Golden State Warriors

Nemanja Nedovic struggles in latest D-League assignment

After sitting for two-months with a hamstring injury, the European Derrick Rose returned to the court while on assignment with Santa Cruz.

Nedovic, 22, suffered the injury on Jan. 3 while playing for Santa Cruz and hasn’t seen any court action since.  While he shined in his early assignments with the Sea Dubs, Nedovic looks like a completely different player, stalling with the ball and not showing any aggressive cuts to the basket that allowed him to score 31 and 29 points in his first two appearances with Santa Cruz.

Nedovic played in two games this past week, averaging seven points in 20 minutes a contest.  Santa Cruz did not play Nedovic in back-to-back games as a precautionary measure to prevent any potential flare-ups of the injury.

Nemanja played in his first game in over two months this past Tuesday against the Reno Bighorns.  Nedo shot 2-for-8 from the field and amassed six turnovers, most coming late in the game when Santa Cruz tried to close out the victory.

Nemanja Nedovic Shotchart 3-8-14

Nemanja Nedovic shotchart for 3-8-14 against the Bakersfield Jam.

Nedo shot a dismal 2-for-7 (28 percent) from the field including 1-for-5 from three-point range Friday night against former Golden State Warrior Ike Diogu and the Bakersfield Jam.

He also had most success with his offensive explosiveness getting to the basket, where he has scored most of his points this season.

While he is clearly struggling upon his return, it is important to note that he’s at least able to get quality minutes on the floor because of the developmental league.  It’s clear that he’s not one-hundred percent just yet, either physical or mental.  It’s certainly not easy to return to the floor after a two-month absence.

Golden State recalled Nedovic earlier today, while the team out of Oakland kept the Bosnian Beast, Ognjen Kuzmic in Santa Cruz.

Kuzmic has seen much improvement over the course of his tenure down in Santa Cruz.  He’s appeared in 18 games while on assignment, averaging 6.7 points and 11.8 rebounds.  His best game of the season came on Feb. 23 against the Austin Toros, where he had a career stat-line of 15 points and 24 rebounds, setting a new franchise record in the process.  Kuzmic has recorded 20 or more rebounds in three games with Santa Cruz.

When Kuzmic first arrived in Santa Cruz, his footwork and his upper-body strength were questionable at best.  With the help of Santa Cruz Warriors’ coach Casey Hill and his coaching staff, Kuzmic has made impeccable strides in his interior defense as well as finding his way to theOgnjen Kuzmic ball on rebounds as well.

“He’s going to help an NBA team someday,” said Hill.  Whether that ends up being Golden State remains to be seen, but the D-League is showing its true value here in the Golden State system, showing how important it is for players like Kuzmic to play minutes instead of simply sitting at the end of the bench for the rare two-minute appearance at the end of games that are out of reach.

The D-League has allowed the Warriors to call-up Hilton Armstrong on two separate occasions when injuries plagued the roster.  It makes sense to bring in someone familiar with your system as opposed to someone unfamiliar with what the team’s trying to accomplish on both sides of the ball.

Will Kuzmic have a chance to shine for Golden State this season?  Not likely with the resurrection of Jermaine O’Neal’s career taking full effect with Golden State.  The Warriors will need the extra bodies come playoff time and he could make an impact then.  But to see how far he’s come in such a short period of time speaks volumes to his ability, and the Santa Cruz coaches for giving Kuzmic the tools necessary to develop.

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