Much maligned Nenad Krstic remains one of the best scorers at the center position in all of Europe. Though he lost some space in CSKA Moscow due to the addition of Kyle Hines and the consistent performance of Sasha Kaun, the Serbian veteran still posted a highly productive age-30 season as far as scoring per shot and shooting percentages per shot location are concerned.
His top skills are as a post scorer and a midrange jump-shooter off drive-and-kicks. Krstic is able to set deep post position due to his seven-foot, 267-pound frame. He favors finishing over his right shoulder but continues to exhibit excellent footwork to neutralize his defenders and release his hook from a high point difficult for the average European center to block.
Krstic is an above average catch-and-shoot jump-shooter off dumpoffs at this point. He doesn’t elevate off the ground much, as players of his size usually don’t, but has a high release due to his height and a natural shooting stroke with decent speed. Had he come up in this Era, Krstic would have probably been encouraged to develop into a stretch five. He hit 41.7% of 120 two-point jump-shots in 521 Euroleague minutes and 40.2% of 77 midrange attempts in 559 VTB United league minutes.
He also remains a decent option finishing out of the pick-and-roll. Krstic is an average screener who doesn’t always make sure to draw contact but whose size forces defenders to put in the effort to navigate around him. He is no longer much of a target for lobs, unable to dive hard down the lane to play above the rim but can still catch the ball on the move due to his soft hands, has touch to finish at basket level and is able to score through contact. He shot 65.1% on 83 attempts at the rim in the Euroleague and 62.7% on 129 attempts in the lane in the VTB United league, aside from averaging 5.6 free throws per 28 minutes and hitting them at a 74.6% clip.
Krstic improved his assist rate in comparison to the previous two seasons but continues to be an average passer at best. He was below average on the glass, grabbing just 6% of CSKA’s misses when he was on the floor, which can be attributed to his decline in athleticism and because he shared a lot of minutes with Kyle Hines, a far more capable player of rebounding outside of his area at this point. His impact on CSKA’s offense was mixed; the team scored nine points per 100 possessions more without him on the court in the Euroleague but averaged 122.6 points per 100 possessions in the VTB United league with him in the lineup.
For a comprehensive look at the state of Krstic’s defense, here’s Rod Higgins at in-the-game.org.
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.