After the NIJT, I had the possibility to attend the Serbian derby between Crvena Zvezda and Partizan Belgrade in the legendary Hala Pionir. Zvezda is currently (once again) in big trouble and last in the standings of the Adriatic League. So everybody expected a blow out victory for Partizan but the game was closer than expected which was also the result of a very good performance of Nemanja Nedovic. Let’s check the details.
After getting his first serious minutes on the professional level with his team Crvena Zvezda, Nemanja Nedovic really exploded this season with the Serbian team. Nedovic is a quite athletic and strong Point Guard, being listed at 1m92. Draftexpress ranks him as 7th best prospect in Europe of the 1991 generation and he has had some solid performances with the different Serbian Youth National Teams over the last years. He will play his last U20 European Championship this summer in Bilbao and he should be one of the most interesting players to follow because of his large experience on the Senior level due to his minutes he gets in the Adriatic League.
In the game versus Partizan yesterday, Nedovic had a superb first half where he attacked the basket relentlessly and the defenders were unable to stop him from doing so. He has a good first step with both hands and can beat his defender either out of the feet-set situation or when starting the dribble and going for the crossover. He prefers to finish of his stronger right hand even when attacking from the left side. Due to his athletic abilities, he can finish these play as well with some impressive dunks or the difficult hang-time up-and-under move as you can see below on the Video Playlist.
When Nedovic is doing an excellent job attacking the rim, there are some questions about his ability to shot. Against Partizan, he came up with a poor 0/5 from behind the arc but several of these shoots were difficult takes or at the 24 second buzzer. It has to be said as well that Nedovic looks like he is not always preparing his shot really well and often takes it like this without the necessary concentration to do it correctly. He should however be able to improve this as he is not a player who can not shoot. Nedovic is able to create his own shot and showed this yesterday when he netted a difficult step back long 2 pointer.
In the second half of the game, the Partizan defense let him open on the perimeter in order to avoid his drives. This underlines that his penetrations are a lot more effective than when he has to play from outside. Over the season in the Adriatic League, he scored 16 three pointers in 20 games and needed 52 attempts which corresponds to a 30.8%. His free-throw shooting is also improvable as he only makes 70% of his attempts. Because of his aggressive play, he comes to the lines very often (92 FTs in 20 games) and therefore a better usage of these opportunities could increase his scoring potential.
Another point on which Nedovic needs to work is that he has to create more for his team mates. As a Point Guard, he is currently mainly going for his own scoring. He showed during the U20 European Championship in 2010 that he is able to do so as he finished 5th best passer of the tournament. However, in yesterday’s game, he had no assist and you could not recognize a particular creativity in his passing ideas. In the Adriatic League, he averages 2.5 assists per game this season which underlines that there is more upside potential in this domain.
The other main prospect in the game was of course the Czech forward from Partizan Jan Vesely. The athletic 1990 born showed some interesting things yesterday in a sense that all of his points came from untypical plays for him. His only two point basket was a fade away jump shot from 45 degrees out of a back-to-the-basket situation while he knocked down 2/3 three-pointers that looked perfectly fluid and being even able to score 7/8 free-throws. He started the season for example with a 1/8 from the charity stripe. Vesely seems to be in the process of polishing his shot technically which might be one of the reasons of theses ups and downs in his percentages.
While he is normally a very high-percentage player from two-point range (68.8% in the Adriatic League, 55.4% in the Euroleague), he missed all his attempts from close yesterday. Partizan tried to use Vesely’s size by posting him up several times against the smaller Red Star forwards. The Czech could though not really use these situations and even fall for the offensive foul by trying to hard to use his physical advantages by pushing the defender with his shoulder when playing with his back to the basket. He must recognize these situations where the defender is only waiting to take the charge on him by finding other solutions.
With his aggressive style of play, Vesely is still coming often into foul trouble. Yesterday again, he had two quick fouls and was therefore limited to only 18 minutes. However, he reduced his Fouls per 40 minutes dramatically this season by going from 6.8 fouls to 4.5 fouls in the Euroleague. Despite this reduction, Vesely could increase his steals per 40 minutes which underlines that his aggressiveness has not been lost in the process. With his combination of size, skill set and athletic abilities, Vesely will be a highly looked at name in the 2011 NBA Draft.