Thoughts on Roko Prkacin, Jurij Macura, and Lovro Gnjidic

December 8th, 2020

By Alan Lu

This time around, I decided to take the time to watch Roko Prkacin play for Cibona in an Adriatic League game against Primorska that took place on November 1st, as I was able to see this game with thanks to YouTube via ABA liga j.t.d.  Prkacin is a tall, 6-9 point forward that is currently projected to be a first round prospect for the 2021 draft, and Primorska featured Jurij Macura, a 6-10 center that also is playing well overseas this season.  Cibona was able to cruise to a blowout win, and both Prkacin and Macura played fairly well, and some of the other prospects were able to do so good things in this game as well.  Here are my thoughts on how Prkacin and Macura fared, as well as how they and other various prospects’ games may translate to the NBA.

Cibona’s 6-9 forward, Roko Prkacin is a very skilled player whose versatile skill set, size, and athleticism could enable him to be a first round pick in the 2021 draft.
(Photo:
KK Cibona, via Crosarka.com)

Roko Prkacin had a decent showing in his team’s double-digit victory over Primorska.  He is an athletic point forward that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he is a gifted facilitator that possesses solid court vision that can enable him to rack up assists in games.

Prkacin showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  He was able to drive hard to the hoop to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk, and he has solid ball-handling skills, foot-speed, and athleticism that would enable him to quickly get to the hoop to score.  He also was able to draw a handful of fouls upon his defenders on aggressive drives to the hoop.  Sometimes though, he would struggle more to score when the help would arrive, as he ended up missing shots in traffic.

He also showed the ability to score in the post.  Prkacin was able to draw free throws after going up strong to try to score in the post, but he also had his shot blocked another time.  Prkacin also used an overhead ball fake to score on a quick put back after leaping up to grab an offensive rebound over his opponent.

Though he did make an open spot-up three off the catch, Prkacin struggled to make outside shots consistently from beyond the arc, as he couldn’t quite find his shooting touch from long distance, and he would sometimes be prone to rushing his shots at times.

Also, Prkacin displayed perhaps above average playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that passes and handles the ball fairly well.  He can throw sharp interior passes and can also find open shooters to set up plenty of scoring chances for his teammates.  He has solid court vision, and he is a good passer in transition.  On the downside, sometimes he would tend to go in a bit too fast, as he was called for committing a charging foul when trying to push the ball up court in transition, and he also lost the ball in the post another time as a result of a ball that slipped out of his hands.

Also, he did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Prkacin would frequently leap up to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would aggressively push the pace after getting defensive rebounds afterwards, as he would then lead fast breaks as the primary ball handler.  However, he also was prone to fouling bigger, stronger opponents when battling for boards, as he had a tendency to hook his arm to try to prevent them from being able to get to balls.

He also played solid defense in this game.  Prkacin would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections, and he also was able to poke a ball away to nearly force another turnover.  He has solid length, athleticism, and timing, and he was able to rotate to alter a shot off of a drive, and Prkacin also was able to contest a couple of shots to force some misses.  He showed the ability to defend out on the perimeter as well as in the post to get stops for his team.  Sometimes though he would be unfocused, as he would be late on rotations, which would lead his team to allow scores in the paint.  Other times, he may tend to pick up fouls when trying to make plays around the basket.

Overall, Roko Prkacin is an athletic, skilled playmaker that has a variety of skills that could prove to be useful in the NBA.  He will need to improve his jump shot and also cut down on his turnovers, but his ability to score and facilitate could enable him to be a worthwhile pick for an NBA team in the first round of the 2021 draft.

Primorska’s 6-10 big man, Jurij Macura showed off a versatile skill set as he had a fairly solid showing in his team’s loss to Cibona.
(Photo:
Aleksander Golob/Koper Primorska, via Aba-liga.com)

Primorska’s 6-10, Slovenian-born center, Jurij Macura also played fairly well in his team’s loss to Cibona.  He showed off versatile scoring skills as he especially showed a knack for making spot-up threes late in this game, he was active as a rebounder and defender, and he also did a very good job of blocking shots to help his team shore up the paint.

Macura did a very good job of knocking down spot-up threes off the catch.  He excelled at making outside shots when given ample time to get his shot off, and he also was able to make a three off of a pick and pop play.  He is a tall, skilled big man that has a smooth shooting stroke, and he shot the ball well from downtown.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Macura was able to run in to score on a tip-in on the break after grabbing an offensive rebound very early in this game.  He also ran off of a ball screen to cut hard to the hoop to get the ball, and he was able to draw free throws on the play.   Plus, he also showed a penchant for being able to draw non-shooting fouls when driving the ball to the hoop.

However, he struggled to consistently score in the post.  He was able to use a quick pump fake to score, and he also can draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the foul line.  On the downside, he struggled to consistently score on jump hooks, as he tended to rush his shots, and he didn’t seem to be able to find his rhythm as a scorer from the block.

Plus, Macura also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that passes well off the dribble and out of the post, and he can routinely find cutters from the post to set up scoring chances for them.  He also can set good screens to help his teammates get open jump shots.  However, he was called for traveling once when trying to split a double team from the post another time.

Macura showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball.  He would aggressively leap up to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he also brought the ball up once off of a defensive rebound.  Sometimes though, he would get outworked for rebounds, as he would occasionally allow opponents to get offensive boards in his area.

Also, he played perhaps above average defense.  Macura did a great job of rotating to block shots, as he showed a knack for swatting shots off of drives and in the post, and he would tend to swat shots hard to teammates.  He also used his length to deflect a pass out of bounds to nearly get a steal.  His interior presence would force opponents to pass up shots due to his length, athleticism, and shot-blocking prowess.  However, he would tend not to tell teammates where the screens were or where to go to defend them, as his team would then allow scores.  Other times, he would have lapses, as he would end up trailing his man on cuts and drives to the hoop.  Other times, he would give up too much space to shooters when defending out on the perimeter.

