Report: Raptors interested in Euroleague’s Damjan Rudez

Is Rudez the replacement to PatPat (say it ain’t so!)

According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Toronto Raptors are among NBA four teams interested in importing 6-foot-10 Croatian sharpshooter Damjan Rudez. The 27-year-old went unsigned after being drafted in 2008 therefore he is a free-agent. Aside from Toronto, the Cavaliers, Jazz and Pacers are also in on the chase.

So, unless you’re an ardent Euroleague purveyor, your question is obviously, “who is Damjan Rudez?”

Truth be told, I have no idea. I have, however, watched multiple highlight mixes over the past half-hour. Based on watching this, this, this or this, here’s my loosely-formed scouting report on the stretch-four:

  • Closer to small-forward than a power-forward
  • Can definitely sink a spot-up three, especially from the corners
  • Mostly a stand still shooter, but can play off the bounce
  • Has solid handles for a big man, can reasonably move the ball from the high-post area, good passing instincts
  • Decent quickness, able to counter hard closeouts by crossing over and putting the ball onto the floor
  • Unfortunately, his counter looks to be taking a step in, and shooting a long-two
  • Runs well in transition
  • Can finish in traffic

The observations sound pretty optimistic, which makes sense given that I only watched highlight videos, but if the question is: can he play the stretch-four role in the NBA, the answer is undoubtedly “yes.” He’s definitely more capable than Steve Novak. I would peg his NBA comparison as a smaller Danilo Galinari with half the handles.

Reading into this further, Rudez could potentially replace Patrick Patterson, who is a free-agent this offseason. Passing a somewhat credible comparison between PatPat and Rudez based on just highlights alone isn’t really possible, but Rudez does seem capable of replicating most of Patterson’s offensive skills.

Last season in the ACB, Rudez averaged 10.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 24.2 minutes per game. You can read more about Rudez on Draft Express.

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