March 24, 2011
The star frontcourt player, though, has been Nikola Mirotic. Not expected to be a big time player for Real, especially aged only 20, Mirotic has demanded a big role on the team based on his superior play. Mirotic contributes in pretty much all facets of the game - shooting, running, rebounding, finishing, driving, defending, even occasionally posting - and does so at all stages of the game, proving to be a vital clutch player in his first full season with this or any team. Mirotic has played so well that Jorge Garbajosa got released, as he was rendered surplus to requirements. Mirotic has played so well that versatile and once highly touted Serbain prospect Novica Velickovic now struggles to get rotation minutes, having to force a fit at small forward just to take the court. Mirotic has played so well that captain Felipe Reyes is also slowly seeing his role become marginalised, to the point that he will inevitably be squeezed out at some point in the next two years, just like Raul was. For all the ex- or future-NBA talent on the team, Mirotic is the one most likely to get there, stay there, and thrive there. And absolutely no one saw any of it coming. Mirotic could well be all three of the best young player, most improved player and most surprising player in the Euroleague this season. And rather than just buying them in, Real Madrid actually developed this one from within.
May 28, 2010
- Novica Velickovic
Novica Velickovic did what all good Partian youngsters do eventually; he left. Partizan are forever churning out quality youth, but they haven't the budget to keep them long term, and so Velickovic, Milenko Tepic and Uros Tripkovic all left last summer. (It didn't hold back Partizan, who found enough good quality pickups to make the Euroleague Final Four this season.)
Velickovic moved to Real Madrid, and had a decent year. He averaged 7.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in the Euroleague, shooting 42% from three point range, and is averaging 9.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in the ACB. Real Madrid beat Cajasol Sevilla 2-1 in the first round of the ACB playoffs, and now face Caja Laboral in the semi-finals.