Feb 9, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli (31) warms up before the game against Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Warriors 116-91. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors: How Will Ognjen Kuzmic Help Them In 2013-14?

First off, who is Ognjen Kuzmic? I am sure many of you do not know. Kuzmic is a 7’1 Bosnian center who the Golden State Warriors selected  52nd  overall in last year’s draft. Kuzmic is 23 years old, and has a massive body with great size and length. He is athletic and  mobile for his size.

Watch this clip as Kuzmic (number 52 in black) goes up to jam down an alley-opp pass that appeared to be too high at first.

First, Kuzmic collects the rebound, then he runs the floor and sets a screen for the point guard. He rolls to the rim and jams down the high pass with ease.

In 2011-12, Kuzmic averaged 10.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in only 24.5 minutes per game with Clinicas Rincon. The 2.1 blocks is the stat that really sticks out as one of Kuzmic’s best on-court attributes–blocking shots.

Back in May of this year, a story about Kuzmic’s possible future in the NBA was published in Bosnia. The story mentioned that Spanish media reported that Kuzmic was negotiating with the Warriors, but Kuzmic denied such report. During the winter months, Kirk Lacob and Travis Schlenk voyaged overseas to witness Kuzmic play first hand and were impressed by his progress.

Kuzmic stated via translation that he plans to spend the summer playing in the United States for the Warriors’ summer league team. If Kuzmic plays well in the summer league, then he could be a key contributor with the Warriors next year.

This past week, rookie center Festus Ezeli underwent successful surgery on his right knee. The recovery period is expected to be between six and nine months, which means Ezeli won’t play until December, at the earliest.

Without Ezeli, Andris Biedrins would be the Warriors’ backup center. With Andrew Bogut incredibly injury-prone and David Lee coming off hip surgery, the Warriors will need some more frontcourt depth, and Kuzmic could be the guy.

Kuzmic would not have to make a major impact on the offensive end of the floor, but merely guard his position and contest and block shots when opposing players drive to the hoop. Hopefully Kuzmic spent this year bulking up and working on a perimeter jump shot or post game. If Kuzmic is able to score somewhat consistently in the post, then the Warriors will not see a major drop off when Andrew Bogut has to come off the floor.

And more importantly, if Kuzmic does eventually join the Warriors, he would be forced to make an immediate impact or else… or else… or else.. Andris Biedrins would have to play major minutes.

Tags: Golden State Warriors Ognjen Kuzmic

  • afannaz

    just a little curious…what do they have available to pay him? i don’t want you to think i’m stereotyping, but, i hope this eastern european center is alot better than the first one!

    • Ben Pickman

      Thanks for your question. I absolutely agree with your second point. If Bogut does get injured and/or Ezeli is forced to miss more time to do injury than we would need Kuzmic to be productive. Biedrins is past his prime and is no longer a steady backup at the center position.

      To answer your contract question. two seasons ago the Warriors signed second round draft pick Jeremy Tyler to only 762,195 but most European centers make around three million or less. Currently Viacheslav Kravtsov, the Detroit Pistons rookie center makes 1,500,000 which is more in the ballpark of Kuzmic. The Warriors have a little bit of cap space but not enough to sign major free agents.

  • Maquiquon Lazario

    I could imagine him becoming best friends with andris biedrins and they would tear up the league together. splash brothers 2.0

    • Ben Pickman

      hahaha. hopefully one of them performs next season in a way that is even two levels less than Curry and Thompson. They would be best friends.

      Something similar could happen in San Antonio as many draft experts are projecting the Spurs to take Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira who would likely become best friends with current Brazilian Spurs center Tiago Splitter.

  • Pingback: How the Warriors’ Young Players Will Benefit From Summer League | Let's Go Warriors