Catching Up With Emir Preldzic, Turkish League Champion
[Editor's note: After his initial profile of him, TAI's Adam McGinnis (also known as Adam Douglas) has become the unofficial Emir Preldzic/Turkish League correspondent. Who is Emir Preldzic? Well, he's the overseas prospect the Wizards got from Cleveland as part of the Antawn Jamison deal. Read Adam's follow-up piece on Preldzic below.]
With John Wall mania at fever pitch levels, and only going to crescendo even higher as this Thursday’s draft approaches, it’s a good time to check in on one of the Wizards’ own Euro-stash prospects, Bosniak Hero, Emir Preldzic. The 22-year old, 6’9″ point-forward’s rights were acquired from Cleveland in the Antwan Jamison deadline deal. The last time we left Emir, his team, Fenerbahce Ulkler, had failed to qualify for the Euroleague playoffs but was still competing for the crown of the top tier Turkish Basketball League (TBL), where Preldzic was a key performer.
Fenerbahce finished the TBL regular season in second place with a 23-7 record. Emir averaged 11.8 pts, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists in 29 games. He tallied up the 13th most assists in the league and had a single game high of 23 points. He was selected Honorable Mention All Turkey League by Eurobasket.com.
Fenerbahce’s main rival and fellow Euroleague participant, Efes Pilsen, won the regular season crown with a 27-3 record. At one point it appeared Fenerbahce was ready to challenge Efes for the top spot but Fenerbahce fizzled down the stretch with a 4-4 record and finished in second.
The top eight teams qualify for the TBL playoffs with the first two rounds being best of five and the finals the best of seven. The top two playoff seeds, Fenerbahce and Efes, cruised easily through the first two rounds, neither losing a game, setting up a rematch of last year’s finals where Efes Prevailed four games to two.
Well, we can now add ‘champion’ to Emir’s profile as Fenerbahce avenged their 2009 TBL finals defeat with victory in 2010.
Fenerbahce Ulker routed outgoing champion Efes Pilsen 76-51 on Wednesday at Abdi Ipekci Sports Hall to regain the Turkish League championship. Mirsad Turkcan scored 16 and Roko Ukic added 15 as FB Ulker took the best-of-six series 4-2 for its third league title in four seasons and fourth overall. The hosts used a 16-0 run as part of a 32-10 first quarter to soar ahead for good. The scoreboard showed 48-24 at halftime and the lead crossed the 30-point mark in the third quarter as Fener rolled to an east win and celebrated long before the final whistle. Semih Erden added 13 points and Tarence Kinsey recorded 11 points and 8 rebounds for the new champs, who out-rebounded Efes 36-25. Charles Smith scored 15 for Efes Pilsen in defeat.
Click here for video highlights of the clinching game six.
Preldzic had one of his worst performances of the playoffs in the deciding game but he was a solid contributor throughout the title run. In post-season play, he averaged per game, 7.4 pts, 3.8 rbs and 2.8 asts. He shot 46% from the field and 44% from three.
Strength and defense appear to be potential NBA liabilities for Emir, but his athleticism, ball handling skills and court vision show definite promise. But to be honest, I am drawing my conclusions based on analysis from box scores, game summaries and scouting reports. I have yet to see him play, so any prognostications have to be taken with a huge grain of unknown salt.
Since the Wizards’ roster is in flux and potentially could be point guard heavy, I don’t know if the team realistically has room for a skinny point forward. But Emir has shown enough promise at the elite levels of European ball to at least get a look with a summer league invite.