Denver GM Tim Connelly has gone on record trying to temper expectations for whomever the Nuggets choose 11th overall on June 26th. I have gone on record stating my hope is that the Nuggets draft a shooting guard. Although with both JaVale McGee and JJ Hickson recovering from injuries, Denver could use another center on the roster as an insurance policy. An insurance policy is not Jan Vesely with only 25 starts to his credit. An insurance policy would be someone with over 250 career starts. Someone who stepped away from the NBA after the lockout and done very well in the Euroleague. Someone who is less of a risk than a draft pick. Enter Nenad Krstic.
Krstic was drafted 24th overall in the 2002 NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets. His NBA career would begin in 2004. Krstic was worth the wait as he was named to the NBA All-Rookie second team. His career was spiraling upward until December 22, 2006 when he tore his left ACL. At the time of his injury, his numbers in shooting percentage, rebounds and points per game were steadily climbing each season. Nenad Krstic returned 10 months later to start the NBA season for the New Jersey Nets but his confidence was shaken and his numbers suffered.
(Slightly off topic note, JJ Hickson is recovering from the same injury, here’s hoping his return goes smoother.)
After New Jersey, Krstic played for the Oklahoma City Thunder for parts of three seasons starting 152 of 169 games. At the 2011 trade deadline, Nenad Krstic was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Kendrick Perkins (who stills starts at center for OKC). Krstic has played the last three seasons for CSKA Moscow. Twice he was named to the All-Euroleague first team. CSKA Moscow holds on option to re-sign him but shortly after failing to win the Euroleague for the third straight year, the president of CSKA blamed Krstić and another teammate for not putting enough effort over the season.
Will that be motivation enough for Krstic to attempt a comeback in the NBA? If so, is the fit right in Denver?