To some Americans, “Nemanja Nedovic” might sound like a terrorist’s name. But he is actually the lone 2013 Golden State Warriors draft choice.
The Warriors began the night without a pick but acquired the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 26th selection and Malcom Lee in exchange for a 2014 second rounder and $1.6 million. Golden State subsequently flipped the 26th claim to Oklahoma City for the 29th pick and $1 million, and then dealt that choice and Lee (who was a Warrior for less than an hour) for the last bid (30th) in the first round. Phew.
Was all that effort worth it? According to overseas observers, very much. Nedovic, whose moniker is the “European Derrick Rose,” possesses springs, handles and an explosive first step that allows him to regularly attack the paint and find open teammates. At 6’3” and 195 pounds, the 22 year old is viewed as an NBA combo guard until he develops assertion at the point, but his skill set compliments Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson well. Nedovic is also an improving jump shooter and a hustler on defense.
Of course, there’s a reason Nedovic tumbled so far in the draft, which is because his NBA presence in 2013-14 is no guarantee. He will have to negotiate a buyout with Lietuvos Rytas (a club in the Lithuanian Basketball League, or LBL) at a price that the team can walk away satisfied. Ricky Rubio and Tiago Splitter’s troubles show it can be a strung-out process.
Fans have also voiced their displeasure at the Warriors for drafting a guard when adding frontcourt depth remains a top priority. Nedovic may be insurance for Jarrett Jack’s impending free agency, but power forward Carl Landry is likely to sign a lucrative deal elsewhere, and 2012 first rounder Festus Ezeli is recovering from offseason knee surgery. Golden State will have to scour the free agent market with limited flexibility to do so.
Regardless, current Warriors were happy with their new running mate, like Harrison Barnes:
Can’t pronounce his name but that pick we just got is nice lol
— Harrison Barnes (@HBarnes) June 28, 2013
Andrew Bogut preemptively expressed concern for Nedovic’s buyout situation:
— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) June 29, 2013
Jokes aside, considering Golden State was on the outside looking in heading into the draft and landed a hyper-athletic and coachable prospect for a future late flyer and chump change, it’s hard to complain about general manager Bob Myers’ actions.
And perhaps someday Nedovic will become a U.S. household name.
Photo Credit: MN Press