With basketball restarting over in Europe, Dragan Bender is taking to the courts with his old team Maccabi Tel-Aviv where he played as an 18 year old before being taken by the Phoenix Suns with the 4th overall pick in the 2016 Draft.
Bender had all the measurables but none of the developed skills needed to succeed in the NBA, but at 18 years old he didn’t have the skills to succeed in Euroleague either. Bender did not play much that year before the NBA Draft, but hopes to have a much bigger role this time.
Now he returns to the exact team where it started, hoping for a better outcome all around.
Breaking: Dragan Bender has signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Bender will replce Quincy Acy who left the team.— Nemanja Žorič (@zoric_nemanja) September 23, 2020
The Croatian is back to Tel Aviv after 4 years in US, Source confirmed. https://t.co/S98SAKHC32
Bender is not expecting to miss any NBA time though, assuming an NBA team wants him when the league restarts in 2021.
Maccabi Tel Aviv, when becomes official will be for 3 months (and an option for the rest), giving Bender the option to go back to the NBA and leaving the door open for Quincy Acy’s possible return to the perennial champs— Moses (@MosesB1) September 23, 2020
Bender spent the past year on non-guaranteed contracts with Milwaukee and Golden State, so he probably wants to up his NBA value with a good showing in Europe.
The Suns took Bender ahead of five players who are now either All-Stars, $20-mill-per-year extendees or both: Buddy Hield (6th), Jamal Murray (7th), Domantas Sabonis (11th), Pascal Siakam (27th) and Malcolm Brogdon (36th). Another half-dozen draftees got long-term extensions too.
Bender hopes to return to the NBA in 2021, fresh off a good showing in Israel.