The NBA All-Star break is upon us and three Croatians are in position to play in the NBA Finals.
All three are in the West with the surprising Utah Jazz currently in the #1 spot by three games. The Jazz imploded last season in the Orlando playoff “bubble” without their Croatian three-point specialist , Bojan Bogdanović, who was out after wrist surgery. The Jazz let Denver overcome a 3-1 series deficit to move onto the next round while Utah went home. But Utah looks hungry this season and have played the bulk of the first half against playoff teams. Bogdanović is averaging 16 points per game, shooting 46% from the field and 40% from downtown. The Jazz could easily keep the #1 seed in the West which means they can possibly avoid playing both Los Angeles teams.
Dario Šarić and the Phoenix Suns were on absolute fire in the month of February! An amazing 12-3 record last month has catapulted the Suns all the way to 2nd place in the West; three games back of the Jazz. Šarić started the season injured but has since made a huge impact alongside CP3, Booker, and Ayton. In 16 games this season, Šarić is averaging 11.4 points per game and four rebounds. The man from Šibenik is shooting 47% from the field and 38% from three-point. Tuesday night in Los Angeles, Šarić went for 21 points in a win over the Lakers. The Suns ended last season on an absolute tear but didn’t make the playoffs.
“It’s exciting to be a part of this team that is making a serious playoff push.” When asked if he could see himself playing in the Finals, Šarić said, “Anything is possible with these (Suns) guys.”
Ivica Zubac was supposed to be the full-time center for the Clippers until they brought in Ibaka this offseason. Zubac is coming off the bench and playing 20 minutes/game for the Clippers, who currently sit 3.5 games back of the Jazz. Zubac is shooting an incredible 67% from the field; adding seven rebounds and a block per game to his season tally. He’s only averaging eight points/game but his role alongside Kawhi and Paul George is to play defense and facilitate high screens for the scorers on the team. Not bad at all to go alongside making $7 million per year.
Who will come out of the West? One of these three or will it be the Lakers again?