Dragan Bender is still not yet ready
The former fourth overall pick has always been regarded as a long-term project. This preseason has shown just how much time he needs before he contributes. In the first four games Bender averaged 5.0 points per game, 1.3 assists, while shooting 28.5% from the field in 24 minutes of action. The only positive sign he showed so far is his willingness to mix it up underneath the basket as he’s averaging 6.5 rebounds per game.
To be fair with Bender though, he did play well against the Brisbane Bullets. He tallied 16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists while shooting a remarkable 4-6 from beyond the arc.
The five games they played might be a foreshadowing of what Bender’s season will look like. A couple of bad games followed by one where Dragan shows his potential.
Patience is the key with Dragan because the intangibles and the talent is clearly there. If his body can finish adjusting to the NBA then the using of a top-5 pick on him will finally come to bear fruit. How good he will be is entirely up to him and his desire to improve. For now, don’t expect much from the Croatian as he will need more time.