2021 Draft Watch: Analyzing Roko Prkacin

September 8th, 2020

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Cibona’s 6-9 Croatian-born forward, Roko Prkacin play in a couple of Adriatic League games, as he is a first round prospect for the 2021 draft.  I first watched him play against Zadar on October 25th, 2019, as I was able to see that one with thanks to YouTube via ABA liga j.t.d.  I then watched him play against Partizan in a December 15th, 2019, as that was also from YouTube via ABA liga j.t.d.  Prkacin is an athletic, skilled combo forward that likes to handle the basketball, and his versatility and upside may make him a interesting prospect for next year’s draft.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared in both of those games, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Cibona’s 6-9 forward, Roko Prkacin is an athletic, offensively gifted forward that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he is a ball-handling playmaker that could end up being a first round pick in the 2021 draft.
(Photo:
Dalibor Urukalovic/Pixsell, via 24 Sata)

Roko Prkacin possesses a solid ability to score on aggressive drives to the basket.  He has a solid first step off the dribble, and he will often take the ball to the rim to get numerous free throws on offense.  He also managed to utilize a jab step prior to driving to his left, and he spun right to score off the glass once.  He excelled at getting to the foul line, but there was one play where he missed on a contested turnaround jumper.

He also generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Prkacin was able to run the floor to score on an athletic, two-handed dunk, and he also caught an outlet pass to score another time.  Plus, he would cut to the hoop to get the ball around the mid-range area, and he showed a penchant for scoring on floaters from the mid-range.  However, there was another play where he drove up the court in transition, but he ended up missing a layup off the glass.

However, he struggled to consistently knock down threes from beyond the arc.  While he was able to make a quick, open spot-up three off the catch early on against Zadar, Prkacin struggled to make three-point shots in both games, as he would tended to rush his shots, and he also was unable to make a three after running off of a ball screen to get the ball.

He also struggled to score in the post.  Prkacin appeared to score around the basket after getting the ball at the rim, but that didn’t count as the whistle blew beforehand.  He also missed on a contested fadeaway jumper, and he also had his shot blocked on an off-balanced, rushed layup.  When he would get the ball on the block, he would have trouble establishing deep position, and he would sometimes tend to rush his shots that would lead to misses.

Plus, Prkacin also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that handles the ball well, especially for a player his size.  He also throws crisp, long outlet passes that can set up scores for his teammates on the break, and he also can throw solid passes out of double teams.  He possesses solid court vision, and he can make quick reads to get his teammates the basketball.  Plus, he will also set screens to help his teammates get open jump shots on offense.  Sometimes though, he will be called for setting moving screens.  Other times, he can be careless with the ball on offense.  He can be prone to committing ball-handling turnovers, as he can struggle to handle the ball when facing considerable ball pressure in traffic.

He also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  Prkacin would leap up aggressively to get boards on both sides of the ball, and there was one occasion where he brought the ball up after getting a defensive board.  He also would sometimes box out his man to help his team get rebounds.  However, sometimes balls would go off his hands that would end up in his opponent’s hands, and other times, he may not get boards that were in his area.  On one play, he committed a foul on a put back, which led his team to allow a score and a free throw that time.

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Prkacin is an active, mobile help defender that excelled at getting steals, as he would catch errant passes that would be thrown right to him, and he also used his length to poke a ball away from the post to force another turnover.  He does a good job of playing passing lanes, as he would catch and deflect passes to make it difficult for opponents to get their passes through.  He also rotated to block a shot off of a drive out of bounds due to possessing solid length, timing, and leaping ability.  He also would use his length to contest shots out on the perimeter as well as in the post to force misses.

However, he struggled more to defend opponents in one-on-one situations.  He had trouble defending quicker players off the dribble, as he would get beat off the dribble, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores.  He also would sometimes go the wrong way when defending cutters, and he also would sometimes not make his rotations in time.  He also would sometimes tend to commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness.  Also, he would sometimes not stay up on shooters, as he had a tendency to sag too far into the paint, which would cause his team to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.

In general, Roko Prkacin is an athletic, skilled combo forward that can ably handle the basketball, and he can also score the basketball in a variety of ways.   He will need to improve his jump shot, on-ball defense, and add more strength, but he is an intriguing prospect due to his size, athleticism, and ability to create mismatches that can swing in his team’s favor.  He may be a similar player to current Phoenix Suns forward, Kelly Oubre, and Prkacin is a first round prospect that could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Partizan’s 7-0, 1998-born Kosovo-born center Dusan Miletic played the entire fourth quarter in the second game against Cibona, and he is a solid interior defender that excelled at protecting the paint to help his team get stops on that end of the floor.

He is an active help defender that can get steals and blocks for his team.  Miletic was able to get his hands on an entry pass, as he tipped it to a teammate to help his team get a steal due to possessing good length, anticipation skills, and instincts.  He also used his length to poke a ball away to get a steal later on.  Plus, he also appeared to rotate to block a shot in the post, but his teammate committed a foul earlier on the play.  Miletic also would use his length to contest shots in the paint to help his team get stops on the defensive end.  However, sometimes he had trouble defending opponents out on the perimeter.  He would sag too far off his man, and sometimes he would be indecisive in making his rotations, which would lead him to allow opponents to score on jumpers.  On another play, he ended up committing a reach-in foul when defending out on the perimeter.

He also did a decent job of scoring the basketball within the limited touches he got on offense.  Miletic showed a knack for drawing fouls after posting up his defenders, and he also drew free throws off of a put back after leaping up to get an offensive rebound.  He also got the ball on a cut and drew free throws another time.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to finish plays around the basket, as he would miss shots when he wouldn’t get foul calls.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Miletic is an unselfish player that would look to find the open man, and he also would set screens to help his teammates get open looks on offense.  Plus, he also did a good job of rebounding the basketball, as he would leap up to get some tough boards on both ends of the floor. Overall, Miletic is a tall, fairly mobile big man that can score and defend in the post.  However, he will need to improve his jump shot and show that he can ably defend quicker players out on the perimeter.  As he didn’t get much playing time this season, he will probably go undrafted, but if he plays well over time, he could compete for a roster spot in the NBA sometime down the road.

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