EuroStep, an English-language blog about Euroleague basketball, gathered five hoops writers recently to discuss one of the big stories this season in European hoops: how badly Turkey's Fenerbahce Ulker has played ... despite a huge outlay of funds in the off-season. (Sounds like someone that we used to know.)
Fener's success is of great interest to the Nets' frontcourt. Its two "Euro-stash" -- Bojan Bogdanovic and Ilkan Karaman, second round picks of Billy King in 2011 and 2012 -- play for the Istanbul-based team. So what the writers say about the two is interesting. The bottom line: Bogdanovic is a terrific offensive talent who cares little for defense and rebounding while Karaman has potential that's being stifled by Fener's need to play higher-paid talent.
Even on offense, Bogdanovic is not being used well, with one writer saying Fener's shoot-first American point guard, Bo McCalebb, is ruining the team's flow by taking too many three's. That and poor defense has led to a spreading mediocrity, a "plague" on both ends of the court. As a result, he notes, "Bogdanovic is living in a post-apocalyptic anarchy with zombies around him."
In the other aspects of the game, a second writer laments Bogdanovic's effort: "The Croatian pretty much has to score 25+ to make up for what he gives up to whoever he’s guarding."
Karaman, the 6'9.5" back-up center/power forward, is showing continuing improvement on both ends but can't get minutes. The same writer argues, "Karaman should be taking (David) Andersen’s minutes too. But with so many big names signed over the summer, it’s expensive to make changes." A second concurs, saying, "he should see more minutes at center and anchor a more aggressive defensive approach (I think his footwork is good enough to sustain it)." A third adds to the consensus: "Karaman is an intriguing player with his physique and mentality. Statistically, he stands out in steals and blocked shots among Euroleague power forwards. Not sure what he’s done to fall so much out of favour with (coach Simone) Pianigiani."