By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Completing an NBA chapter with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Serbian star Vasilije Micic was limited to 12 minutes per contest over 30 appearances in the 2023-24 NBA Regular Season. Traded to the Charlotte Hornets, he introduced himself with 18 points and nine assists lasting 26 minutes in the win against the Memphis Grizzlies in Spectrum Center on Saturday.
“I did not expect to play this much,” he admitted after debuting with his second NBA team on the latest installment of NBA Saturdays.
Micic, 30, landed in the NBA with plenty of individual and team achievements in Europe, including being crowned Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion in 2021 and 2022 as a leading member of Anadolu Efes. Being limited by a minor role with the Thunder was difficult, especially after such success in the premier continental club competition in Europe.
“As a player, you just like to play. That is a priority for everyone,” he confirmed, “I really did not expect that I would have a decent game.”
Hornets head coach Steve Clifford immediately trusted Micic. “He knows where everybody is on the floor. He is a terrific passer and a good pick-and-roll player. And he’s got size,” noted the American tactician.
“I am really happy”
His trade additionally included Latvian Davis Bertans, Tre Mann, and two second-round draft picks for the Hornets with Gordon Hayward going to the Thunder.
“I came with a purpose here, not to be just a player in any team, to try and prove myself on the court. That is the main goal for me, and will stay the main goal until I have an opportunity in the NBA,” said the Serbian guard on opting to use his NBA options after establishing himself as a household name across the Old Continent, “I did that all over Europe.”
“The experience in Oklahoma was very useful. Of course, it was not easy to handle the minutes on the court and the role,” he mentioned on playing for the Thunder and averaging 3.3 points and 2.5 assists per game.
“I just try to stay ready, in shape, and that is how I am going to continue whether it is here or somewhere else,” explained Micic, “I am really happy that people here realize that I have that potential and they help me to come over and I am trying to prove that I am capable of playing at this level.”
After helping his new side jump to 11-41, the next game is against the Indiana Pacers in Spectrum Center on Monday.
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