Bagaric already had his chances in the NBA, being selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 24th pick in 2000 NBA draft. But as has happened far too often with unproven and raw European big-men, Bagaric struggled and could never establish himself as regular part of the rotation for the then hapless Bulls.
As his rookie contract expired, Bagaric had offer for the minimum from the Toronto Raptors, but chose to return to Europe instead and improve his game. After spending one season in Greece at Olympiacos, Bagaric moved to Italy to play under guidance of his countryman Jasmin Repesa.
Bagaric has been the starting Center of Climamio Bologna for the past two seasons, but his numbers dont jump at you, since his coach Repesa distributes minutes equally amongst 9 or 10 players every game. Its a situation that is somewhat similar to what Hubie Brown did with the Memphis Grizzlies a couple of years back.
Dalibor played in 19 Euroleague games this past season averaging 9.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 18.6 minutes per game on 60% shooting from field and 67% from the charity stripe.
Bagaric is an interesting prospect mainly because of his physical attributes. Standing 7-2 with a strong body and long arms, he has more then enough tools for the Center position in the NBA. Considering his size, his level of athleticism is average, showing decent mobility, but not being explosive in any way.
His length and wide body are great assets on defense, as he is able to alter shots by just putting his arms in the air and being a very tough opponent on man to man defense. Unlike when he was with the Bulls, Bagaric is now more of a hustle player that is willing to sacrifice his body and will not hesitate to dish out hard fouls if the situation calls for it. He is a very good rebounder, since besides the obvious, he also positions himself well under the rim and boxes out his opponent on a regular basis. As already said, he is a tough man-to-man defender, and while he doesnt have great footspeed at all, Bagaric has very good balance and knows where to put his body to make opponents work hard for the basket.
On the offensive side of the ball, Dalibor is mostly a finisher. He has a decent jumper with range out to the 18ft, but doesnt have any reliable go-to-moves to establish himself as a focal part of the offense on a Euroleague team like Climamio. In the low post, Bagaric again mostly relies on his body, as he is bigger then most of his opponents and just tries to back them down - with mixed results. He has a good looking hook shot, but doesnt use it as often as he should. He is very reactive around the basket when he gets the ball from teammates and goes straight up in the air for a powerful dunk. Bagaric is an above average passer for a Center, which is especially evident when he plays with his back to the basket, often finding the open man on the perimeter and making deft passes to his frontcourt partner under the rim.
Dalibor is a hustler, the type of player that will always give 100% no matter what. He has become a fan-favorite in Bologna, because of his attitude and willingness to dive for loose balls, while also showing emotion on the court.
Considering his physical attributes, he should be one of the best Centers in Europe, but that hasnt happened so far. Bagaric is a very inconsistent player who looks great during some stretches of the game, but then will look almost completely useless for many others. Along with his inexperience at a high level of play, one of the biggest reasons why Bagaric didnt succeed on his first NBA try is his footwork in the paint, which was really lackluster back then. Now it is improved some, but is still not NBA caliber. Dalibor has issues switching on defensively rotations, not to mention his perimeter defense which is almost non-existent. As already said, he is not an explosive athlete, doesnt have great leaping ability and isnt really the shot-blocker that you would expect from someone over 7-feet tall.
Dalibor can be very foul-prone, because he tends to be overly aggressive on occasion and uses his hands too much when he cant follow the opponent with his feet. Besides the fact that he warmed the Bulls bench for 3 years, the reason for his slow progression is his basketball IQ, which isnt very high to say the least. He does not the posses skill-set you would expect from your typical European big man. His shot is very solid when speaking about accuracy, but it takes him quite some time to release it, as his mechanics are not very pretty. He doesnt have the greatest hands in the world, not showing a soft touch around the rim or ability to catch tough passes. In the low post his array of skills isnt very large; he can perform some simple moves, but his footwork limits his effectiveness.
While he is very good natured off the court, Bagaric shows bad temper on it, often arguing with referees and losing his focus because of their calls very easily. He really hurt his teams in some games, due to his uncontrolled behavior.
Why sign him?
Bagaric is not starting material, but could very well provide enough things to fill a backup role for an NBA team at a fairly cheap price. His slow feet can be compensated with his enormous size, which along with good rebounding skills and ability to knock down open looks from 15-18 feet made him desirable for some NBA franchises last summer already.
Bagaric reportedly had offers from the Los Angeles Lakers and Seattle Supersonics last year, but decided to turn them down to remain in Italy. Now that his contract with Climamio Bologna has expired, Bagaric appears to be willing to again try to make it in the NBA. Part of the reason that he changed his opinion about leaving for the States again must be playing time, since Bagaric most certainly expected that he would play more then 19 minutes per game this season. His value on the European market isnt as big as the case of new Toronto signee Jorge Garbajosa for example, so even a minimum offer could be attractive enough for him. Keep in mind that since he has three years of NBA experience under his belt, the minimum salary for him is $798,000, which is at least somewhat competitive for what he can make in Europe. There is always the upside of playing well and cashing in on a nice 2nd contract, which would be considerable if you look at what serviceable 7-footers in the NBA usually make. His agent David Bauman told DraftExpress that Bagaric is fielding offers from NBA teams at the moment and is very much interested in returning to the States. According to him, money will not be a major factor in his decision.