,who apparently saves the best part of his game for the most important part of the season. Actually, it had been a bit of a disappointing year for him, playing a very secondary role behind Partizans starting inside duo of Predrag Drobnjak
and Kosta Perovic
. Nobody expected great strides in his game, since its obvious for some time now that hes a pretty mature guy, but at least to establish himself as an important frontcourt player in the Adriatic League.
Anyway, once the semifinals of the Balkan competition arrived, Pekovic significantly improved his production. With Partizan overcoming Cibonas home-court advantage, he scored in double digits in all three games of the series, blossoming in the definitive third played on the road in Zagreb, where he had 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals while replacing the injured Kosta Perovic
in the starting five.
This is more in tune with what we expected out of him. Pekovic is an able player when it comes to taking advantage of his teammates creativity, and Partizan not only has showed this season to be capable of eventually playing fine team basketball, but features a bunch of players (Cummings, Tepic, or Drobnjak come to mind) that should be able to help Pekovic produce on a regular basis.2044
After all, Pekovic is a dependent scorer. He needs to receive the ball in good position within 10-12 feet from the basket in order to become a dangerous player. Once there, hes pretty effective, using his strong 6-10 frame and nice explosiveness very well. He will go up for the two-handed dunk if hes given space, or he can use a nice jump-hook with either hand over his defender. Dont ask him for anything more than a simple and direct move to release the ball in the low post against opposition. Stuff like banging while dribbling, fakes or any elaborate moves might result in a turnover. He can also shoot the ball from the mid-range area with decent accuracy, but its not a very usual option for him. Its particularly a rare luxury to see a good pass coming out of his hands, as hes a pure finisher and doesnt particularly stand out in terms of basketball IQ.
On defense, hes a very physical player in the low post, always looking for contact with the opponent using his very strong body. However, he might lack a bit of lateral quickness and anticipating instinct to contest his match-ups moves. When it comes to cleaning the boards, he doesnt seem to have a particular nose for the ball, and his hands are not the best around. Certainly his 2.6 average in rebounds in the Adriatic League is disappointing any way you look at it.
The good part about Pekovic NBA-wise is that his superb strength would definitely help him translate some of his game to the next level. However, he would still be a relatively undersized center at 6-10, with limited skills and poor rebounding ability. A second-round call, perhaps in the bottom half, seems the most realistic scenario for him right now.