Thursday, 1 July 2021

Šibenik's Dario Šarić Becomes 5th Croatian Basketballer in the NBA Finals!

July 1, 2021 - Šibenik's Dario Šarić is the 5th Croatian basketball player to reach the NBA finals! 

Dario Šarić became only the fifth Croatian basketball player in the NBA league finals. Dražen Petrović, Toni Kukoč, Žan Tabak and Ante Žižić succeeded before him, reports Š

Šarić reached the finals with the Phoenix Suns, who topped the Los Angeles Clippers 4-2 in the NBA Western Conference Finals.


It will be the third final for the Suns, who have lost the previous two they participated in. They last played in the finals in 1993, when they were led by Charles Barkley, but lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games.

Before that, they lost to the Boston Celtics in 1976, also in six games.

The first Croatian basketball player to reach the NBA Finals was Dražen Petrović in 1990 with the Portland Trail Blazers. However, Petrović did not play next to Terry Porter and Clyde Drexler, and Portland lost to the Detroit Pistons 1-4 in the finals.

After Dražen, Jean Tabak reached the final in the Houston jersey in 1995 and won. However, Tabak didn’t have many minutes, as he was a replacement for Hakeem Olajuwon. Houston beat Orlando 4-0 in the final.

Interestingly, Tabak is the second European basketball player ever to win an NBA ring. Only a season before him, Slovak Richard Petruška won the title, also in the Houston jersey. Tabak also made it to the finals with the Indiana Pacers in 2000 when the LA Lakers defeated them.

Toni Kukoč played an important role with the Chicago Bulls, winning three consecutive championship titles (1996-1998). In the first final, the Bulls defeated Seattle and the Utah Jazz in the next two seasons. 

Ante Žižić also played in the NBA league finals with Cleveland in 2018, but the Golden State Warriors won 4-0.

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Monday, 23 November 2020

Dario Saric Signs A Three-Year Contract Worth $27 Million with Phoenix Suns

November 23, 2020 - The latest news about Croats in the NBA, as Dario Saric signs a three-year contract worth $27 million with Phoenix. 

Croatia national basketball team member Dario Saric has agreed on a new three-year contract with the Phoenix Suns, announced Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Sibenik native will earn $27 million in three years with the Suns.

Saric's rookie contract, which he signed with Philadelphia in 2016, expired this year. From there, he went to Minnesota, and in July 2019, he ended up in Phoenix. He finished last season averaging 10.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game.

Saric had ups and downs with Phoenix, and his worst was in January and February this year when his minutes were reduced to below 20 per game, and thus his performance worsened (7.1 points and 4 rebounds per game). But later in the season, Saric showed his worth, averaging 18.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in March. Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a break in the NBA, which lasted until the end of July.

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Recall, the end of the season and the playoffs were held in a 'bubble' in Orlando. Phoenix won all eight games in Orlando and missed the playoffs by a hair. In those eight games, Saric had an average of 14.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

The Croatian basketball player will receive $8.3 million for the first year of the contract, $9.7 million for the second, and $9.7 million for the third.

Saric started 51 of 66 games for Phoenix with averages of 10.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 35.7% three-pointers in 24.7 minutes of play. The Suns were happy with Saric and planned to bring him back. They activated his qualifying offer and turned him into a limited free agent. This meant that Dario could negotiate with other clubs, but the Suns could equalize that offer and thus keep him on the squad.

Source: HRT

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Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Croats in NBA: Bogdanovic Top Scorer for Jazz, Zubac Records Double-Double

November 19, 2019 - Croatian basketball player Bojan Bogdanovic was the best for the Utah Jazz in their defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night, while Ivica Zubac registered a double-double in the victory of his LA Clippers. Dario Saric's Phoenix Suns lost to the Boston Celtics.

The Utah Jazz lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves at 102:112 at home, with Bojan Bogdanovic playing 31 minutes and scoring 18 points (shots in play 7/17, three-pointer 3/7) to be the team's top scorer. He added six rebounds and two assists. Donovan Mitchell finished the game with 17 points and Rudy Gobert with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 29 points, including seven three-pointers and 13 rebounds, while Jeff Teague added 21 points and 11 assists.

