Evaluating Vanja Marinkovic in an Adriatic League Game

October 27, 2017

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Partizan’s 6-6 swingman, Vanja Marinkovic play in an Adriatic League game against Igokea.  With thanks to YouTube via ABA liga j.t.d., I was able to get a chance to assess his skills as the two teams squared off on October 21st.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as how he may rate as a prospect for the NBA.

Marinkovic is a good shooter that can knock down many spot-up threes off the catch.  He has plenty of range on his shot as well as a quick release, and he also managed to make a three-pointer off of a pick and pop play after setting the initial screen on offense.  He had more trouble knocking down shots off the dribble however, especially when they were contested.  But Marinkovic did manage to make a quick pull-up mid-range jumper late in the game despite being unguarded that time.  Also, he is a good athlete that will run the floor, and he will look to move off the ball to put himself in scoring position.

He also may possess decent playmaking skills.  Marinkovic tended to make solid, crisp passes when he would elect to do so, and he also can handle the basketball.  However, he did travel once on a drive after losing his footing while trying to kick it out to a shooter.  He tends to play with a heavy score-first mindset, as he will aggressively look to take jumpers on offense.  However, he did not rebound the ball very well.  Marinkovic did leap up to get one defensive board, but he was not often in position to come away with rebounds, and he can get outmuscled when trying to battle on the glass.

Also, he displayed average at best defensive skills.  For the positives, Marinkovic will hustle back on defense, and his athleticism, motor, and instincts can allow him to get stops on the break.  On one play, he managed to make an emphatic chase down block in transition.  On another, he was able to alter a shot on a bigger player to force a miss.  He can rotate to successfully challenge shots from the weakside, as he can make it difficult for his opponents to score on fast breaks.

However, he really struggled with his position defense.  Marinkovic had trouble defending drives, as he would at times over rotate, and then get beat on moves to the hoop.  He also did not defend screens very well.  He would tend to fight too hard over the top of them, as this would allow the ball handler to turn the corner, or it leaves the roll man open because the big man would have to hedge to cut off the penetration.  Also, he doesn’t hold position very well in the post, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.

Right now, Vanja Marinkovic is an interesting prospect as he is an athletic swingman that can shoot and score the basketball, but there are also some areas that need significant improvement, as he will need to improve his rebounding and position defense.   He is a skilled player whose game may be similar to that of either Chase Budinger or Gordan Giricek, and he could be an intriguing second round candidate for NBA teams in the 2018 draft.

Other Notes:

Partizan’s 1998 born, 6-5 guard Aleksandar Aranitovic from Serbia received some run in the second quarter.  He is a decent athlete that plays with a very good motor.   Early on, he beat his man down court to catch a long outlet pass in order to score on a fast break, and he also tipped a pass in the backcourt to himself to obtain a steal before finding an open teammate ahead in transition.

On the other hand, he missed his only three-point attempt, and he also bit wildly on a pump fake to allow his man to make a long two-point basket.  Aranitovic is a high motor player that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He will need to get more playing time in this league, as well as improve his jump shot and position defense, but he could be a player to keep an eye on in the future.

Overall, those were my assessments on Vanja Marinkovic and Aleksandar Aranitovic.  Marinkovic showed some intriguing skills as he is an athletic shooter that has some playmaking skills, and he will aggressively look to take shots on offense.  He seems to possess the potential to develop into an adequate defensive player, as he can roam to get key blocks and stops in transition.  He will need to improve his rebounding and position defense significantly, but his shooting ability combined with his athleticism could make him an intriguing option for NBA teams to pick in the second round.  For Aranitovic, he made some interesting plays, but he will need to play more to get more notice from NBA scouts and teams down the road.