By John Rammas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Born (and raised) in a Serbian community in Woodridge, Illinois in 1993, having Serbian (and Polish) it seems that after all, it was destiny for him.
He had to pass through many places, including being drafted in the lottery until the road brought Frank Kaminsky to the land of his ancestors.
It’s been 413 NBA games with one Finals appearance. Plus two surgeries for as many right knee injuries, one in late 2019 and one in late 2022.
Otherwise, who knows where he would be now? Probably not on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. He had 9.4 points and 4.1 rebounds among others in 21 minutes of action until misfortune visited him a second time and 2.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in 7′ since then.
Change was a one-way street now.
“I’m adapting just fine,” he told Eurohoops on the sidelines of the 5th “Pavlos Giannakopoulos” tournament at OAKA.
“It’s easy for me, the team makes it easy for me. There are players who have been here for several years and help me with any questions I have. The game is a little different than the NBA, but I’m learning that too as time goes on. It’s good that the preparation lasts so long, there are many games and you can understand things early on.”
How exactly is this “a little different from the NBA”? Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic, among others, have emphasized this many times.
“They are right. The game is more physical, while there are also differences in some regulations. For example, there is no three-second regulation in the paint on defense and it is more difficult to score. So I also try to go to more team plays and think more in this way. But basketball is basketball everywhere”.
“Everywhere” for the American center is now Europe and the capital of Serbia.
As he explained: “I had two right knee injuries in three years and needed surgery each time. I was playing very well before I got injured a second time, and I had also played in the Finals of the NBA playoffs the year before when I was still with the Suns (the Bucks won the series 4-2 in 2021). I try not to look back. I am here to play basketball, to enjoy basketball, and to star at the highest level in Europe. After all, the Euroleague, but also the ABA Liga, are two strong leagues. It will be nice to be able to play and stay away from injuries.”
Partizan added him to the long list of lottery picks in the NBA Draft and generally players with decent to very long NBA careers who found themselves going the opposite route than several Europeans who excelled in the top industry of the sport in people.
“If you’re a good player, it doesn’t matter where you started, where you were born. The NBA is a very demanding league and Europeans are starting to come and play very well and Americans like me are starting to come here. We know how good the level is here, how good the whole experience is,” he explained.
On a personal level, he added: “Speaking for me, I have the opportunity to play again, which I haven’t had often in the NBA lately, and it played a big part in my decision. I really want to play again and make an impact in a team that will star. I want to claim titles and win them”.
Did he watch the EuroLeague at all before he became a player in it?
“I saw a little. While I was in the NBA, I tried to watch as much NBA as I could. But I had teammates who have played in Europe tell me about the high level of basketball. Bogdan Bogdanovic, whom we were teammates with last year at the Hawks, didn’t miss a game. I won’t say the same about me, but I could see a little”.
It is because he was now invited by Zeljko Obradović’s Partizan. Now, he will not only see and even more, he will experience the Euroleague from the inside.
“I was a free agent for the last five summers and there was always interest in coming to Europe. But when I told Bogdan about Partizan he said ‘Go!’ He told me the best about the team, the coach, about everyone. He made me feel comfortable so I accepted the offer.”
Much more comfortable than a question on the hot topic of the day: Are the NBA Champions World Champions or not?
“I don’t want to participate in the whole discussion (laughter). I leave everyone to draw their own conclusions.”