The LA Clippers celebrated against the Oklahoma City Thunder 90:88 at home, with Paul George scoring for the win 25.9 seconds before the final buzzer. 

Montrezl Harrell scored 28 points with 12 rebounds in the Clippers’ win, George added 18, and Zubac contributed 12 points (shots in play 4/8, three-pointers 0/1) and ten rebounds with one assist in 20 minutes on the court. This is his third double-double this season. Chris Paul was the best for Oklahoma with 22 points.

The Boston Celtics are back on a winning streak, defeating Dario Saric's Phoenix Suns 99:85 last night. The Croatian basketball player just missed a double-double, scoring nine points in 29 minutes on the court (shots in play 3/13, three-pointers 2/6) and recorded ten rebounds with three assists and two steals.

Jayson Tatum led Boston to victory with 26 points and 11 rebounds, Kemba Walker scored 19 points, while Devin Booker was the best for Phoenix scoring 20 points.

The Portland Trail Blazers lost to the Houston Rockets 132:108. James Harden and Russell Westbrook tallied 64 points. And while Harden scored 23 of his 36 total points in the first half, Westbrook nailed 15 of 28. In the second half, Westbrook registered 13 rebounds and ten assists, and Houston increased their winning streak to eight games.

CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 25 points and Mario Hezonja scored one basket in nine minutes on the court and recorded five rebounds.

The New York Knicks defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers at 123:105. Julius Randle scored 30 points for the New York win, while Kevin Porter Jr. was the best for the Cavaliers with 18 points, who also just recorded their fourth consecutive loss. Ante Zizic contributed to his team victory with five points (shots in play 2/4) and six rebounds in 20 minutes on the court. 

In the Dallas Mavericks' 117:110 home win over the San Antonio Spurs last night, Luka Doncic reached his sixth triple-double of the season, scoring 42 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists.

Finney-Smith added 22 points for Dallas and Kristaps Porzingis 18 with ten rebounds. San Antonio's best was DeMar DeRozan, who finished with 36 points. Luka Samanic did not enter the game for San Antonio.

The Milwaukee Bucks outscored the Chicago Bulls 115:101. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points and recorded ten rebounds, while Dragan Bender did not enter the game.


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Friday, 21 June 2019

No. 11 NBA Draft Pick Dario Šarić Traded to Phoenix Suns!

Dario Šarić is joining his third NBA club, though his arrival to the young and powerful Phoenix Suns dims the hopes of another Croat in the Phoenix ranks, Dragan Bender,  reports 24 Sata on June 21, 2019.

Dario Šarić is a new member of the Phoenix Suns! The Croatian representative was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves hours before the draft for the sixth selection in the first round. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded Šarić, the No. 11 NBA draft pick, for the No. 6 pick in the draft. 

Thus, our Croatian basketball star will defend the colors of his third NBA club next season, after bouts at the Philadelphia 76ers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 25-year-old Šibenik-native arrives at the Phoenix Suns to a young and powerful team where the main stars are Devin Booker (22) and last year’s first draft pick Deandre Ayton (20). The Phoenix Suns thanked T.J. Warren for his time with the Suns before his trade to join Bojan Bogdanović at the Indiana Pacers, thus opening a sport for Šarić in the starting five.

The Phoenix Suns have a number of young but quality players like Kelly Oubre (23), Mikal Bridges (22) or Josh Jackson (22), and there is still the experienced 39-year-old Jamal Crawford. The arrival of Dario Šarić has unfortunately dimmed the hopes for another Croat in Phoenix, Dragan Bender, who had a somewhat modest season. 

The Phoenix Suns were the weakest team in the Western Conference for the last three seasons, with only 64 victories in 246 matches. However, the team is young and is still under construction, and with good picks, they could catch the playoffs in a year or two. But for now, this seems like an impossible mission.

Recall, Šarić was transferred to Minnesota in November as part of a trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers. He didn’t lock in the best season with Minnesota, averaging only 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds throughout his 68 games with the Wolves. 

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Monday, 24 October 2016

Croatia Will be Represented by 7 Players in the NBA this Season

After Damjan Rudež signed a contract with Orlando Magic, Croatia will now be represented by 7 basketball players in the NBA this season.