Assessing Aleksa Radanov and Marko Simonovic

October 31, 2019

by Alan Lu

This season, FMP Beograd’s 6-7, 1998-born swingman Aleksa Radanov has been dominating the Adriatic League so far, as he has put forth several terrific performances to take that league by storm. I set out to watch him play in a basketball game that took place between FMP Beograd and Mega Bemax on October 11th, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via ABA liga j.t.d. This match also featured Mega Bemax’s 6-10 center, Marko Simonovic, who has also been playing well to start the year. This game provided me a chance to assess Radanov and Simonovic’s skills, as well as to see how their games may translate to the NBA.

Aleksa Radanov has been having a terrific season in the Adriatic League for FMP Beograd. (Photo courtesy of FMP/Promo via BLIC TV.)
Aleksa Radanov has been having a terrific season in the Adriatic League, as he could be a second round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. (Photo: FMP/Promo via BLIC TV.)

Aleksa Radanov is an athletic, skilled playmaker that possesses a strong knack to score on quick drives to the basket. He can finish plays using either hand, as he was able to score on an emphatic jam early on, as well as on a smooth finger-roll layup in traffic another time. Late in this contest, he split a double team when handling the ball by utilizing a nifty behind the back dribble move to gracefully score on a double-pump layup off the glass. Radanov also did a good job of drawing fouls on his opponents, and his blend of agility, ball-handling skills, and finishing ability allowed him to thrive as a scorer off the dribble throughout this contest.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays. On one play, he quickly pounced on a poorly thrown pass to get a steal, and he drove in to score on a high-flying, two-handed dunk on the break.

He also showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers. He used a step back move to knock down a mid-range shot from the left elbow early on, and Radanov also was able to make an open trail three on the break on a separate play. He didn’t look to take jumpers too often, but he showed that he can make them to keep defenders honest, although he had a little more trouble making threes than when he would look to score from inside the arc.

Also, Radanov displayed good playmaking skills in this game. He is a skilled ball handler that sees the floor well, and he threw very good interior passes to rack up assists for his team. He can throw accurate lob passes to find teammates on the move, and he excels at getting them the ball out on the break to set up scores. He also is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can quickly recognize double teams and pass out of the post to get his teammates the basketball.

Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, he was able to go in to get a couple of defensive boards, and he also managed to bring the ball up once after leaping up to get a rebound.

Plus, Radanov also played good defense. He is an agile, instinctive defender that would run in from the blind side to poke balls away from opponents to get steals, and he also would quickly jump passes to collect other steals as well. He also makes quick rotations, as he will double hard to force a difficult pass, and he also rotated on a drive to force a miss. He also managed to successfully challenge a three-point shot, and he also will fight through screens to stay attached to the opposing ball handler.  However, he can be too aggressive when guarding his man, as that can lead him to commit touch fouls when applying the press. He also was caught ball watching as he was late to rotate back to his man, as he ended up allowing his opponent to score on a corner three once.

In general, Aleksa Radanov is a talented basketball player whose versatility allows him to help his team in many different facets of the game. Right now, he is a second round prospect for the 2020 draft. He will need to improve his jump shot and continue to play well this year, but he is an intriguing prospect that seems to have a similar game to that of current Chicago Bulls’ guard, Tomas Satoransky, and Radanov could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Marko Simonovic is a talented big man that could be a second round pick in 2020. (Photo: Mega Bemax/Ivica Veslinov via ABA Liga.)
Marko Simonovic is a talented big man that has been playing well so far in the Adriatic League this season. (Photo: Mega Bemax/Ivica Veslinov via ABA Liga.)

6-10 Mega Bemax center, Marko Simonovic also played well, as he is a fairly mobile, energetic big man that showed off some solid inside scoring and playmaking skills in his team’s loss to FMP Beograd.

Simonovic generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He showed a knack for scoring off of hard rolls and cuts to the hoop, as he was able to score on a tough bank shot in traffic once, and he also scored on a quick, two-handed dunk late in the game. He also managed to score on a powerful jam when left open underneath the basket early on, and he also can score and get free throws off of put backs.

However, he missed on a contested jump hook when posting up. On a separate play, he also missed another time despite being open around the basket when catching the ball.   Simonovic attempted to take an open three-pointer once, but he ended up missing off the back end of the rim.

Also, Simonovic exhibited adequate playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that will keep the ball moving, and he would generally make sound reads to find teammates on offense. He threw a long outlet pass off of a defensive rebound to set up a score for a teammate on the break, and he also threw a sharp interior pass to a cutter to set up another scoring chance. He also will set screens to help get his teammates open jump shots, though he was able to get away with setting moving picks in the process. He did throw one pass that sailed out of bounds, but that was due to miscommunication, as he had anticipated a player to receive a pass in the corner without his teammate actually getting there.

He also was able to get rebounds on both ends of the floor. He would leap up to get his fair share of rebounds, and he also would tip balls to himself and his teammates to help his team get extra boards. However, there was one play where he ran in to try to get an offensive board, but he ended up stepping out of bounds in the process.

Plus, he also played decent defense. For the positives, he showed good hands to get steals and deflections. When defending in the post on one play, he managed to take the ball away on a spin move to get a steal, and he also would deflect passes at other junctures of the game. Plus, Simonovic would rotate and use his length to contest jumpers to force misses, and he also altered a shot off of a drive in the paint to get his opponent to miss another time.

However, he can tend to struggle to guard opposing ball handlers, especially out on the perimeter, which can lead him to commit reach-in fouls and allow scores. Sometimes, he would be caught ball watching and forget to communicate switches to his teammates, which can result in his team to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.

