We, first of all, want to start out by stating that since the departure of Erik Braal, Donar Groningen has been making tremendous strides at re-vamping both their lineup in terms of player transactions as well as hiring a new coach (Ivan Rudez – from PS Karlsruhe Lions / German Pro A team where he ended up only winning 7 games; to be honest a fresh start for Coach Ivan was the best option and while our owner Mr. Duran has seen Coach Ivan as a seriously good tactician as an assistant coach to Jasmin Represa while working at Cibona, last season was just not good for the German club).
Rudez a big that is mobile:
Damjan Rudez in all fairness is a 2 meter 8 cm big that can play the versatile forward as well as guard wings and also big men based on his height. The fact that he opposes and outside threat with a good looking corner three-point shot made him open up eyes in the NBA where he spent a decent amount of time (2014 – 2017). The business aspect of the NBA is brutal and Rudez while suffering due to a lack of playtime and criticism.
After the return to Europe:
As the Croatian big man returned to Europe the fact that his versatile skills made him desirable he signed a short deal with AS Monaco followed by Valencia he later on finished off the 2017 – 2018 season at AS Monaco playing BCL games.
Last season Rudez spent the whole season playing at UCAM Murcia where he had an average playtime of 14.4 minutes a game (playing both ACB as well as BCL games) he competed in 44 games last season of which he started a total of only 5 games. An interesting point is that his playtime during BCL games (total of 13 games was higher – 18 minutes a game) while during ACB games (total of 31 games he only averaged 12.9 minutes)
Issues with performance:
As a versatile big, Rudez has a potential face-up value that he can utilize, however, quickness is not his strong suit. Currently, at the age of 34 the 2,08 big man he has struggled to keep his legs fresh. During his NBA days, we found out from friends around the league that he has sustained the odd calf pulls as well as other minor strains (predominantly from cross country travel NBA players face – long term issues do tend to come out more as rest is never really established).
Given the above issues that sound minor, we did dig into Rudez’s performance from last season:
Scoring ability as a big man when he is healthy and can run the court:
Career performance by stats, play type breakdown & shot-charting:
both graphics above are based on 431 career games played across European games, National team, as well as NBA games, combined.
Its our firm belief that Damjan Rudez can bring some level of firepower as well a defensive presence to Donar Groningen however in all fairness, the fact that with Donar Groningen most probably overpaid a former ACB and NBA rotation player to compete in the DBL as well as in the FIBA Europe Cup or qualifiers of the BCL, the public will wait to see what Damjan Rudez will bring to Donar Groningen.
In our analysis, we also do see that as a big the ball deterrence, as well as the fact that he can steal and create possessions for others, is a major plus point. Like many teams that are in serious contention of a chance to play consecutive games the agility and quickness factor is a question mark to us. One element or aspect that eliminates questions is the fact that the head coach being the brother of Damjan will make communication as well as the struggle over time a lot easier.