With 3 games left in the Group C action of 2011 EuroBasket reality has changed overnight for 1-1 Croatian NT. It’s leading 1-on-1 defensive patch and a glue guy Marko Tomas suffered hamstring injury and is now on his way back home to Croatia. Team now faces many burning questions before it’s vital Group C encounter with very good Montenegrian team led by PG Omar Cook.
Tomas has been vital part of Croatian NT rotation on 3 spot, which is the most thin part of the team’s depth chart. Except Tomas, this position is covered by high-scoring but relatively inexperienced G/F Bojan Bogdanovic and F Damir Markota who has piled up most of the minutes on PF spot because of his ability (and other’s inability) to launch outside shot whenever needed.
Bogdanovic has been on a hot streak lately hitting 9-12 threes (75%) in the first two games. In contrast to BB the rest of the team hit only 10-32 threes (31%).
That makes 6’8” Rudez logical solution for Croatia in this given situation. Rudez had a very good season for Cedevita Zagreb both in Adriatic League and Euro Cup. He is a sharpshooting specialist who can bury any opponent when he is on a hot streak and is the best supplement to the Croatian NT starting PG Dontaye Draper considering the fact they had played together whole season long.
The fact that makes Vrankovic not accounting for Rudez is that he hasn’t played much in the preparation cycle, that his shot selection is sometimes questionable and he is potential defensive liability. But on the bright size Rudez has size & speed to battle with any given player out there and should take off some of the burden from Bojan Bogdanovic’s shoulders.
Even before Vrankovic faces the questions about not bringing such versatile forwards like Hrvoje Peric & Tomislav Zubcic, he should ask his staff which is the ONLY logical solution to sort out this arising problem in his rotation. The worst possible solution for Vrankovic would be to consider giving up even more size and to go with a small line-up featuring backcourt duet of Draper and Popovic.
R.I.P. Nikola Jović (1996-2022) Tribute