Evaluating Dzanan Musa in an 2017-18 Adriatic League Game

October 3, 2017

By Alan Lu

Regular season basketball has started early in some parts of the world, and the Adriatic League has already begun playing this year.  I decided to take some time to watch Cedevita’s 6-8 swingman Dzanan Musa from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as he is a very skilled offensive minded player that has been drawing buzz as a prospect that could likely go in the first round in 2018. 

With thanks to YouTube via ABA liga j.t.d., I was able to see him play against FMP Beograd in a September 29th game.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared as well as how the other prospects did on that day, and how they may currently rate as prospects for the NBA.

Dzanan Musa is a very good shooter that can knock down pull-up threes after dribbling off of screens with ease.  He often can make opponents pay for sagging off of him when he is handling the ball on plays involving the screener, and Musa is not afraid to take shots when he has space to shoot the basketball.  He has great confidence in his abilities, though he can occasionally rush his shots, which can lead to some misses.

Also, Musa showcased a good ability to get scores off the dribble.   Not only can he knock down pull-up threes from beyond the arc, but Musa is adept at getting to the free throw line and finding ways to score off of isolation plays.  He managed to go coast to coast to score on a floater after grabbing a defensive rebound once.  Plus, he is a good ball handler that can manage to get opponents to regularly foul him.  Though Musa may not be an elite athlete nor possess an explosive first step to the hoop, his shooting touch, combined with ball handling skills and ability to change speeds can make it difficult for defenses to guard him when the ball is in his hands.

He also excels at scoring on hustle plays.  Musa is a smart player that possesses adequate athleticism and good motor, as he can score in transition, off of broken plays, and he also will pick his spots to score on a cut to the hoop.  There was one instance where he scored on a nifty give and go play on a two on one break that showcased his solid ability to pass and make decisions on the court.  But he did miss on a couple of put backs, as he can struggle to finish plays in traffic at times.

Plus, Musa seemed to be a better facilitator on the court than anticipated, as he exhibited good playmaking skills.  He possesses good court vision and handles the ball well, and he can operate as a tall point forward if his team needs him to.  Musa will consistently find open shooters, particularly off of pick and pop plays, and he can deftly handle the basketball in traffic.  He did commit one turnover, as he threw a sloppy, inaccurate pass in the backcourt during the middle of the game that ended up getting picked off.

In this game, Musa did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active in crashing the glass, and he managed to haul in numerous defensive boards, including one where he managed to get one off of a bounce amidst a crowd.   He can catch defenses off guard when he pushes the pace after grabbing a defensive board for his team.  However, there were still some times where Musa would not quite corral balls in his area, as there was one instance where an up for grabs ball was ripped away from him that eventually led to his team to allow a put back score.

Musa also may possess decent defensive skills.  Right now, he may be better as a help defender than guarding his man on the ball, as Musa has good hands and instincts to intercept passes to get steals, and he also managed to jump up once to break up a lob pass.   Plus, he also can help trap opponents to help force opponents to commit turnovers, and he will make hustle plays to help his team get stops.

However, sometimes he can have lapses as an on-ball defender, as he may get caught ball watching, which can cause him to lose track of his man on a cut, and it also may cause him to be out of position when defending drives to the hoop.  Musa may not possess great lateral quickness, as he can struggle to guard his man on isolation plays.  Other times, he tended to get caught on screens, but he would instead switch on to the next open man to make sure opponents are not able to get an open shot on those instances.

Right now, Dzanan Musa is a smart, skilled offensive minded player that seems to have a very good feel for the game, and his ability to make plays as a shooter, scorer, and facilitator could make him a potential lottery pick in 2018.  While he may not possess elite athleticism or defensive skills, Musa’s advanced skill set and basketball IQ could enable him to be one of the best players at his position in this draft class.

Other Notes:
One player that caught my eye is FMP Beograd’s 6-7, 19-year old swingman Aleksa Radanov.  He started the game while Musa and Maverick Rowan were on the bench for their respective teams, and Radanov made quite a few eye-popping plays early that showcased his athleticism and playmaking skills.  He seemed to fade into the background later on, but his strong performance in the first quarter could make him potentially a worthwhile draft and stash pick for an NBA team.

