game I think it’s more likely for him to play off the ball.
At this point in his career the unproven Nedovic is just so raw and thought that his sheer athleticism and upside have gotten him into the league is not a stretch at all. But what he has proven is that he will slash, cut and finish above the rim… Or get fouled trying. In Europe he had an almost Westbrook-ish mentality (Take that as you may) and would relentlessly get into the paint but that was against a weaker level of competition.
Some players have said the NBA stands for “No Boys Allowed” and it’s safe to say he’ll have to prove himself to be a man before he gets respect from the rest of the league. Warriors General Manager Bob Myers is one believer in Nedovic, “It was almost like watching a stock you like all of a sudden get to a price you didn’t think it would get to and you grab it,” Myers told Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News.
NBA scouting is really hit or miss and let’s be honest, some NBA GM’s can really…miss big. But Myers has done exceptionally well in is short tenure as Golden State’s GM. He brought Harrison Barnes (though it may have been a no-brainer) Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green to the Bay Area in last year’s draft while snagging Kent Bazemore in last year’s summer league.
He’s got an eye for talent and if Myers compares Nedovic to a stock he really likes, there’s something there. Ultimately, I’m going to go ahead and say potential, check.
Nobody knows the future but when you have work ethic and athleticism along with potential, good things can happen.
Before Nedovic plays his first minute in the NBA he has a small, memorable place in NBA history. Nedovic being the final pick of the 1st round means that he was the last pick NBA Commissioner David Stern would ever announce. Stern will resign on February 1st 2014 which will make his tenure as Commissioner 30 years to the day. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver will take his place.
Follow Nemanja Nedovic on Twitter @nedovic1624
Follow me at @zackaaa