PLAYER PROFILE: Nikola Koprivica


Nikola Koprivica Nik_koprivica_medium_medium

#4 / Guard / Washington St. Cougars 

6-6

221

senior

Belgrade, Serbia

Sport Grammar School

International Business


For those of you who are new to this site, the stats used in the bio are from kenpom.com.  For some help getting acquainted with these stats, read this primer.

Scouting Report: Nik burst on the scene his freshman year and quickly earned minutes on a very good team with his skills on the defensive end and his ability to get to the basket and draw fouls on the offensive end.  Unfortunately, his freshman season was cut short with a major knee injury against Oregon.

Before that premature end to his season, Koprivica put up a very respectable 98.6 offensive rating (ORtg) while taking 20.6% of the team's shots while he was on the floor.  His most impressive numbers were his free throw rate (FTR) of 41.1 and 3.8 fouls drawn per forty minutes.  He also was solid in defensive rebounding for a guard, garnering 12.2% of the opportunities.

Nikola's sophomore season saw an increase in minutes and an overall decrease in effectiveness.  While he was still very good at getting to the line (45.9 FTR while taking just 16% of the shots), he started turning the ball over too frequently (22.6 TO Rate) and saw his ORtg dip to 87.1.  One factor, outside of the turnovers, that played a large part in his ORtg dip was his failure to hit shots from behind the arc.  He was a miserable 4 from 29 from three.

The regression continued during Koprivica's junior year.  Without the distraction of stars like Kyle Weaver and Derrick Low, Nik was no longer able to do the one thing that made him a threat on the offensive end.  His FTR dipped to 18.7.  Even though Nik was able to hit three pointers at a higher percentage (27%) he still saw his ORtg dip to 78.0.  He also became even less involved in the offense, taking just 12.5% of the shots.  The most disturbing stat out of Nik's 08-09 campaign is a 29.9 turnover rate.  Generally, one would hope that a player takes better care of the ball as they gain experience, but that has definitely not been the case for Koprivica.

Heading into Nikola's senior season it is clear his strengths are at the defensive end.  He is still a very good rebounding guard and an effective man-to-man defender.  If he wants to play a more significant role on a team loaded with talent at guard, he is going to have to regain some of the offensive ability he flashed in his freshman year.  He is the only player on the roster that has proven in the past that he can get to the basket and draw fouls at the Pac 10 level.  If he can do that again this year, expect to see him on the floor on a frequent basis.

Best Case Scenario:  The new, open offense proves to be a perfect match for Koprivica.  Playing with a new confidence, Nik is back to his freshman self, going to the hole and drawing fouls.  This ability makes all his teammates better, as he sets up open outside looks for guys like Klay Thompson, Mike Harthun, and Abe Lodwick.  Koprivica takes care of the ball, rarely turning it over.  He is good on the boards and keeps his man off the stat sheet on a regular basis.  Ken Bone can find no reason to keep him out of the lineup and he plays thirty minutes a night.

Worst Case Scenario:  Nik's regression continues.  In Bone's fast-paced offense he finds that he simply cannot keep up with the new infusion of athleticism.  He is tentative with the ball and doesn't drive to the basket or draw fouls.  His turnover rate stays at his junior level as he makes mistakes just trying to get into the offense.  His impact on the defensive glass is diminished, as athletic guards like Marcus Capers and Reggie Moore snatch up opportunities.  He finds it difficult to get on the floor and get in rhythm, averaging just 10-15 minutes per night.

Likely Scenario:  Nik improves his turnover rate, but still is hovering around his sophomore number of 22.6.  The open offense does allow Nik to get to the hole more often, just not to the level he did in his first two seasons.  He is his same old self on the defensive glass and in the  man-to-man.  With a crowded backcourt, Koprivica sees his playing dip a little bit from the past and he plays 15-20 minutes a night.

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