Connect with us


Wizards’ Tristan Vukcevic credits teammates for helping with transition to NBA



Tristan Vukcevic joined the Washington Wizards this month after starting the season in Serbia, and the 21-year-old is getting a crash course in playing in the NBA.

Vukcevic was selected with the 42nd pick in the 2023 NBA draft by the Wizards after emerging as one of the top international prospects. The team signed him on March 14 after agreeing to a seven-figure contract buyout with Partizan and Real Madrid, his first professional club.

The 7-footer debuted with the Wizards on Saturday, logging three minutes in a win over Toronto. He registered his first career points on Monday in a 107-105 win against Chicago, knocking down two 3-pointers and hauling in three rebounds in nine minutes.

“He hit a couple of 3s (and) had good protection at the rim,” Wizards interim coach Brian Keefe said. “(We are) thrilled to have him in our program. He has a high basketball IQ, and we’re excited he is here with us.”

Vukcevic averaged 7.7 points and 3.2 rebounds on 43.2% shooting from 3-point range in 30 games this season with Partizan. He has spent the past two-plus seasons with the team and helped it claim the ABA League championship last year.

He played with the Wizards in the NBA Summer League before returning to Partizan. He averaged 11.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and one steal in four appearances in Las Vegas. He scored in double figures twice, including a summer league-high 15 points on July 15.

Vukcevic will  begin the transition by joining the team for the last month of the season. The game in the United States is much different than in Europe and will take some time to learn.

“It is a different game,” Vukcevic said on Saturday. “It is more fast-paced, less plays. I think in Europe, it is more textbook basketball and it is just something I have to learn. It is a learning process: Speed, pace and everything.”

Vukcevic is viewed as a highly skilled big man and is touted for his ability as a scorer and shooter, with his smooth stroke and ability to work in the post. He impressed at the combine last year and drew interest from several teams drafting in the second round.

With 10 games left to play and the Wizards out of postseason contention, Vukcevic projects to have the opportunity to log extended minutes. He will be leaning on his teammates for help.

“They’re just helping me transition to the NBA and teaching me what to do and what not to do, like my positioning because it is very different,” Vukcevic said. “(Anthony) Gill is doing a good job of telling me where to be at and what to do because he was in Europe and knew how the transition is. I’m very glad that he is helping me.”

Continue Reading