By Lefteris Moutis/ email@example.com
Fenerbahce was able to lure Pero Antic back to the Euroleague, adding strength, smarts and the spirit of a winner on their roster.
Pero Antic learned how to play basketball in Rabotnicki Skopje but he managed to establish himself and make his debut in the Euroleague with AEK where he played for four years until 2005. There he acquired experiences at the highest level but didn’t have the role he wanted and that’s when his wandering started: Crvena Zvezda, Academic, Lokomotiv Kuban and Spartak Saint Petersburg until the heavenly for him summer of 2011.
In the Eurobasket in Lithuania he was astonishing, leading FYROM to third place and a few days after the tournament he signed with Olympiacos, where after two excellent seasons he won the Euroleague two times! He was part of the team that made a big surprise in the Final Four in Istanbul in 2012 and he carried on accordingly next season in London. He formed the ideal pair with Giorgos Printezis. He wanted to stay in Piraeus but he left because of the decision made by the “red-and-whites” coach Giorgos Bartzokas.
What came next, however, for Antic was even better, as he signed with the Atlanta Hawks. Overall, he competed in 135 games in the NBA, having a steady role in the rotation of the Hawks, but at the age of 32 he found an excellent contract for 2+1 years with Fenerbahce and he decided to return to Europe to lead the Turkish team to the same place they’ve been twice before: the top of the Euroleague.
The prediction: He will add elements that Fenerbahce lacks
Pero Antic can be the definition of the “anti-tourist” player. If a fan has not seen him play and especially in a crucial game, they cannot appreciate his contribution to the team. The Skopjan power forward has a big body (2,11m.) but doesn’t have athletic qualities. However, he can make up for this particular disadvantage due to his smartness and the combativeness that he shows in order to win individual battles and rebounds.
Despite his height he can be a threat from long range and help his guard teammates that are good in penetrating to find the room to act. None team can help so effortlessly to the defense with its player, as he can punish them by long range.
He is not a threat with his back against the basket in offense, while in defense he can sometimes find himself in trouble with power forwards that are known for their athletic qualities. He cannot track them along the perimeter, nor can he mark them efficiently in a switching defense. However, what he does have in abundance is strength, passion and basketball intelligence that emerges even more strongly in crucial games.
As it was demonstrated this year with Real and Nocioni and Maciulis, in modern basketball the players who can score, get rebounds, but mainly play tough defense and sacrifice their bodies, can prove more valuable than what they seem and what the “untrained” eye can perceive.