Golden State’s newest rookie, Serbian guard Nemanja Nedovic, laughs off the European Derrick Rose nickname.
Sure, he is sizeable (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) and athletic point guard, who (as YouTube will attest) has a knack for dunking on people. And he wears knee pads like Rose. But he opted to temper the expectations.
“Maybe I’m the European Derrick Rose,” he said on Monday’s conference call from Belgrade. “But I’m not the real one.”
Golden State, which pulled off three trades to select Nedovic 30th overall in Thursday’s draft, wants some of those same attributes.
Plush with shooters on the wing, the Warriors need someone who can easily get into the lane off the dribble. They need a change-of-pace guard who can break down defenses on his own.
Nedovic is still not sure if he will play for Golden State next season. His participation in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is still hinging on a conversation with the Serbian national team.
But the 22-year-old is certain about one thing.
“I’m ready,” he said. “I’m really happy the Warriors picked me in the draft. I think I would fit very, very good on the team.”
Nedovic still needs to be bought out from Lietuvos Rytas, his Euroleague team. But that will largely depend on how he looks during summer league and training camp. A 2013 All-Star of the Lithuanian Basketball League, Nedovic is facing his largest challenge since he began playing basketball at 11 years old.
It won’t be relocating halfway around the world. Nedovic moved a lot as a youngster as his family followed his father’s professional handball career: two years in France, five years in Austria, a year in Germany, four years in Italy.
He said he’s never been to the Bay Area — his first trip to the States was for pre-draft workouts and he stayed on the East — but he gets the impression it’s perfect for him.
Not just because of the weather, but also because of the Warriors style of play. He said he remembers when Stephen Curry scored 54 points in New York.
“Everybody in Serbia was watching Steph Curry killing the Knicks in Madison Square Garden,” he said.
The Warriors’ shooters figure to open the floor for him, allowing him to do what he does best and attack the lane. Golden State general manager Bob Myers said he likes how he works the pick-and-roll.
It’s fitting he will wear No. 8, formerly worn by Monta Ellis, because the Warriors could use some flair.
Nedovic said he’s working on his entire game to get ready, but especially on his midrange game and his defense. He claims he can defend quicker guards but acknowledges the NBA has superior athletes.
“I want to earn everything,” he said. “I want to earn my minutes. I want to earn my spot on the roster.”