Lost in the long list of Trail Blazers’ activity this summer was the addition of the draft rights to Montenegrin big man Bojan Dubljevic. The 27-year-old stretch big’s rights were acquired from the Timberwolves as part of the Jake Layman sign-and-trade earlier this summer. Selected with the No. 59 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Dubljevic’s arrival to Portland was quickly filed away in the Petteri Koponen cabinet.
But is there more to Dubljevic than that initial reaction indicates? Here is a quick look at what Valencia’s leading man brings to the table.
A Sweet-Shooting Specialist
Nicolo Melli’s transition to New Orleans moves Dubljevic one step up the ladder in regards to the best floor-spacing professionals currently playing outside of the NBA. Featured in Valencia’s starting lineup, Dubljevic has blossomed into one of the most versatile and efficient frontcourt players in Liga ACB.
Last season, in addition to leading Valencia Basket past Alba Berlin in the EuroCup Finals, Dubljevic reached a new career-high in efficiency from beyond the arc. Over the course of 31 Liga ACB competitions, he connected on 42.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Here are the highlights from Dubljevic’s 18-point performance in Game 3 of the EuroCup Finals. His work to create space and pass out of the post should look familiar to Blazers fans.
FIBA Qualifying & Beyond
Montenegro became one of the most unlikely qualifiers for this year’s FIBA World Cup in China thanks to Dubljevic’s contributions. The 27-year-old post maestro led his squad in both points (18.2) and rebounds (6.8) per game. Heading into the competition in China, Dublejevic will reunite with Magic center Nikola Vucevic. The addition of Vucevic to the roster will allow Dubljevic to slide into a complementary frontcourt role when Montenegro faces Greece, New Zealand and Brazil in Group F. If Montenegro advances past that group, there is a strong likelihood that Dubljevic will cross paths with Team USA in the next round.
Here are the highlights from Dubljevic’s performances in the FIBA European Qualifiers—he absolutely torches Ukraine from beyond the arc starting around the 2:07 mark of the video.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
Yes, Dubljevic is more more than just a name in the Layman-to-Minnesota trade. But that doesn’t mean that he will ever see the floor for the Blazers, or any other NBA team for that matter. He is clear about his intentions to remain with Valencia for the foreseeable future.
In an interview with EuroHoops.net, Dubljevic explained that transiting to the NBA does not top the list of his ambitions.
“NBA isn’t on my mind. Every player has a dream to play in the NBA. It’s not my dream. My dream is to play for a big club. For me, Valencia is the biggest club and I want to stay in Valencia,” Dubljevic told Eurohoops.
Even if the bright lights of international competition alter Dubljevic’s outlook, his lack of ideal height (6’9”) and athleticism place a firm ceiling on top of his NBA upside. Regardless of those limitations, his skills on offense form the foundation for a role as a specialist.
A transition to the NBA at Dubljevic’s age isn’t uncommon. Fellow specialist Nemanja Bjelica made his Timberwolves debut at 27 years old—five years after he was selected in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft. Dubljevic’s current contract with Valencia runs through 2020.