Q and A with Dragan Bender, Phoenix Suns New Weapon

Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Dragan Bender walks off the stage after being selected as the number four overall pick to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 23, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Dragan Bender walks off the stage after being selected as the number four overall pick to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

At the NBA draft, Phoenix Suns new stud Dragan Bender participated in a question and answer session with an NBA moderator. Here is what was asked, and answered.

Moderator: Talk about what you’ll bring to the Suns

Dragan Bender: I guess just versatility on both ends of the floor. Defensively just being able to switch a lot of positions on the court, and then staying in front of the guard on the perimeter. And offensive just being a guy that can stretch the floor, and can help a lot with passing and delivering the ball to the right places and just handling the ball in the open court and half court.

Moderator: Do you ever hit your head on doorways and ceilings?

DB: When I was younger probably I did. I did, yeah, of course. But then you just get used to it, you know. So you need to take care of that.

Moderator: Back-to-back years a Croatian has been drafted in the top five. What does that mean to you and what does that mean for your country back home?

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DB: It means a lot, just in terms of the work in Croatia, the national team, and just overall in Croatia. I think there’s even more guys that are coming right now that are huge talents, and just looking forward to those guys to come overseas and to build really good Croatian connections and start to build a great national team for that and to win some championships, you know.

Moderator: Toni Kukoc… Did he have any impact on you growing up and any advice or ever just watching him growing up, was he one of your favorite players?

DB: For sure, he was my role model growing up. I was playing in the club and he was playing, also, so playing in that same gym and feeling that same atmosphere was a great experience. And just watching all the tapes, him playing in Jugoplastika when they won three titles and then he was in Benetton Treviso, and then coming overseas of the Chicago Bulls and winning the titles with them, he was a great player overall it was somebody I was looking up to growing up.


Moderator: You’ve been compared to Kristaps Porzingis. Do you think that’s an accurate comparison? What similarities do you have to him and his game?

DB: Right. I guess people are going to compare European talents to European talents the same that when he came there, comparing to Dirk Nowitzki and guys like that. So I guess this is normal for them. Besides that we are coming from Europe and both seven footers that can shoot from outside and move the body. I guess that’s the only things that are similar. But we’re definitely different types of players, he’s two years older than me, a lot more experience, so in that part we are also different.


Moderator: It looks like Marquese Chriss may be coming with you. A bunch of young guys in Phoenix. Do you feel like that’s a good thing for how you play? And what do you feel like your game is going to be like for the Suns?

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DB: I mean it’s always good for young guys that there’s a couple of guys on the team that are the same age. It’s a good thing for Phoenix for sure, for the organization and for the future, and also for practice, you always have someone, young guys on the practice that you can battle with them and just go each and every day against each other. I think it’s a great thing, and looking forward to in the future I guess it’s going to be a really good thing in the long-term.


Moderator: Going from the Negev Desert to the Sonora Desert, can you talk about Israel and how you’re looking forward to going to Phoenix?

DB: Right, I guess it’s pretty similar weather in Israel in Phoenix it’s pretty hot during the year in the summer. So I guess that’s a good thing for me. But it’s totally different city bigger city and everything different style of life for sure. I enjoyed life in Tel Aviv and I enjoyed life in Israel overall great people especially the great club I was playing and I really enjoyed it, so I’m just looking forward to Phoenix and will try to enjoy it over there.

must read: Suns Trade Up For Marquese Chriss

Overall, Dragan seems extremely humble. He showed no concern whatsoever with the Suns selecting another player at his position. If anything, he sounded eager for the competition. He has been away from his parents playing professionally since the age of 16.

He sounds ready and excited to come to Phoenix and show off his versatility and energy. He showed off his confidence in himself, but also a desire to improve.