Filip Petrusev enters the 2021 NBA Draft as one of the most intriguing prospects. The Serbian big man has both college basketball and European professional basketball on his resume, and he just turned 21-years-old last month.
Filip Petrusev 2021 NBA Draft Profile
College and International Career
Petrusev had two phenomenal years at Gonzaga. As a freshman, he averaged 6.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. His minutes were low, but he showed flashes of greatness. Petrusev was named onto West Coast Conference All-Freshman team.
He then really took off his sophomore year. Petrusev finished the season averaging 17.5 points and eight rebounds a game while being named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. He then declared for the 2020 NBA Draft, for good reason, but his decision was changed due to the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 with draft preparations and a potential college return.
Instead of moving forward with the 2020 Draft, Petrusev signed with Mega Soccerbet in Serbia (ABA). He averaged 23.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, while also shooting an impressive 41 percent from deep. Petrusev racked up honors with those statistics, winning the ABA MVP Award, the ABA Top Prospect Award, and the ABA League Top Scorer Award.
Petrusev offers what most teams look for in a modern big. He has all the traits to succeed as a low-post scorer and is a very solid rebounder, allowing him to run as a traditional center if needed.
More than that, Petrusev also has modern big traits. First off, he’s showing flashes of becoming a stretch five. Shooting 41 percent from deep in the ABA is impressive, indicating that he can do the same in the NBA. Petrusev’s overall offensive game is strong, and his high motor allows him to succeed on both sides of the floor.
There isn’t a true glaring weakness in Petrusev’s game, but just things he can work on to show even more potential.
First of all, he needs to show more confidence from long-range. He only attempted three three-point shots per game in the ABA, even though he stood above the pack as the best player on his team. NBA teams will certainly want to develop him into a stretch big, so Petrusev must shoot at a higher volume.
He’s also not the best playmaker, but centers rarely are. Being from the same country and league as Jokic does not mean Petrusev will display the same qualities, but his basketball IQ is high enough to where one can imagine him improve this part of his game.
Lastly, as a big, Petrusev can improve as a shot-blocker. He averaged just over one block per game in the ABA this season.
Petrusev projects as a better Mike Muscala. He can step into a frontcourt rotation and provide solid rebounding with three-point shooting, while also playing low if needed. Unlike Muscala, however, Petrusev carries more potential that may allow him to one day be a consistent starter.
2021 NBA Draft Projection
Petrusev will likely get selected towards the end of the first round or the beginning of the second round.
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