The Slovenian wonder kid who was going to, then not going to, then eventually decided to play for the Slovenian National team failed to contribute in the first game of the Eurobasket 2009 tournament. Goran put up a highly unimpressive 0 pts, 1 ast, 2 reb, 2 TO in 14 minutes of play against Slovenia's easiest opponent in group play.
The Slovenian's defeated a Great British team lead by Pops Mensah-Bonsu (18pts and the best name in the NBA today) 72-59.
With Beno Udrih and Sasha Vujacic sitting this one out due to knee injuries (which are believed to be unrelated but that has not been confirmed) we assumed that Dragic would start and get significant minutes. Instead some other guy I've never heard of got the nod at point, Jaka Lakovic.
Jaka, or Jele to his friends, apparently isn't chopped liver or whatever the Slovenian equivalent is. Here's his write up:
Jaka Lakovic is a general on the court, the kind of player who leads his team to success. For the past seven seasons, Jale has been the leader of two of the greatest teams in EuroLeague in Panathinaikos and Barcelona, but he hasn't won the competition yet. This season he finished in third place with the Spanish team, scoring 14 points against Olympiakos in the third place game. Back in 2001, he shocked all observers, pouring in 38 points for Krka Novo Mesto against Real Madrid in Spain in just his second game in the EuroLeague. Since then, he has shown his above average offensive skills for club and national team. Along with his good court-vision and great passing ability, Lakovic is famous for his very smooth hands behind the three-point line. He's never better than in money time. No doubt, Jaka is one of the best clutch players in the EuroBasket. Lakovic was the main reason Slovenia clinched seventh place at EuroBasket 2007 against France.
The Slovenian now have to face the Serbian and Spanish teams which should be a real test...for those who care about the actual outcome beyond the performance of our NBA players. Although it might be fun to see Goran match-up with Ricky Rubio if such a match-up is even conceivable.
I didn't watch this game nor do I have any idea how the Slovenian team plays. They seem to have lots of classic Euro bigs that like to shoot the ball. Perhaps their style of play isn't suited for Goran's uptempo ways. Or perhaps they just don't like young players or perhaps Goran just played like warmed over dog poo. If you watched this game and have any more insight (notice how low I've set the bar) then please chime. English or Slovenian are accepted.
Goran's unimpressive opening game performance comes on the heals of Leandro Barbosa running through the FIBA America's tournament like a hot skewer through a pound of Churrasco. Here's Mr. Coro's write up of that:
Congrats to LB. He certainly ran the doors off the "competition". It is nice to see but really, anything less would have been a complete disappointment considering the best opponent he faced was Carlos Arroyo.
In other completely unrelated news is this bit of great Tim Thomas trivia...
Tim Thomas Trivia Time - Clips Nation
Who knew Tim Thomas could be so much fun? Seriously. Who knew?