Drazen Petrovic Rumors
But while the Celts played the Yugoslavian national team in the first doubleheader in Madrid that year, Ainge made sure to catch the 6-foot-5 guard’s performance in Real Madrid’s win over Scavolini Pesaro. “I was really intrigued by him watching him play in the first game,” Ainge said. “I had read and heard about him and how dominant he was over there in Europe. He’d had 60-point games and something like a 40-point average in a five- or six-game stretch. I remember just really being impressed with him and the players.”
“He wasn’t a great defender in the NBA and didn’t have that great speed, but he did really understand the offensive game of basketball, and he was a great competitor,” Ainge said. “He was a much better competitor than people realized, because of his offensive flair and his charisma and his shooting ability. He was a much more intense competitor than I think people in the NBA realized. He definitely was a fierce, competitive kid. As much as any player I’ve ever been around, basketball was everything to him.
He was visibly caught off guard when asked if the Petrovic comparisons put undue pressure on him. Hezonja paused and did his best to compose the answer just right. It was clear to see Petrovic is still an emotional trigger for Croatians. “He was the best player in the world at the time, so of course it is good to hear that,” Hezonja said. “But I don’t like the comparison because it is disrespectful, so I don’t like it.”