Overall, Jurij Macura is an athletic, skilled big man that shot the ball fairly well, and he played solid interior defense at times in this game.  He will need to be a more focused team defender in games, but he seemed to show a high skill-level when he was on the court.  While he may be a bit undersized to play inside, his ability to shoot, score, and defend in the paint could enable him to be a second round pick for the 2021 draft.

Cibona’s 6-6 guard, Lovro Gnjidic played very well, especially in the fourth quarter to help lead his team to a win over Primorska on November 1st.
(Source:
Twitter/ABA Liga)

Cibona’s 6-6, Croatian swingman Lovro Gnjidic had a stellar showing in his team’s double-digit victory over Primorska.  He is a very athletic, skilled player that can score and distribute the basketball, and he played very well in the fourth quarter in this game.

Gnjidic did a good job of scoring on strong drives to the basket.  He was able to use a nice behind the back crossover move to his left to quickly get past Macura to score on an athletic, two-handed dunk.  He also was able to drive hard to the hoop to score on a powerful jam another time.   He also showed good speed to score on a drive in transition.  Plus, he was able to consistently get to the hoop to draw free throws to get to the foul line, although he struggled to make his free throws.

Plus, he also excelled at knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team.  Gnjidic was able to dribble back and use a crossover move to make a smooth, step-back three to help his team pour even more points towards the game’s end.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Gnjidic can throw good passes off the dribble, as he can consistently get into the lane quickly and kick balls out to shooters to set up scores for them.  He also would tend to bring the ball up quickly on offense, as he was trusted to be the team’s point forward in the fourth quarter.  However, sometimes he would telegraph his passes in which opponents would be able to anticipate them, and he had one pass intercepted by a defender due to rushing.

Also, Gnjidic played fairly good defense in this game.  He was able to run in to take a ball away from an opposing ball handler off of a drive to get a steal.  Plus, he also jumped on a loose ball after his teammate deflected a lob pass to him to help force another turnover.  On the downside, he did commit one foul off of a drive due to over-aggressiveness.

Overall, Gnjidic is a very athletic, point forward that showed a knack for making plays off the dribble, and he was able to have a series of very solid scores down the stretch for his team.  He could be a definite prospect to keep an eye on, and he may have the skills to end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Cibona’s Mateo Dreznjak is an athletic, 6-5 swingman that showed some solid playmaking skills, and he also is an energetic player that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor. Dreznjak was able to run in quickly to score on a tip-in early on after leaping up to grab an offensive rebound.  He also showed a knack for drawing non-shooting fouls after handling the ball on the break.  He did miss on a spot-up three-point shot though, and he didn’t look to take nearly enough shots in this game.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Dreznjak is a good passer off the dribble, as he can quickly get into the lane, and he would throw nifty drop-off passes to his teammates to set up scores for them in transition.  Sometimes though, he would be a bit careless with the ball, as he would sometimes throw inaccurate passes, or get a ball poked away, but overall, he did not turn the ball over once in this match. Plus, he also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball.  Dreznjak would chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to push the ball up the court off of defensive boards.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, he was able to run in to deflect a pass out of bounds to nearly get a steal.  He also contested a shot off of a drive in transition to force a miss another time.  However, he tended to struggle to defend opponents out on the perimeter.  Sometimes he would over-pursue opposing ball handlers and get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Another time, he was late to rotate to his man, as he led his opponent to score on a three-point shot.

Overall, Mateo Dreznjak was able to make some solid plays in this game, but he did not shoot the ball nearly enough, nor make enough consistent plays defensively.  He has the skills to be a solid role player overseas, but he will need to improve significantly in order to increase his odds to be able to make it to the NBA.  He will need to improve his outside shot and on-ball defense significantly, but his athleticism and potential to develop on both ends of the floor could make him a prospect to watch sometime down the road.

Cibona’s point forward, Toni Nakic had a fairly solid showing in his team’s win over Primorska.  He is a skilled playmaker that can effectively run the point, and he generally played a solid all-around game when he was on the court.

Nakic shot the ball well, as he was able to make an open, corner three off the catch, and he also dribbled towards the baseline to make a smooth pull-up jumper from the mid-range.  He also ran the floor to score in transition, as he was able to take advantage of an opportunity to score on the break.  Also, he showed a knack for drawing fouls when handling the ball.  After getting the ball on a re-post though, he used a spin move, but ended up missing a layup too hard off the glass.

He also displayed decent playmaking skills.  Nakic can throw good passes off the dribble, and he also can find teammates on the break to set up scores for his teammates.  On the downside, he threw an inaccurate lob pass in transition that went off the glass and later ended up getting intercepted by a defender. Also, Nakic did a good job of rebounding the basketball, as he would often chase down defensive boards, and sometimes he would bring the ball up the court afterwards.

Plus, Nakic also played decent defense in this game. He would jump passes to get steals and deflections, and he also would jump on loose balls to help his team force additional turnovers.  He also hustled back to deflect a pass out of bounds due to possessing a solid motor.  He also would contest shots off of drives to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would commit touch fouls when defending opponents off the dribble due to over-aggressiveness, and he also got beat off the dribble to commit a foul and allow a score once.

Overall, Toni Nakic played fairly well, as he played a solid all-around game in his team’s win over Primorska.  He will need to be more assertive in making plays on offense, and he may not be outstanding at any one particular skill, but his ability to help out in many different areas of the game could enable him to be a potential second round pick in the 2021 draft.

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