Among the many additions to the Atlanta Hawks heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season was Macedonian big man Pero Antic. The 31-year-old has been playing in Europe since 1999 and has garnered a solid reputation as a strong presence inside, but also as a player that can stretch the floor.
After playing for the Macedonian national team in Eurobasket 2013, where he averaged 13.8 points and eight boards per game, Antic has gotten his first taste of NBA action with the Hawks in the preseason. He’s appeared in two of Atlanta’s three games thus far in the preseason to varying results.
In his first preseason action against the Miami Heat, Antic didn’t look great at all. He played 16 minutes and finished with only three points and four rebounds. Moreover, he shot just 1-8 from the floor and 1-6 from three. In the Hawks third preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Antic looked much better as he finished with six points and two rebounds in 15 minutes of action while shooting 2-4 from the floor and 2-3 from long-distance.
Going forward, though, Antic still needs to adjust to playing in the NBA and with finding a role that he can be a consistent and solid contributor off of the bench. In his first two preseason games, he’s shown the ability to stretch the floor, but he’s fallen in love with staying out on the perimeter and hasn’t taken advantage of his strength or big frame in the post. That’s something he and the Hawks need to work on going forward.
In terms of Antic’s situation with the Hawks, though, he should have the opportunity to grab some reserve minutes early in the season with the injury to Gustavo Ayon. With Ayon out, Antic can come into games as a substitute at either frontcourt position and get some work. If he wants to find success in that role, though, he still has some work to put in over the rest of the preseason.