Nationality: Argentina | Team: Independiente de Neuquén | Birthday: 17/03/2005 | Height: 6’2”
Drazen Sinigoj is an Argentinian player born on March 17, 2005 in Neuquén who is already playing with professionals. He’s the youngest player having considerable minutes in the Torneo Federal, the third division of Basketball in Argentina. In this context, he shows extremely remarkable poise and personality in the way he moves on the court and how he plays.
Sinigoj made his debut in this tournament when he was 14 years old. His participation draws a lot of attention because there is no other player born in 2004 or 2005 playing in this competition. Also, if we go back a few years, Argentine players who are either playing for NBA teams or were recently drafted like Facundo Campazzo, Luca Vildoza and Leandro Bolmaro, had not played against professionals until they were 16 years old or older. Obviously in these three cases, we are talking about a more competitive league, but it is equally surprising that being so young Sinigoj can face much older players.
Sinigoj is a 6’2” combo guard. His body control is very good, and this allows him to withstand contact well against stronger players. At a more demanding level of competition, he should be a player who can defend both point guards and shooting guards.
The main virtue of his game is the shooting. As he’s playing with more experienced people, most of the time he is off the ball, and he took advantage of this, improving his movement without the ball and taking good shots as a catch-and-shoot player. Most of his points come this way. He’s already averaging more than 5 points per game in about 20 minutes of play.
Besides this, Sinigoj can create some points with the ball in his hands, mostly three-point shots with a step back or long twos after playing the pick-and-roll. Also, when he’s playing 2-on-2 situations, he has good vision, and this allows him to find his teammates.
He’s still having some difficulties converting through contact near to the rim. Although, when he has the chance he tries to make some layups. It is normal that this happens to him because of the physical difference as a 16-year old playing against grown men. In addition, he has already shown that he is a good finisher in the paint when playing against his age group.
Another thing that impressed me a lot is his ball-handling. He’s very reliable driving the ball to the frontcourt despite the defensive pressure. It’s not easy for a 16-year old player to do that against stronger, heavier defenders. Drazen is also great at pushing the ball and finding teammates on the fastbreak, and moving the ball in the half-court offense.
On the other hand, defense is Sinogoj’s weakest point and he has to improve on that side of the court. As we said, we are talking about a 16-year old player, so it’s obvious that opponents are going to attack him hard in 1-on-1 situations both in the perimeter and in the paint. But that is not the biggest problem in defense, he’s quite correct in that aspect of the game.
The area in which he has to step up is in his defense and concentration when he is on the weak side. There are some moments that he’s too close to his assignment and not to the ball. Also, he has to be more aggressive when defending the screens. He takes a long time to get back to the ball handler and gives a huge advantage to the offense. Finally, he would have to help the team more on the rebound, mainly on the defensive boards.
Overall he looks like a very smart player with a great individual technique, mainly in offense, and he’s gaining a lot of experience playing against bigger players. His shot is very good and he has great ball-handling ability, so he should be able to continue improving in the creation of space for jumpers and for some inside shots. His weak point is clearly defense, but he has the physical potential to be able to progress in this part of the game.
For his growth as a player, it will be important to move to a higher level competition when he has the opportunity and when he feels ready to raise the level. If he can continue developing his game, added to the physical growth that he should have in the coming years, he will probably become a great player in the top European level.