Dragan Bender just played the second-most minutes of his young NBA career, 33 of them to be exact. This is after the steady diet of twenty-or-so minutes per game that he had been receiving before this game. I guess I’m not exactly sure if these extra minutes are a reward for improved play or if he only got them because Marquese Chriss is slumping hard (or because the Bucks had no legitimate big-man talent on the floor), but either way, the Croats have got to be happy that their man Bender is seeing more court time and is doing something with it.
Bender’s turnovers in the overtime period were costly, but it says a lot that Jay Triano was willing to have Bender out there at all. Since the Suns are, I think, trying to win games, and I’m pretty sure Triano isn’t yet assembling purposely-bad lineups in order to tank like the Suns did at the end of last season, that proves Triano’s confidence in Bender. We’ll know Bender has really made it when they bench him with a phantom injury for the last two months of the season so they can sign some scrubs from the G-League to help them lose games.
I think I made it through this whole description without saying a negative thing about The Dragon. I’ll save all those things for the next description so I can get more of Croatia back on my side for the time being.