Old pro Sam Smith of Bulls.com has written an exceptional column on present (though perhaps for but a wee bit longer, if speculation is to believed) and former Chicago Bulls Luol Deng and Dalibor Bagaric.
A good portion of this epic-by-today’s-standard is devoted to possible trade destinations for the Team Britain big man — even though Smith believes Deng’s recent musings on getting dealt. Most intriguing is a proposition swapping Deng to the Houston Rockets for Kyle Lowry, thereby freeing up Goran Dragic to start there and creating one wicked backcourt in Chicago.
Smith then switches gears and drops a bit of trivia. To wit: Which players have played 10 seasons in European professional basketball and at least three in the NBA? Smith’s got:
1. Toni Kukoc
2. Dirk Nowitzki
3. Arvidas Sabonis
4. Drazen Petrovic
5. Vlade Divac…
…and Bagaric. The Croatian was the no. 24 overall draft pick in 2000, “when the Bulls disastrously stocked their roster with six draft picks.”
(For the record, those picks were Marcus Fizer at no. 4 overall; Chris Mihm, no. 7; Bagaric, no. 24; A.J. Guyton, no. 32; Jake Voskuhl, no. 33; and Khalid El-Amin, no. 34. Okay, Sam might not’ve been too harsh…)
In seasons 2000-01 to 2002-03, Bagaric’s time with Chicago made him reminiscent of his draft class in general: Playing just 10.25 minutes per game over 95 games for the post-Jordan Bulls, Bagaric sure isn’t exactly well remembered in the Windy City.
On those times, Bagaric says, “I was unlucky. I was going from one world to another. I spoke a little bit of English, but my words were not like now. It was great the Chicago Bulls drafted me. Everyone follows the Bulls with Michael, Scottie, Toni Kukoc…
“I should have been more patient, but I wasn’t. I was 20. I just wanted to play. You think differently now than when you are 20. I’m playing garbage minutes [his final season]. I don’t get serious playing time. The year before I played 50 games and got some good minutes. The second year I showed I could do something. The third year I cannot do anything? I played 11 games and only garbage minutes.”
(And in actuality, Basketball-Reference counts only 10 games played by Bagaric in 2002-03…)
There’s a bit more with Bagaric, including his assessment of prospective Bull Nikola Mirotic – Bagaric describes him as similar to Robert Horry – and most teasingly a hint which doesn’t get developed, i.e. that Bagaric “may play in Germany.”
For lots more from the immortal Sam Smith (*loooots more*; his reflections on the Miami Heat’s NBA championship win is included), click here.