2022 Draft Watch: Evaluating Fedor Zugic
August 16th, 2021
By Alan Lu
Buducnost’s 6-6 swingman, Fedor Zugic is an agile, offensively skilled swingman that is considered to be a potential first round prospect for the 2022 draft. He recently played well in the Adriatic League this past season. I was able to take the time to watch him play in a January 30th game against FMP Beograd, with thanks to YouTube via ABA liga j.t.d. This also presented another opportunity to watch Marko Pecarski and Nemanja Popovic play. Here are my thoughts on how Zugic fared, as well as how his game may stack up as a prospect for the NBA.
Fedor Zugic had a decent showing in his team’s win over FMP Beograd. He is a shooter that can knock down shots, and he also is an unselfish player that passes and handles the ball well. He struggled to defend and was unable to get a rebound in this game, but his offensive skills and solid athletic gifts could make him an intriguing first round prospect in the 2022 draft.
He didn’t take many shots in this game, but he seemed to know when to hunt for his own shot to score on offense. Zugic would move off the ball to score on quick, open spot-up threes off the catch. On a pick and roll, he used the pick to get a mismatch against a bigger player. He then dribbled right off of the screen and maneuvered his way into the paint to draw free throws.
He also displayed solid playmaking skills. Zugic and threw solid passes off the dribble, as he can make quick drop off passes to set up scores for his teammates. He will generally make good reads and throw solid interior passes, and he can also handle the ball on the break. He didn’t look to shoot the ball very often, but he was able to capitalize by taking smart shots when he would hoist up shots on offense. On the downside, Zugic did not grab a rebound in this game, and he also tended to be foul prone defensively. He is an active defender that will look to make plays on the ball. He ran in to jump on a dropped pass to get a steal. When focused, he would fight through screens and actively stay in front of ball-handlers to contest jumpers to force misses.
On the other hand, he would tend to get beat off the dribble, as he would not always move his feet well, which would usually lead him to commit fouls. He also would get caught ball watching and wander too far away from his man, which would lead him to be too aggressive on close outs when going back to defend his man, which would cause him to be out of position and to trail his opponent defensively. Other times, he would take bad angles when defending screens, which would put his team in compromised situations.
Overall, Fedor Zugic is an agile, skilled swingman that can shoot and pass the basketball. He will need to be more assertive on offense and he will also need to improve his defense. Currently though, he is an intriguing prospect whose offensive skills and above average athletic gifts could make him a solid prospect to go in the late first to the second round range in the 2022 draft.
FMP Beograd’s 6-8 forward, Nemanja Popovic is a mobile, high-motor player that excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, especially in the fourth quarter. He brought instant offense late in the game, and he consistently made good hustle plays defensively.
Popovich shot the ball very well in this game, and he also did so in a variety of ways. He was able to make a quick, open spot-up three from beyond the arc. He also dribbled left off of a screen to score on a wide-open, long two-point shot. Plus, he also drove the baseline quickly to score on a crafty, switch of hands floater. He also managed to score on a hard roll to the rim another time. He also passed the ball well. Popovic posted up and threw a timely interior pass to notch an assist late in this game. He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. He would chase down boards to help his team get defensive rebounds. He also played good defense in this game. Popovic was able to rotate to block a shot hard to a teammate. He also stayed disciplined and didn’t bite on shoulder fakes when defending in the post, and he forced an opponent to shoot an airball when contesting a turnaround jumper. He also deflected pass to nearly get a steal.
Overall, Nemanja Popovic had a strong showing in his team’s loss to Buducnost. He played well on both ends of the floor, and he could be due for much more playing time for the upcoming season. He’ll need to show that he can knock down outside shots consistently and also play well in extended minutes, but his versatility, motor, and above average athletic gifts could allow him to be a second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft someday.
FMP Beograd’s Marko Pecarski put forth a satisfactory performance in his team’s loss to Buducnost. Pecarski didn’t play much, but he showed some solid offensive skills, as he is a mobile big man that can shoot the basketball. He was able to make a quick, open spot-up three off the catch. He also was able to chase down a defensive board to show some of his rebounding skills.
He also has active feet defensively, as he showed the potential to excel as a defender in a half court. He did a good job of hedging out onto pick and roll ball handlers, and he would then quickly get back to his man to prevent him from getting opportunities to score on rolls. He did sag a bit too far when defending a mid-range shot, but his opponent ended up missing on a fadeaway mid-range shot anyways. Overall, Pecarski generally played well in the limited amount of minutes he was on the floor. He is a mobile, skilled big man, and his ability to shoot and defend could enable him to be a mid to late second round pick in the 2022 draft.