A multi-purpose, stabilizing instrument

2015-08-05T20:25:42+00:00 2015-08-09T13:17:41+00:00.

Aris Barkas

05/Aug/15 20:25


The Nikola Kalinic saga has ended and the Serbian forward will be playing for Fenerbahce. Eurohoops scans his case and examines the reason Zeljko Obradovic had him “marked.”

By Nikos Varlas/ varlas@eurohoops.net

Barring any unforeseen developments, Fenerbahce have completed this year’s summer transfer moves with the acquisition of Nikola Kalinic. A signing that took patience, time and money, as the Serb had an existing contract with Crvena Zvezda until the summer of 2017. The case was closed with the Turkish club signing him for 3 years.

His career

Kalinic (24 years old, 2m.02) started from Novi Sad’s KK. He got a transfer to Vojvodina and in the summer of 2013 he signed with Radnicki. The last 12 months have developed ideally and were the starting point for his career to go up a level and for him to be considered a forward who can offer a lot at the highest level.

He got a transfer to Crvena Zvezda with who he won all the important titles (championship, cup and Adriatic league) with a crucial role. A few months prior he had a great presence and contribution in the magnificent run of the Serbian national team, reaching second place in the World Cup in Spain!

In his first season in the Euroleague he seemed anything but phased. In 24 games with Crvena Zvezda and in 26 minutes of participation time he tallied 9.2 points with 3.9 rebounds, 2 assists and almost one steal on average. He shot 47% in two-point field goals, 35.5% in three-point field goals and 62.7% in free throws. After a dream season he’s moving to Istanbul, with the expectations and demands towards him rising significantly.

His characteristics

Like he showed in his debut season in the Euroleague with the sample being quite big, Kalinic is a player who works hard for the team. He does a lot of things at a good level on the court and his contribution is balanced between defense and offense. Also balanced are the decisions he makes and the plays he attempts! It’s characteristic that in Crvena Zvezda he shot no more than 5 two-pointers and 3 three-pointers on average per game, even though he had the opportunities to do so.

He likes to take on plays from within the system, to let the game come to him, while he puts emphasis on rebounds, facilitating for his teammates and on his defense. The approach he has to the game is definitely the most basic reason that Obradovic had him “marked” and wanted him on the team so badly. As was the fact that he’s a ‘3’ who can work hard and have an advantage in all areas as well as inside the post. He’s tall and strong, while he has the athletic abilities that are required at this level. On a good day he will be a protagonist but the important thing is that, on a bad day, he will still be able to contribute quietly in all areas, without abusing the opportunities that come his way.

The prediction: A coach’s player

Nikola Kalinic isn’t going to drive crazy Fenerbahce’s most demanding fans as soon as he sets foot in Turkey, nor is he going to start doing tricks a la Goudelock. But in a team that will possibly have better distances and a balance in offense compared to last year, he will constitute a consistent threat from the weak side of the offense. He will contribute to the transition game, get rebounds and always be willing to take on difficult defensive missions against dangerous scorers of the opposing team.

Perhaps he will need some time to adjust. With his size and dynamism, he will click with Fenerbahce’s small guards. He knows Bogdanovic’s game very well and he’s a player who can pass well in the low post, who can see passes and support efforts from the inside out, either by executing from long-range, or by trying to finish plays in the low post.

The Serbian forward is going to be one of the players Obradovic will be able to rely on; he’s a multi-purpose instrument that brings balance in offense and defense and he still has some serious room for improvement. If there is a question mark that always accompanies young guys that get transfers to big clubs, that is how well he will be able to respond to the pressure and be decisive and productive in the games that will judge Fenerbahce’s targets.