Who is Pero Antic?

Who is Pero Antic?

This is the question that must be running through the minds of  Atlanta Hawks fans everywhere, right?

Well to start, this is what he looks like via his twitter profile photo (@antic12pero)

If you would have asked me 24 hours ago what my thoughts on the Hawks were, I would have probably responded with this statement: “I’m trying to figure out how the last few roster spots are going to be filled.”

There are discussions flying everywhere about the Hawks’ final spots. Do we keep Lucas Nogueria in the NBA to develop his body, or do we send him back overseas for another year of FIBA basketball? Do we re-sign fan favorite Ivan Johnson? Do we send Mike Muscala to the NBDL or Europe? What do we do with Shelvin Mack and DeShawn Stevenson?

The conversation changed today when reports came out that Atlanta is set to sign some guy named Pero Antic. So I took to YouTube, as I always do with little known European players, to see what the guy looks like running up and down the floor.

Before I go any farther I want to make an official statement:

I fully understand that YouTube mixtapes are made to make players look as good as possible. Yes, I understand that highlight tapes don’t include missed shots, bad defense, or any other action that could make a guy look less desirable. I only look at these videos to get an idea of what type player someone is, see his shooting form, see a bit of the skill displayed, and get an idea of how fluid an athlete he might be.

That being said, there are some things to like about Antic. First thing that jumps out is that he shoots a lot of threes. Most of the highlights posted consisted of spot of three-point shooting. His shooting stroke looks really good on film, and he had some flashes of athletic explosion. He’s listed at 6’11” and weighs 260 pounds. One thing I don’t like is that his foot speed looks a little slow laterally, but how sure can you really be on a highlight tape? I’m assuming the reason Danny Ferry likes Pero is because he’s the much coveted stretch forward. In today’s NBA, where floor spacing is at a premium, guys like Ryan Anderson, Dirk Nowitzki, Matt Bonner, David West and Chris Bosh are highly valued. Player’s like these are loved for their ability to rebound and guard post players, as well as stretch defenses with their shooting.

Before we get carried away there are some red flags. Even though Antic has a really nice fluid shooting stroke, he only shot 26% (30/115) from three-point range, and as we know the FIBA three-point arc is slightly closer than that of the NBA. Despite his sub par perimeter shooting, Pero did covert 51.5% on two-point attempts and 66% from the foul line. So, it seems his shooting is a far cry from a veteran sharpshooter like Ryan Anderson. The rest of the stats are not flattering for a post player — 3.5 rebounds per game and 6 total blocks in 31 games played for Olympiacos Piraeus. (These stats according to www.euroleague.net)

My final feelings on the signing of Antic are mixed. I could easily see this guy stepping right into the Matt Bonner role of coach Mike Budenholzer’s Spurs-like offense, a guy who can come off the bench in short stretches and be a big who post defenders have to respect on the perimeter. However, there is not doubt Pero is going to have to gear up his rebounding if he wants to give quality minutes in an NBA game. There is some flash when watching him play, but not much substance in the stats.

One thing is for sure — after seeing the Hawks’ rookies play in summer league action, I have a lot faith in the organization’s European scouting.

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