The Trail Blazers offseason is upon us, and the 2018 NBA Draft will provide Portland with an opportunity to supplement its roster with a talented youngster. With only the No. 24 pick at their disposal on draft night, the Blazers will look to thread the needle by finding an NBA-worthy prospect in the latter stages of the first round. Today we will be looking at our first international prospect of the 2018 series, Dzanan Musa of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Height: 6’9”
- Weight: 195
- Wingspan: 7’0”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: SF
- Age: 19
- Projected draft range: 14-23
*Statistics from 16 EuroCup competitions
- PPG: 10.5 | Per 40: 20.8
- APG: 0.9 | Per 40: 1.8
- RPG: 3.2 | Per 40: 6.3
- STL: 0.7 | Per 40: 1.4
- FG%: 47.5
- 3P%: 36.4
- FT%: 75.6
Confidence and fearlessness combine to make Musa a dangerous offensive weapon. Armed with the ability to score at all three levels, the 19-year-old Bosnian should transition nicely to the NBA’s pace-and-space style of play. Musa’s potential as a three-point shooter will drive his value. Along with creating his own shot off the dribble, the talented forward has made strides to be an effective catch-and-shoot option. The optimism surrounding his catch-and-shoot future comes from his ability to successfully hit shots from multiple angles quickly without having to properly set his feet. Even when covered, his high release point on his shot allows him to shoot over most defenders. To complement his outside game, Musa has the skills to beat slower defenders to the paint. Despite playing below the rim, the 19-year-old wing has displayed a soft touch on floaters throughout his career. Intensity completes the offensive package for Musa, as he isn’t shy about carrying the scoring load when he is on the court.
In order to adjust to life in the NBA, Musa will have to add weight to his slender 6-foot-9 frame. Due to his size and lack of top-level athleticism, the former Cedevita standout will likely have to moonlight as a stretch four at the next level. In order to handle that responsibility, he will be required to pack on a few pounds to handle NBA post players. Outside of his frame, Musa’s defensive instincts raise some serious red flags. The 19-year-old was too often caught flat footed or out of position on defense, and both of those flaws will be targeted in the future by opposing coaches. Offensively, Musa will have to do a better job of being effective with his opportunities. It is unlikely he will be given a long enough leash as rookie to shoot his way out of slumps. Without a reliable post game, smaller defenders will be able to make life difficult for Musa.
Despite starting only starting in 12 of Cedevita’s 64 total competitions last season, Musa proved to be a crucial part of the Croatian club’s offensive attack. On a individual level, the 19-year-old shot a higher volume of three-pointers at a consistently better percentage in 2017-18. Cedevita managed to amass a respectable .500 record in the regular season portion of EuroCup competition, but ultimately flamed out by losing all 6 of their games in the Top 16 round.
Due to his offensive gifts and lack of defense, Musa is a bit of a throwback European prospect. Even with noticeable holes in his defense, the 19-year-old wing’s services will be in demand for teams looking for a spark on offense. Teams outside the lottery could target Musa in hopes of finding a cheap option to instantly add points to their reserve units. As one of the youngest prospects in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Bosnian’s ceiling is enticing. His defensive deficiencies aren’t caused by a lack of physical tools, and could be corrected if he lands with the right team. His demeanor is a double-edged sword, however, as his passion could make him a head ache for rigid coaching staffs.
If the Blazers reach a long-term deal with Jusuf Nurkic, Musa’s Bosnian roots could inspire an instant connection between the former Cedevita players. Along with the off-court fit, Musa would provide Portland with another player who is capable of creating his own offense. If he is able to add weight, Musa could evolve into an ideal stretch four for coach Terry Stotts’ offense. If the transformation to a post player never occurs, Musa still projects as a player capable of producing points off the bench. His defensive short comings will hinder his value to Portland, as it would be tough to put him in lineups that feature both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Sitting at pick No. 24, the Blazers could do much worse than a young offensive talent that has room to grow. Given his obvious strengths, Portland might have to move up a few picks to get him.
Do you want to see Musa in a Trail Blazers jersey next season? What prospect would you like to see us highlight next? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com