Site Manager’s Note: Kuzey Kulic is a writer for Eurosport, and has kindly volunteered to lend his expertise on European basketball to a GBB article. Kuzey lives in Istanbul, Turkey, and has actually watched Marko live and interviewed him in the past.
In the 2017–18 EuroLeague season, Fenerbahçe Beko made it to the 2018 EuroLeague Final Four, it’s fourth consecutive Final Four appearance and after that in 2018-2019 EuroLeague season, Fenerbahçe made it to the 2018 EuroLeague Final Four, its fifth consecutive Final Four appearance. Especially in 2018–19 EuroLeague season, Marko Gudurić was among the most important roster players that brought Fenerbahçe to their 5th consecutive Final Four appearance but at the 2019 EuroLeague Final Four.
Fenerbahçe lost in the semifinal game to their arch-rivals and other Turkish team Anadolu Efes and later again in the 3rd place game to Real Madrid. Over the season in EuroLeague, Gudurić averaged career-high 9.4 points and 2.2 assists per game, while shooting 47.7% from beyond the three-point line. In the end of the season with Basketball Super League, Fenerbahçe Beko lost the Turkish League championship after being defeated with 4–3 in the Finals of 2019 BSL Playoffs to Anadolu Efes.
The Memphis Grizzlies, who picked second-rank Ja Morant in the NBA Draft and formed a young core by adding young names like Jaren Jackson Jr. and De’Anthony Melton to their roster the last two years, have included Marko Guduric in their roster officially now.
So is Guduric the right piece for Memphis?
Position: Shooting Guard
NBA Draft: 2017 Undrafted
Birthdate: 3/8/1995 (24 years old)
Guduric grew up with Crvena Zvezda youth teams. The Zvezda is a great school for young basketball players to learn the game. The basketball culture there, the interesting details taught about the game and the discipline are the most important elements of the game in Europe. That’s where teachers instruct a player to use his mind, which is more meaningful than his physical skills and Guduric learned all the positive traits there. He is a smart, skilled swingman that can shoot and score the basketball.
His most important feature on offense is his three-point shot. He can shoot from all over the field. Guduric can find hits in both moving games such as off screen or backdoor and fixed sets such as catch & shoot. He can also create his own shot. So he can shoot after dribbling or off the pick and roll. He’s an effective player not only in three-point shooting, but in the mid-range as well. He’s a left-handed player and is most efficient when coming off the screens when he sets his feet, which makes him hard to defend due to his good size. He also makes shots under pressure.
He has great form, speed and mechanics on his jumper. He adapts his body well into the game, scoring the shot at the right angle and finding the rim. His shot mechanics are pretty clean. He positions his feet about half a step ahead of his body, then lifts the ball with his chest to set up a 60-degree angle and sends it into the basket in a short sequence. He has skill to attack the rim off the dribble and finish under the double team or dunk the ball or layup.
He’s very smart on offense as well as his shooting ability. After giving the shot fake, when the double team comes and one of the players in the right or left wing has two clear options, he is capable of throwing a pass with tremendous timing. Guduric takes advantage of his timing in shoot fake and momentum in the penetration while doing so. Of course, instead of passing, he sometimes finishes the position with a layup. He’s not a consistently good playmaker, but he can be one of the team’s side passers in transitions and set offense.
As long as he’s on the field it’s very difficult for the team to be the passing leader, but he’s a good enough passer in the set offense. He’s very smart, especially on extra passes. He can manage pick & roll and pick & pop games just fine. He takes his position by reading the main strategies of the offense and takes the pick at the right time and throws the pass at the right time.
While penetrating towards the basket, he takes the first two steps hard and separates himself from defenders with his hard/quick/long first step, so without changing direction, he puts his body together and goes to the paint with great timing and understanding of spacing. In transition, he can combine dribbling with great ball handling and fast change of direction. He really has a lot of weapons on offense.
He needs to be a little bit better at rebounding. His is not active there throughout the game and as a result he is able to make simple errors in defense and as a rebounder. He’s fine on one-on-one defense but he’s a bit ineffective against switches and moving offense. He’s smart, but his sleight of hand and foot coordination are below average at best. He’s got an average defense for Europe, but that’s not enough for the NBA.
His biggest problem on offense, athleticism, is one of his biggest problems on defense. He can forget the one-on-one defending player very quickly, he can make simple fouls and he can’t make the right move sometimes. His career in the NBA will also be good if he gets better at defending fast players, athletics, the decision-making mechanism on offense, getting in touch and going to the basket.
That’s definitely my favorite part about him. In the 2018-2019 season, I watched all of Guduric’s games and even had the chance to interview him twice. Apart from Guduric, I have also spoken to some of Fenerbahçe’s players. About him, they have said...
“He seems to be a bit quiet on the court but he’s one of the most joyous names in the team before and after the game. It always makes us laugh.”
Guduric told me in an interview, “I always will love this game. You have to have a physical strength but I like to play with my head. I will be smarter and much more aggressive...’’ Coach Zeljko Obradovic talks to him all the time when he comes to the bench in matches. He tells her where he made a mistake and what to do in that position. Guduric, like other players in the team, listens to Obradovic carefully and applies what he says to the next position. His chemistry with the team is always great.
The athleticism, tempo and playing techniques in the NBA will be compelling for Marko Guduric, who grows up in an entirely European style. When considering the Memphis Grizzlies’ young core and new roster and coaching stadd, I think it’s ideal for Guduric to take a 6-10-minute role in his first season. Depending on his performance this season, his role and minutes will be determined next year. But I think his career in the NBA will be much better if he averaged 6.2 points with 40% shooting on three point field goals, 2.1 assists, and 2 rebounds per game.