Overall, Marko Simonovic is a talented big man that can get scores in the paint, and he also is a good passer for a player his size. He will need to improve his face-up game and position defense, but he is a second round prospect that could project to be a backup center in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Mega Bemax’s 6-7, 2000-born forward, Luka Cerovina from Serbia had a terrific game in his team’s loss to FMP Beograd. He did a terrific job of knocking down three-point shots, as he can really knock them down off the catch, and he also is a good ball handler that was able to make a couple of pull-up threes as well.

He also is an unselfish player that showed a decent ability to throw interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates. However, Cerovina dropped a catchable but hard pass that led to one turnover, and he also threw a hasty entry pass that was intercepted by a defender that led to another.

He didn’t grab many rebounds, but he was able to get a defensive board off of a tap out before quickly pushing it up the floor.

Also, he played adequate defense in this game. He doubled hard to defend in the post, as he then tipped a pass to a teammate to help his team get a steal, and Cerovina would rotate quickly to force his man to miss shots off the dribble. He has good length and footwork to actively stay in front of opposing ball handlers, and he would actively contest jumpers to force misses. However, sometimes he can tend to bite on ball fakes, which would lead him to commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness. Other times, he would trail his man on cuts, or be too aggressive in his close outs, which would lead him prone to committing fouls.

In summary, Luka Cerovina had a very good showing in this game, as he scored 16 points and made five three-pointers for Mega Bemax. He is an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on, and he is a player that could project into a 3 and D role similar to current Philadelphia 76ers’ forward, James Ennis in the NBA.

Mega Bemax’s 6-10, 1998-born center, Filip Stanic also played well in this game. He is a strong, physical big man that excelled at scoring on rolls to the rim, and he also showed good footwork and shooting touch as he used an overhead ball fake to score on a right-handed jump hook in the post. Stanic also passed the ball well. Defensively, he would actively contest shots, but he also can be too aggressive in trying to do so, which would lead him to commit fouls. He may only be an average athlete, but he is an energetic player that tends to make sound plays on offense, and he could perhaps make an NBA team’s summer league roster either in 2020 or sometime down the road.

FMP Beograd’s 6-8, 1998-born forward, Stefan Djordjevic generally excelled as a scorer in the post as well as off of hustle plays, but he had trouble passing out of the post when facing double or tripe teams. He did rebound the ball well, and he would play passing lanes to get steals and deflections. However, he also struggled to defend screens, as his team would allow scores on rolls to the rim, and he would sometimes be late on his rotations. Overall, Djordjevic seems to be an unlikely bet to be drafted by an NBA team in 2020, but he will likely have a very good career in professional basketball.

FMP Beograd’s Marko Pecarski didn’t really stand out in this game, but he was able to catch an entry pass against a smaller defender, as he used a drop step, and turned to score on a strong right-handed jump hook while drawing an additional free throw. He showed off adequate low post scoring skills, but also would miss easy shots around the basket at times.

However, he didn’t show great playmaking skills in this game. On one play, he also had a ball stripped when spinning to try to score in the post, as he struggled to protect the basketball that time. He also tended to commit fouls when going for rebounds. On the other hand, he was able to leap up and tip a ball to himself to get an offensive rebound in traffic once due to making a good hustle play that time. Defensively, he showed a willingness to play passing lanes, but he also tended to be foul prone when trying to guard his man or make a play on the ball.

Overall, this was not Marko Pecarski’s best game, and he may still have a long way to go as a prospect for the NBA. He will need to improve his face-up game, playmaking skills, and position defense. If he can continue to hone his game and develop as an overall player, he could end up being a draft and stash pick in a future draft sometime down the road.

Mega Bemax’s 6-4, 1998-born point guard, Ognjen Carapic didn’t really have a great game in his team’s loss to FMP Beograd. He didn’t look to score often, but he did manage to sore on a quick left-handed drive, and he also scored on a reverse layup off the glass after running in to get an offensive board. He did attempt one three, but he missed from beyond the arc.

As a player who is supposed to be a caretaker of the basketball, he didn’t do a very good job of limiting his turnovers on offense. On the plus side, he showed some vision in making passes to his teammates to set up scores for them, as he can find them on the move as well as kick balls out to shooters. However, he tended to throw hasty passes that would get intercepted, and he also had a ball poked off of himself on a drive that resulted in another turnover.

Carapic showed a keen nose for the basketball to get numerous rebounds. Defensively, he looked to be average at best. He was able to run in to intercept a pass to get a steal. However, his lack of size was a detriment to him defensively in this game, as he had trouble guarding shooters, and he also had some trouble guarding opposing ball handlers, which would lead him to be foul prone.

Overall, Ognjen Carapic was able to get a couple of scores, and he was able to make some good passes to get assists, but he didn’t look for his shot nearly enough, was too turnover prone, and he struggled considerably on defense. He doesn’t seem to be much of a prospect for the NBA as he may be an unlikely bet to be drafted in 2020, but he could end up having a long career in professional basketball.

Duop Reath is a talented big man that has the skills to make an NBA team's roster. (Photo: FMP via ABA Liga.)
Duop Reath is a talented big man that helped FMP Beograd get the win over Mega Bemax. (Photo: FMP via ABA Liga.)

Former LSU center, and current 6-11 FMP Beograd big man, Duop Reath dominated in this game to help get his team a double-digit victory over Mega Bemax. Reath is an athletic, skilled big man that can make shots from all over the floor. He ran the floor well to get numerous scores in transition, and he also excelled as both a low post scorer and spot-up shooter from beyond the arc. Reath was able to block shots ferociously to help his team protect the paint on defense, and he also intercepted a pass to get a steal another time.   Reath scored 23 points in his team’s win, and he is a talented player that could should earn an invite to an NBA team’s training camp or summer league roster for the 2020-21 season.