What a time to be alive if you’re a Croatian basketball fan. First, Dragan Bender resurrects his career in Golden State (okay, “resurrects” is too strong a term, but he’s definitely getting minutes that he wasn’t getting in Milwaukee). Second, Dario Saric scores 16 and 24 points in consecutive games for the Suns. Third, Luka Samanic makes his NBA debut for the Spurs and almost scores a point. Fourth and finally, Mario Hezonja scores more than eleven in a game for the first time this season, dropping sixteen points on the Sacramento Kings.
That’s almost too much to take in for Croats who have been used to their countrymen simply not appearing in boxscores lately. Hezonja gets DNP’s about half the time, Bender was getting DNP’s non-stop until a few weeks ago, Samanic wasn’t even on the Spurs until a week ago, and Saric has battled some injuries. For all four of those dudes to start showing life at the same time has to be the most momentous occurrence in Croatian ballers in the NBA since Hezonja was dropping trippy-dubbies in New York City.
The Blazers, for the meantime, are still short-handed, which means that Terry Stotts desperately wishes for this version of Hezonja to show up every game. That’s a pipe dream, given what we know about Hezonja, but we’re allowed to have a little optimism, aren’t we? In the words of an old Croatian proverb: “Optimism in the face of despair is more honorable than pessimism in the face of triumph.” There are some really wise people in Croatia.