Radanov is a good playmaker that possesses solid court vision.  Early on, he dribbled around, and threw a sharp, bullet pass to find an open teammate underneath the hoop to set a score for his team.  Another good play he made was when he used a pump fake and drove in to throw a fancy behind the back pass to a cutter to set up another scoring chance for his team.  Radanov frequently made strong accurate interior passes, and he is a good passer that may be unselfish to a fault.  But late in the game, he made perhaps a costly turnover as he decided to pass after driving in from the post, which ended up getting intercepted late in the game.

He also did a good job of attacking the basket to garner scores when he would aggressively look to score.  Radanov patiently drove to the hoop once, and ended up throwing down an emphatic dunk over a defender.  Another time, he sprinted down the court as he managed to get the ball on the move to throw down a thunderous dunk on the break.  Radanov is a good athlete that has a fairly solid motor, and it could be in FMP Beograd’s interest to have him be a scorer on hustle plays to help him take advantage more of his athletic gifts.  However, Radanov did not shoot the ball well.  He missed all of his three-point attempts, and he some pretty bad misses as he would get the ball late in the shot clock at times.  He did miss a three off the dribble another time, but that shot looked to be quite fluid, though.

In this game, Radanov rebounded the ball fairly well.  He was active at hauling in defensive rebounds, and he would quickly chase down boards to help his team.  Plus, he may also be a decent defensive player.  Radanov can use his length to contest jumpers to force misses, and he may possess decent lateral quickness to stay in front of his man.  On the other hand, he tended to pick up touch fouls, especially when he would defend inside in the post.  Other times, he would be out of position, which would lead his team to allow scores at times.

Overall, Aleksa Radanov showed enough promise to be on NBA teams’ radars, as he is an athletic swingman that appears to be a solid playmaker and he can also score on hustle plays.  He will need to improve his jump shot considerably, as well as show that he can consistently make solid plays defensively.  Even so, he may have the potential to be a second round draft and stash pick in the future if he continues to play well this season.

Former NC State swingman Maverick Rowan also played in this game, as he suited up for FMP Beograd.  He previously entered the 2017 NBA Draft before later withdrawing, though past the collegiate deadline.  However, he did not really make much of an impact on this day, unfortunately.

Normally a shooter, his strongest play of the game actually came off of a hustle play inside the paint.  On this play, Rowan managed to rip an opponent’s ball away to come away with a tough offensive rebound, and he promptly scored on a put back to show his solid motor, strong hands, and instincts that time.

However, Rowan missed his only three-point attempt, which was off the catch when he was out on the wing, and he seldom looked to shoot the basketball.  He did not show great playmaking skills either, as he seemingly appeared to get away with passing to himself that was not called for a travel.  But he did throw an off-balanced pass while falling out of bounds that ended up getting tipped and intercepted, though his teammate threw him a low lob pass.

In this game though, Rowan actually seemed to display adequate defensive skills.  Though he does not have great lateral quickness, he managed to stay in front of a smaller, faster opponent as he used his length to force a miss on a drive.  He also was able to successfully contest a three to force a miss from beyond the arc.  However, Rowan tried to rotate to help cover for his man on a drive, to no avail on one play.  On another, he ended up committing a reach-in foul on a drive, though that may have been a late in-game strategy in his team’s bid to try to cut the deficit.

In this game, Maverick Rowan did not stand out, as his play in this game won’t likely help him move up draft boards.  But if he can shoot the ball well in the Adriatic League and put up some good numbers in this league, he could perhaps find a way to end up on an NBA summer league roster soon or sometime down the road.

Overall, these are my reports on Dzanan Musa, Aleksa Radanov, and Maverick Rowan as they played in an Adriatic League on September 29th.  I was impressed with Musa’s overall skill level and advanced feel for the game, as his offensive skills could benefit an NBA team significantly down the road. 

Radanov may still be unpolished as an overall player, but he seems to be an interesting long-term prospect, as his athleticism and playmaking abilities could make him a potential second round pick in the future.  For Rowan, I did not think he stood out by any means, but he did make one good hustle play on offense to get his team a bucket, and he could end up being a good role player in the Adriatic League over time.

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