HoopsHype.com Interviews

Zoran Planinic: "I'm in a great situation"
by Jordi Vila / September 22, 2006

How do you feel back playing in Europe after three seasons with the New Jersey Nets?

Zoran Planinic: It feels good. I’m on a very good team and in an NBA-like organization so I’m excited. I’m very happy to be able to play a lot of minutes again.

Now you know both sides of basketball, the NBA and FIBA. How would you describe the differences?

ZP: The NBA is a lot faster. In the regular season, there are ups and downs. And when the playoffs arrive, it gets really serious. Before the playoffs, there is a lot of running and nothing happens if you lose a couple of games. In Europe, it’s different – every game counts from the beginning of the season.

Obviously, this is a different situation for you because you are going to play a lot of minutes and you are going to be one of the leaders of Tau. Are you happy?

ZP: I like this situation a lot, that’s why I came to Spain. Tau is one of the top three teams in Europe. We have like 10 players who can lead this team, not only me. It’s a great situation.

Was limited playing time the main reason for you to return to Europe?

ZP: Yes. I had a great point guard ahead of me in Jason Kidd. I’m not mad, because he is a Hall of Fame player. Going to Tau was a good opportunity for me.

What was the main thing you learned from Jason Kidd in the past three years?

ZP: He was a player that didn’t talk much and you couldn’t see much of his emotions, but he showed what to do with his actions. That’s a very important thing I learned from Jason Kidd.

Were there teams in the NBA interested in you?

ZP: Yes, there were a couple of teams interested. But you know, I’m still a young player. I signed for three seasons with Tau, but I always can go back to the NBA after that.

How would you describe your NBA experience?

ZP: Every practice was like a game for me. I worked very hard every day, doing extra work after practice on my shot, my dribble, everything. I’m a better player now than three years ago. But I still have a lot of work to do and I can still improve in many things, especially on defense.

Do you think injuries slowed you down in the NBA?

ZP: I don’t think injuries were a main factor. I got injured seriously in my hand once, but then Kidd went down and I was playing 25 minutes a game, and I got injured again. But I don’t think it was a key.

Do you thing that having conservative coaches stopped your progress in the NBA?

ZP: All those things don’t bother me right now as long as Tau wins games.

You can play point guard and shooting guard. Where are you more comfortable?

ZP: I can play the one, two or three, but I like to play the point guard position. It’s my natural position.

So do you think it's still possible to see you in an NBA uniform again one day?

ZP: Who knows? I’m very happy right now but you never know. I don’t close any door, I’m still young.

Jordi Vila is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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