Jonathan GivonyNihad Djedovic
has been on the radar for what feels like forever now. We first wrote
about him in 2006 when he was 16-years old making his professional debut in Bosnia, and continued to follow him when he was signed by Spanish powerhouse Barcelona and invited to the Nike Hoop Summit in 2007.
His progression continued with solid showings at the adidas EuroCamp in 2008 and 2010, but he has yet to have his true breakout season since then, partially due to the situation with the team that owns his rights. Barcelona has repeatedly loaned him out to different teams year after year--back to his home club in Bosnia, to their affiliates Cornella in the Spanish third division, to fellow ACB team Obradoiro, to Italian and former Euroleague squad Virtus Roma, and most recently to Turkey, where he's finishing off the season in Istanbul with Galatasaray, who are currently in first place in one of the strongest leagues in Europe.
Barcelona still owns his rights and he is under contract with them for two more years, but they appear to be more interested in his younger brother Nedim Djedovic at this point, born in 1997 who they signed and is considered one of the most promising young prospects in Europe.
Djedovic has been enjoying consistent playing time for the past three seasons now in some of the top leagues in Europethe ACB, the Italian league, the Euroleague, and now Turkey. Everywhere he's gone he's proven capable of putting the ball in the basket fairly efficiently, including this past summer at the European Championship in Turkey (Eurobasket), where he saw heavy playing time representing his home country of Bosnia.
Djedovic has excellent size for a wing player a 6-7, to go along with a strong frame and impressive athleticism for a European prospect. He can create his own shot prolifically thanks to his quick first step and strong ball-handling skills, showing good footwork, long strides, and the ability to change speeds and directions fluidly.
Very effective in the open floor, Djedovic has consistently shown the ability to get into the paint at every level he's played at, both in transition and in the half-court. His 2-point percentages have been impressive everywhere he's been55% this season in both Italy and Turkey, 64% in Italy last year and 73% at the Eurobasket last summer (in just five games)indicating that he's also a very solid finisher around the rim. He uses shot-fakes effectively on the perimeter and is able to take his man off the dribble in pick and roll and isolation situations, at times being asked to be his team's primary ball-handler and facilitator in the half-court.
The biggest thing holding Djedovic back at the moment is his propensity for turning the ball over. He coughs the ball up four times per-40 minutes this season, on nearly a quarter of his possessions, amongst the highest rates in the Italian league this season. He simply tries to do too much at times with the ball, over-dribbling wildly, trying to make very difficult passes, and running into brick walls. He's a little bit inconsistent in his approach in general, as his performance tends to fluctuate greatly from game to game, ranging from simply outstanding to very poor depending on which night you catch him on.
Additionally, Djedovic is just an average perimeter shooter at this point, converting around 35% of his 3-pointers this season on under one make per game, both career highs, up from 25% last season. Djedovic's instincts as a shot-maker actually aren't bad, poor shot-selection seems to be the main culprit here, as well as inconsistent shooting mechanics. He elevates extremely well off the floor creating separation from his defender, but he jumps a different height every time, and with a different release point.
Defensively, Djedovic is very solid, using his size and athleticism effectively to guard opposing wing players, which is perhaps not a surprise considering the level of competition he's played at the past three seasons. While he sports just an average wingspan (measured 6-7 in Treviso), he moves his feet well, puts a solid effort in, and has the lateral quickness to defend either wing position, which gives him the versatility to play at virtually any level of competition.
Although he's still working on becoming a consistently efficient player, Djedovic may be a little underrated at this point, as it's difficult to find many other players with his size, athleticism, shot-creating ability and experience available in the second round. His contract situation does not appear to be too much of a hindrance either, as there's apparently a good chance he will become a free agent this summer.
After playing on a very disappointing Virtus Roma team for a year and a half, an organization that appears to be in disarray at the moment, Djedovic moved mid-way through the season to Galatasaray, who are competing for a championship. He's getting plenty of minutes, and has had some solid performances, albeit inconsistently thus far.
With a deep playoff run in the very competitive Turkish league, Djedovic's talents will be on fully display for the next month and change, which could help improve his draft stock significantly. He is automatically eligible as a 1990-born prospect, and looks like a solid candidate for the second round for a team looking to draft and stash a promising international player.