It’s make it or break it season for Dragan Bender! Born to be a basketball player (7’1 tall with 250 pounds), as he moves very fast on the court. He is practically guard with great shooting and passing skills, but trapped in a center’s body. As a very versatile defender, he just couldn’t prove to the whole league that he deserves to be a part of it.

How could that happen for the Phoenix Suns 2016 NBA Draft 4th pick?

After last year’s disappointment, the Suns decided to give a chance to European coach Igor Kokoskov. The new coach has different plans and some of the veterans were added as role players before the season has started.

Bender lost his starting five spot and he is now collecting garbage time minutes. He profiled himself as a spot-up stretch power forward. He may become a new “Croatian freak”, as Giannis Antetokounmpo? He plays like shooting guard, but he is not reaching his potential.

Problem with fear of contact

His preseason shooting form was bad and that is the reason why his team role downsized. Also, Bender hasn’t been showing any improvement so far. With a constant appearance of being lost on the court continues; his downright average defensive effort that seems to grow from a fear of contact hasn’t been improved. That’s also a big problem on the offensive end, as he simply can’t play at the low post or to be used in pick and roll.

Suns board obviously lost their patience with Dragan, but he is only 20 years old and there is plenty of time to prove Arizona’s team how they were wrong.

Bender must prove that with other team or just move back to Europe. EuroLeague teams are barely waiting for the Croatian youngster to come back home.