Nemanja Nedovic is nicknamed the "European Derrick Rose," but the Warriors' first-round pick says he's coming to the NBA to make his own name.
The Serbian guard joined the Warriors' backcourt on Thursday after general manager Bob Myers picked up his draft rights (No. 30) by swinging deals with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns. Nedovic draws comparisons to the Bulls point guard because of his athletic style of play, but the 22-year-old knows he'll need to work hard to earn respect in the NBA.
"It's not real to compare me to him," Nedovic said. "Maybe I'm the European Derrick Rose, but I'm not the real one."
The Nova Varos, Serbia-native, who's played four seasons of professional basketball in Europe (three in Serbia, one in Lithuania), picked up his nickname on YouTube because of his ability to slash, explode to the basket and dunk — rare attributes for European point guards.
The acquisition of Nedovic could help the Warriors absorb the loss of Jarrett Jack if valuable reserve decides to part ways with the club via free agency over the summer. At 6-foot-4, 192 pounds, Nedovic, who averaged 11.1 points and 3.8 assists with the Lithuanian club Lietuvos rystas last year, can run the point or fill in at shooting guard and he said his game should complement the team.
"I think that I will I fit very, very good on the team," Nedovic said, adding: "The great shooters [will] open a lot of space for me to create shots for my teammates."
Nedovic, who's yet to sign a contract with the Warriors, said his agent is seeking permission from the coach of the Serbian national team to play in the NBA summer league this month. He said his intention is to sign with the Warriors.
"The people from the Warriors want to see me in the summer league, see what my qualities are, how I can help the team," Nedovic said. "I think it's their decision to see if I'm going to be on the roster or not."
Around 2001 or 2002, Nedovic played basketball for the first time and knew right away that it was his sport. The game was a natural fit for his size and speed and he grew up wanting to be Kobe Bryant.
Nedovic said he plans to work on every aspect of his game over the summer with special focus on his defense and midrange jumper. Growing up, he bounced around from Serbia to France to Austria to Germany to Italy to accommodate his father's handball career, so he expects to adapt to life in the U.S. quickly
"I'm used to it," he said.