Dragan Bender started last season with Milwaukee and also played 13 games for their G-league team Wisconsin Herd (20.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game). Before the corona break he finished the season in the Golden State ranks. In nine games with the Warriors he averaged 21.7 minutes per night and contributed 9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
“We are very happy to bring Dragan Bender to the Maccabi family, everyone knows him from his previous years at the club. For us it is very important that today he is more prepared because he comes from the NBA and that he is able to help the team”, coach Giannis Sfairopoulos told maccabi.co.il after the signing. “We are very excited about this collaboration”.
“There are a lot of things he can do to help the team”, the Greek coach explained. “We can use him as a power forward or center, so he can play in two positions. He can create a threat from inside and out and of course he can help us defensively with his big body and long arms in rebounding and blocking shots. Welcome to the Maccabi family”.
“Coming back to Tel Aviv and to Maccabi for sure feels like coming back to my second home”, Dragan Bender told maccabi.co.il. “I want to help this club that I love and use my experience from the last 4 years. After Talking to coach Giannis I decided I want to come and this is the opportunity to say that I wish for better times, times that we could meet the amazing Maccabi fans in the arena, in person and make them happy”.
Bender is a forward who stands to a height of 216 centimeters with good shooting beyond the arc, has good ball-handling skills, alongside game viosion and good passing skills for a player of his dimensions. During his time in Phoenix he mainly played in the power forward position, but during the last year with Milwaukee and Golden State he played mainly in the No. 3 position.
Bender’s maturity and good ability in games in the Golden State uniform is especially evident in the 36 minutes index, which next reflects the ability of a player taking part in an almost full game. In this table, his figures stand at 15 points (with two threes per evening), 9.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per 36 minutes of play.
Bender arrived from Split to the Maccabi Tel Aviv academy with another Croatian teenager called Ante Zizic. The first remained with the youth and senior teams and was later picked fourth in the NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. After three seasons in Arizona he migrated to Milwaukee last summer and arrived this summer with 187 NBA games in his personal record.