|Team: NON-NBA College Team: Wuerzburg|
H: 6' 11"|
W: 245 lbs
(34 Years Old)
|Agent: Marc Fleisher ||
Hometown: Split, Croatia
Kresimir Loncar is a fairly skilled and fundamentally sound big man, in the mold of what you can expect out of a typical European big man. He has size, a decent frame and he's rather mobile and coordinated.
Offensively, he's pretty versatile, being a threat both inside the paint or while facing the basket from further distances. He can play in the low post, showing nice movements there with decent footwork and footspeed, while having the resources needed to finish around the basket, like a useful half hook shot that he can perform. Facing the basket, his best weapon is his jumper, enjoying good mechanics and range out to the international three-point line (of course, it's basically a static shot). He has the handles to put the ball on the floor and try to beat his matchup, usually after a pump fake or by taking advantage of his defender's unbalanced position.
Loncar is rather solid on defense. He has decent lateral defensive movement for a center, while he usually manages to contain his matchups in the low post. He delivers good enough intensity. He's also pretty active looking for the rebound, especially on the offensive glass.
Kresimir can pass the ball too, particularly from the high post. In general, he shows a good basketball IQ.
Loncar doesn't look like one of your super intriguing big men prospects, as his potential looks pretty limited right now. He's not particularly athletic for the NBA level, showing average quickness and leaping ability, and looking more like a center in this department. But being under 7 feet tall, he doesn't enjoy the best size for this position (although it's not bad either), nor is he strong enough right now. For example, he still suffers to maintain good positioning to receive the ball in the low post, and his low post defense isn't strong enough for the next level. He will be able to put weight on, though, as his frame is good enough, so I don't expect this to be a serious problem in the future.
On the other hand, neither he is a serious offensive threat, being inconsistent in his scoring effort and abilities. His post-up game still needs refining, as too many times he can't manage to beat his rival with his moves. He could also use more consistency on his jumper, especially as he gets closer to the three-point line. His free-throw percentages are a little bit low considering the mechanics he shows. He rarely tries slashing plays, in part because of his average quickness. All in all, he still hasn't developed a reliable source to get good offensive production on a regular basis.
On defense he's not particularly intimidating despite his 6-11 size, basically because of he lacks the strength, shows average leaping ability and he doesn't look to block too many shots. Also, his lateral defensive movement is not good enough when he's not facing centers or athletically average PF's, suffering against the more mobile forwards.
At the end of the day, you can't say that Kresimir stands out in any particular department of the game, which makes him go rather unnoticed too often.
Loncar is another product of Split's amazing talent pool, from where guys like Kukoc, Radja or more recently Ukic came. If his name sounds familiar to you, that's because he's been on the radar for quite a long time. Back in Croatia he was considered a huge prospect early on, and at the age of 14 he had already played in the European Championships for Cadets of 1997, being two years younger than most of the kids playing there and enjoying some serious minutes of action (23 per game, to finish averaging 5.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals). One year later he was playing in the European Junior Championships, being three years younger than most of his teammates and rivals. He came back to the Cadets category in 1999 to become the best rebounder (15.3, over 6 rebounds more than the second, plus 14.4 points) of that year's European Championships.
But that same summer he left Croatia at the age of 16 and moved to Treviso in Italy to play for Benetton, one of the most active seekers of young talent in Europe. Meanwhile, he kept competing with the Croatian youth National Teams, playing in the 2000 European Junior Championships to finish with averages of 11 points and 5.9 rebounds while helping his team to get the silver medal.
For the 2000/01 and 2001/02 seasons he was loaned to DJK S. Oliver Wurzburg of the German Bundesliga. He played only about 15 minutes per game in the first season, with averages of 4.4 points and 3.8 rebounds, but improved in the second year to 10.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. It was the turn for the Under-20 National Team, playing in the summer of 2001 in the World Championships (again, he was three years younger than most of the players). His 10.9 points and 6.1 rebounds helped Croatia finish second in the competition. A year later he took part in the European Championships of that category, where he averaged 16.4 points and 9.9 rebounds. Before that, in November of 2001, he had already made his debut in an official game with the senior Croatian National Team.
From there it was back to Italy for Loncar, where he finally saw some action with Benetton Treviso in the 2002/03 season, having 3.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in less than 10 minutes per game in the Italian League and 3.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in the Euroleague (he had a 21 point 10 rebound performance against Virtus Bologna, but it was a meaningless game). Looking for more playing time, he moved to another Italian team, Teramo Basket. Playing there the entire 2003/04 season he averaged 9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 19 minutes of action.
It seems like Loncar can't settle down anywhere, and this season he's playing in Ukraine for BC Kiev. While the domestic competition is pretty weak, his team is taking part in the FIBA Europe League, that features top teams from very weak Euro countries, and second-tier teams from secondary domestic leagues (there are no Spanish or Italian teams). At least it's a better competition than the Ukrainian League, and he's having a decent season with 12.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
Automatically eligible for the 2005 draft. His chances of hitting the second round are quite good considering he's a big man with numerous skills, but he could just as well slip all the way to nowhere given his unglamorous profile and the depth of this draft. Anyway, he could be an interesting investment in the mid-to-low second round to leave in Europe to develop.
He declared for the draft once already, in 2003, but did not receive serious enough consideration to stay in.
Kresimir still looks far from being an NBA player. Being so promising when he was younger in Croatia, he hasn't lived up to the expectations created then. But if he works hard, particularly in his post up game, mid-range shot and getting bigger in the gym, we shouldn't rule out the possibility of seeing him turning into a serviceable big man for some franchise's rotation, probably in the mold of a center given his athletic gifts.