Analyzing Vanja Marinkovic

October 1, 2018

by Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch 6-6, 1997-born, Partizan guard Vanja Marinkovic from Serbia play in an Adriatic League game at the start of the 2018-19 season, as he managed to score 25 points and made 4 threes to help his team get a win over Cedevita on September 29th.  With thanks to YouTube via ABA liga j.t.d., I was able to see him play to break down this performance, as well as scout a few other prospects.  

Vanja Marinkovic is a very good shooter that excelled at knocking down threes from beyond the arc.  He did a great job of making open spot-up threes, and he also was able to make a quick, trail three in transition.  His best shot he made from downtown was when he used a pivot and a jab step as he then made a step-back, contested fadeaway pull-up three-point shot.  He did take a couple pull-up, mid-range jumpers, but he ended up missing those.

He also showed a solid ability off the dribble.  Marinkovic is a shifty guard that handles the ball and changes directions well, and he is a crafty player that has a knack for scoring off the glass.  He was able to make a floater, and his best shot he made around the basket was when he used a crossover to score on a same hand, same leg layup off the backboard.   He is not an overly explosive player, but his body control and ability to maneuver past defenders allows him to regularly score in the paint.

Plus, he also displayed good playmaking skills.  Marinkovic is a good passer and ball handler that tends to make good reads, and he also moves well off the ball on offense.  He can draw defenders in when driving to the hoop to find the open man in order to set up scores, and he also can throw touch passes to find his teammates on the roll.  His ability to run off of screens can make it difficult for his opponents to keep up with him, and he also can bring the ball up and play the point every once in a while.  He did commit a couple of turnovers though, as he mishandled the catch to let a ball go into the backcourt once, and he also threw a lazy bounce pass that was intercepted another time.

However, he did not grab many rebounds in this game.  Marinkovic did not seem to be very instinctual at pursuing boards when he was on the court, and he tended to get beat to balls that were in his area, but he was able to make a nice hustle play late in this contest, as he managed to tip a ball off the glass to himself to get a defensive rebound once.  Also, he played decent defense when he was on the floor.  He is an adequate position defender that will compete to get stops for his team.  In this game, Marinkovic would actively close out on shooters to force misses, and he would actively look to stay with his opponents.

However, he does not possess elite physical tools, and he also does not collect many steals or blocks, so his potential to develop on the defensive end may be fairly limited.   Though he will look to close out on shooters, he will give up some space, as opponents can still knock down threes over him, and other times he may not hustle back on defense, which can lead his team to allow scores in transition.  Also, on one play, he ended up being caught on a screen, and then committed a foul due to holding onto his opponent.

In general, Vanja Marinkovic is a smart, skilled basketball player that can play multiple positions, and his ability to make plays on offense could help him be an effective rotation player in the NBA someday.  Definitely, he is off to a strong start this year, as he played very well to help get his team a three-point victory over Cedevita.  Right now, he would likely be a solid second round prospect, as his skills may resemble that of former Los Angeles Lakers’ guard, Sasha Vujacic.  If he can continue to be as productive as he was in this game, he could even move up into the first round, as he could end up being a good role player in the association.

Other Notes:

6-7, 1998-born forward Amar Gegic had a pretty good showing as he helped Partizan get a narrow win over Cedevita, and among the prospects that could apply to enter the 2019 NBA Draft, he may be the best athlete among them.  He mainly excelled as a scorer on off-ball motion plays, as he would score off quick cuts as well as in transition.  His best score of the game was when he ran the floor to score on a high-flying one-handed dunk as a trailer in transition, but he also managed to score on a reverse layup off of a cut.  Also, he took a quick corner three, but he missed his only shot from beyond the arc.  He also showed off some rebounding skills, as he was able to haul in a board on each end of the floor.

Defensively, he looked to be about average.  He was able to poke a ball away as his opponent lost the ball out of bounds, as he showed good hands to force a turnover.  He also seemed to show adequate footwork when defending out on the perimeter.  However, he struggled to defend screens, as there seemed to be miscommunication on some of those plays, which would lead his team to allow scores and commit fouls.  He also was over-aggressive when defending in the high post, as he committed a reach-in foul, which led to his opponent to draw and make two free throws.

Right now, Amar Gegic will need more consistent playing time in the Adriatic League, but he seems to show promise as a prospect for the NBA.  He will still need to develop his jump shot, and improve his playmaking and defensive skills, but he is an energetic combo forward that could be a potential second round pick in 2020 if he continues to improve as an overall player.

For other players, Partizan’s 6-5, 1998-born guard, Aleksandar Aranitovic excelled as a facilitator and defender, and he also played good low post defense, but he really struggled to make shots in this game as he especially struggled with his jump shot, and sometimes would heave up shots too wildly around the basket. 

Cedevita’s 1998-born, 6-3 guard Toni Perkovic was able to make a pull-up, mid-range jumper from around the right elbow, but he really struggled at the point, as he continually lost the ball and had it poked away due to the strong ball pressure and defense from Partizan’s 1995-born 6-3 guard, Aleksej Nikolij.  As a result of committing a handful of turnovers in a short amount of time, Perkovic was taken out of the game late in the second quarter, and it was likely that he remained on the bench for the rest of the way after that.

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