INTERVIEW: NIKOLA VUCEVIC

Posted by: Kevin Jones
09/12/11 9:06 am EST

Nikola Vucevic already has one distinct advantage over nearly every member of the NBA’s 2011 rookie class.  The native of Montenegro has a leg up on his draft class peers because Nikola has already played professional basketball this summer.

Vucevic represented his home country in the 2011 European Championships (Eurobasket 2011) and in a time where the NBA is full of uncertainty – especially regarding which rookies might have any impact with this much time away from their NBA teams – Vucevic’s Euro-action late this summer could make him a pleasant surprise for the Sixers if and when the 2011-12 season tips off.  A strong rookie campaign from ‘Big Nik’ would be the answer to the team’s Achilles’ heel at center and potentially could propel the 7-6 to the next level.

Recently Nikola took some time to answer a few questions from us here at Philadunkia via email.  Among the things we discussed with the former USC big man were: his last meeting with Doug Collins, what elements of his game he worked on this summer, why he signed on to play in Montenegro and his thoughts on adjusting to the NBA style of play.

Interview after the jump…


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BIG GAMBLE

Posted by: Kevin Jones
06/24/11 10:48 am EST

Our editor and chief Carey Smith was correct during the 2011 True Hoop mock draft, when he selected Nikola Vucevic, the 7-footer out of USC.  Rod Thorn and the 76ers grabbed the big man from Montenegro with 16th pick in last night’s Draft and potentially filled the enormous hole in the middle for the 7-6.

While I trotted alongside Vucevic (Voo-CHAY-vitch) as he made his way to the media room at the Prudential Center, it actually wasn’t his height that I first noticed but rather his weight.  At 260 pounds, the big man is literally just that; someone who potentially could be a brute force down low for the 76ers.  A source within USC told me he put on at least 50 lbs. since enrolling at the university.

Many scouting analysts were stunned when Vucevic entered the draft this year as a junior.  He had just come off of back-to-back Pac-10 rebounding titles – a feat no other player in the history of conference had ever achieved.  It seemed as if he was just harnessing his talents.  Experts had pegged the Trojan as an early second round pick at best.  But Vucevic impressed several teams because as Ed Stefanski put it “he’s a stone-cold center.”  His workouts catapulted him all the way into Lottery territory of some mock drafts.

“I think I learned how to play tough and aggressive in college,” said Vucevic in his post-draft press conference. “Coming to America helped me a lot.  I think I will be able to play the position in the NBA.”


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NBA DRAFT: OUR PREDICTIONS

Posted by: Philadunkia
06/23/11 4:04 pm EST

The 2011 NBA Draft is just hours away and if you have been following all of the mock drafts, online expert predictions and television analysis, it seems there is no consensus as to what the Sixers will do with the No. 16 pick in tonight’s Draft.

However no one knows the Sixers better then the scribes here at Philadunkia.com.  So with that in mind, everyone here at Philadunkia submitted an opinion on which prospect the 76ers will draft at No. 6 tonight as well as why Rod Thorn and company will go in that direction.

Check out our thoughts after the jump.


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NBA DRAFT: MEDIA DAY NOTES

Posted by: Kevin Jones
06/23/11 9:40 am EST

The Westin Hotel in Times Square was the center of the NBA world Wednesday afternoon.  The top 12 draftees were each continuously grilled by give-or-take 100 members of the media, including yours truly.  Each prospect was seated at a circular table in the fifth floor conference center of the hotel.  It is almost guaranteed that all of these players won’t fall to the 76ers at 16. Guess what though?  Andre Iguodala is the most available player on the market, and some team is going to bite for his defense after seeing what Shawn Marion was able to do to LeBron.

That means the Sixers could end up with one of these guys. 

After the jump are my personality assessment and some of the quotes I gathered during my first NBA Draft media day.


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DRAFT LINK DUMP

Posted by: C. Smith
06/22/11 12:19 pm EST

CSNPhilly.com’s Dei Lynam got some time with Rod Thorn.  Thorn basically does a nice job of dodging all her questions, but he does mention that he hasn’t spoken to AI9 in three weeks.

Jrue Holiday who has been traveling in Europe and China tells hoopshype.com, “We need a big man…” 

ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford predicts the Sixers will go with potential scoring machine Jordan Hamilton (6-9, 230, SF, Texas).  Which probably means that AI9 will get traded Thursday night or that Ford thinks he will be traded this summer. 

The boys at draftexpress.com forecast Thorn will nab Nikola Vucevic (6-11, 260, C, USC) at #16.  They also predict the Sixers will draft David Lighty (SF / SG) from Ohio State at #60. 

Over at nbadraft.net, they are saying that somehow Bismack Biyombo (6-9, 243, C, Congo) will fall into the 7-6′s lap.  That would be a dream come true as Biyombo has a  7’7 wingspan and is athletic as hell.  Yeah we know he has no offensive skills, but he would still be a very nice addition to our interior defense.


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WITH THE 16th PICK…

Posted by: C. Smith
06/21/11 1:00 pm EST

The Philadelphia 76ers select…Nikola Vucevic from the University of Southern California…

In the 2011 True Hoop Network Mock Draft, Rod Thorn and the Sixers get their much needed big man…

The New York Knicks are on the clock…

5 FACTORS IN THE WAR ROOM

Posted by: Kevin Jones
06/21/11 8:36 am EST

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  Mid-level teams like the 76ers can climb up the NBA food chain by making the correct pick — or trade in our case — during the NBA Draft.  And the importance of the annual June crap-shoot has skyrocketed this year.  The impending lockout on July 1st will freeze all transactions until the CBA issue is resolved, which is looking rather bleak.

The last time the Sixers held the 16th pick, Mo Speights was the pick … and well … let’s just say the jury is out on him.  I did a little research and check out the list of number 16 picks since 2001. 

Get close to a trash can if you have a gag reflex.

2010: Luke Babbit

2009: James Johnson

2008: Marreese Speights

2007: Nick Young

2006: Rodney Carney

2005: Joey Graham

2004: Kirk Snyder

2003: Troy Bell

2002: Jiri Welsch

2001: Kirk Haston


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