Emir Preldzic is a pure point guard who happens to be taller than the average player for that position (six-foot-eight) and big enough that he isn’t at a size disadvantage against perimeter players in the post (220 pounds), so for almost his entire pro career he has shared the court with true point guards and therefore nominally been tagged a wing.
Previous Fenerbahçe head-coach Neven Spahija had him play a lot of minutes with God Jasikevicius, who had at that point of his career had already transitioned to more of a ball mover, spot-up specialist which freed up Preldzic to essentially run point. And after the injury to Kenan Sipahi midway through last season, current coach Zeljko Obradovic had him as the primary ball handler when Lester Bo McCallebb hit the bench.
Regardless of the semantics, Preldzic is an excellent shot creator due to his great passing instincts in transition, facing the basket and off the bounce, ranking fourth in the Turkish league and 14th in the Euroleague in assists per minute. He is very intelligent passing ahead on fast-breaks, can see over smaller defenders thanks to his height and draws help due to his speed on straight line drives. 95 of his 107 assists in the Euroleague led to scores at the rim or from three-point range.
He posted an impressive average-to-low turnover rate considering he’s a high assist guy and doesn’t consistently dribble the ball low to the ground in traffic, which makes him susceptible to getting the ball stripped.
Preldzic doesn’t favor dribbling to either side but doesn’t have much speed to turn the corner off the pick-and-roll or when forced to change directions. He shot at the rim only 72 times and attempted only 79 free-throws in 665 Euroleague minutes. Though capable of finishing with either hand, Preldzic doesn’t play above the rim and finished at the basket at a decent-but-unimpressive 61.1% clip. He is an average contributor on the glass.
Preldzic is a capable set shooter, but isn’t much more than average and defenses can aggressively not guard him when he is on the weakside. He missed 62.3% of his 91 three-point attempts in the Turkish league and 68.3% of 63 in the Euroleague. Preldzic rarely elevates with straight balance and flexes his arms a little too much on his shooting motion, to the point that sometimes the ball is released from over his head.
He is a very limited individual defender due to his lack of lateral quickness, which is attributed as the reason why he isn’t played as the true point guard on all his minutes. But Preldzic does play with effort, noticeably trying hard to shuffle his feet backwards in an attempt (more often than not failed) to contain dribble penetration and using his length to adequately contest pull-up shots. Fenerbahçe switched on pretty much every single pick-and-roll late in the season, so he was not asked to fight screens. That strategy was aggressively explored because all their wings had enough size to not be on a significant disadvantage in the post, Preldzic being one of them.
He displayed high IQ on off-ball defense, consistently attentive to his help responsibilities. He was very aggressive crashing inside to double the roll man, but didn’t play above the rim on that end either, blocking only 16 shots in 64 games. He ranked above average in defensive rebounding rate among position peers in both leagues. Fenerbahçe allowed 110.1 points per 100 possessions with him on the court and 107.7 when he hit the bench in the Euroleague, the difference between ninth-ranked Maccabi Tel Aviv and 16th-ranked Partizan Belgrade in defensive efficiency. His on/off splits in the Turkish league were the same.
Editor’s Note: Statistical data for this post was researched at in-the-game.org and basketball.realgm.com.
Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at Upside & Motor, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.