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Scouting the Draft-Eligible European Prospects: Dejan Musli
By Stefan Djordjevic
Our next article is about this year's draft-eligible european prospect, Dejan Musli ('91). Serbian centar who is playing for Partizan Belgrade. Musli has been on the NBA scouting radar since he was playing as a kid in small team in Kragujevac. Back then he had been considered as one of the biggest talents of entire 1991 generation in Europe.
Moreover, he was dominating in all tournaments for youngsters for years as a member of FMP. In effect, in 2010 he signed a long-term contract with powerhouse Caja Laboral, but translating his game to senior level was not an easy one. Caja was sending him to loans in order to get some minutes on court, but he just couldn't find his place in rotations. They questioned his work ethic and attitude. In the end, he came back to Serbia and played half season for Mega Vizura where he finally started living up to his potential. Eventually, last summer he terminated his contract with Caja and signed a three-year contract with Partizan. In his first season in Partizan, he was averaging 9.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in Euroleague and 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in Adriatic league.
Standing at 7 foot 0 inch Musli has a good size for center at NBA level. He possesses very strong game, particularly lower body, and knows how to use it. He takes an advantage of his strength to create his onw shot at rim. On the other hand he is only an average athlete, even by European standards. He is very slow for NBA pace, while his footwork is slow and his coordination weak. Due to poor lateral speed he struggles while defending the pick and roll. He always goes under the screen, barely steps outside the paint, just controlling the situation, but he isn't quick enough to stop dribble penetration neither to switch it.
As a junior player he was making shoots outside the paint, but on a senior level he stopped doing that. And the mechanics of his shot is different, not smooth as it had been before. Now he is scoring most of his points from under the same basket. As we all know relationship between point guards is very important, especially in a case of big men. Leo Westermann is first playmaker in Partizan and impresses with a great court vision. You would assume that Musli is scoring most of assisted points, however that is not the case. What stands out for him is that he creates most of his shots himself, while many other centers don't. 17,9% of his Euroleague field goals were after an offensive rebound (putbacks), 35,9% were created through a teammates' assist, the rest (46,2%) he had to create for himself (unassisted). His percentage of assisted field goals (35,9) is the 5th lowest in the whole Euroleague (44 centers qualified - 130 total minutes played minimum). Only Sofo Schortsanitis, David Andersen, Luksa Andric and Ioannis Bourousis create a larger percentage of shots on their own. 
He rebounds 19,6% of all opponent misses on the defensive end (defensive rebound percentage) while on the floor, which is 13th of 44 centers in Euroleague database. He's only 31st of 44 centers in offensive rebound percentage, though. Low percent of assisted field goals is the characteristic of scores with brilliant low-post appearance, so that's probably the story to be applied to the first passage. 
He is not the best defensive player, mainly due to poor pick and roll defense, nonetheless he shows also some problems defending post players. He’s often late in transition defense and shows tendency to falling into foul-trouble early. To stay in front of opponents, he uses his body. Great example for this assistance is one when he played against top Euroleague’s center, Nenad Krstic, who finished Krstic that game with 8 turnovers, most under the influence of aggressive defense by Musli.
Musli is not a leader, his decision-making is questionable and he has a lot of things to improve. Work on his game and his attitude is inevitable. Musli didn't live up to expectations form his early years in pro basketball, however in these days it is very difficult to find big guys with his frame, height and strength. His chances for making a solid NBA career are still high. He possesses some upside and surely will continue improving,  as his team Partizan is well know for producing some big-time upfront players, namely Vlade Divac, Nikola Pekovic or Nenad Krstic.

Statistical research: Simon Jacas (


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