|Photo Credit: NBA.com|
Drazen Petrovic was one of the greatest players in the NBA in the 90s. He was also a legend in the Euroleagues. Unfortunately, months before his 29th birthday, Petrovic was killed in a tragic accident in Germany. But, what could've been?
The guy was a genius with the ball and he was possibly one of the best shooters I've seen. Looking back at his footage and thinking back to watching him play, he was cool, calm, and always able to get the ball where he needed--even as a bench guy in Portland. Everything was so fluid, so...genius. I mean, he even scored 112 points in a Yugoslavian League game. Anyone who can score that many points, they're deserving of any legacy they left behind. But, something always troubles me about Petrovic's death. He still had such a way to go.
So, had he not died, where would the Nets seen themselves in that 1993-1994 season?
The 1993-1994 New Jersey Nets team was young. They gelled pretty well. But, they still lacked a shooting guard who could take over a game and kick much ass. Petrovic was that man. Petrovic was the silent assassin who could take over a game. Had he not been killed, it's possible that the experience he'd gathered in the 1992-1993 season would've allowed him to further take the wheel of the team. He was already practically the leader of the team, he and Derrick Coleman. So to have that much more experience? For me, it would've been like seeing LeBron in his first Finals series. I don't know if Drazen would've had LeBron's lack of success at the championship level, but he would've been able to, with the help of Coleman and Kenny Anderson, lead the team to glory based off where they were going. I mean, in 1993-1994, Jordan was gone and the game was in the middle of being up-heaved and renovated.
Or, inversely, he could've furthered his legend in the Euroleague. Either way, this man who seemed to make friends everywhere he went? He, again, had a way to go. And though he helped pave the way for international players to come into the NBA and achieve stardom, had he not passed away, Drazen Petrovic, with his fluidity and his ability to make something from nothing, he would've been even greater than he is now.
Rest in Peace, Croatian Mozart. Thank you for creating music with the ball.