Rade Zagorac: Chandler Parsons 2.0?

Mar 11, 2017; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons warms up prior to the game against the Atlanta Hawks at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2017; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons warms up prior to the game against the Atlanta Hawks at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

As of right now, the Memphis Grizzlies have no picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. However, Rade Zagorac could make us forget all about that.

Last summer, the Grizzlies added “Mr. Chancun” Chandler Parsons, a 6’9” wing who can shoot and be a secondary playmaker. This summer, the Grizzlies will add Rade Zagorac, another 6’9” wing who can shoot and be a secondary playmaker. Rade, the team’s 35th pick from last year, is set to finally make his debut during the 2017-18 season.

It’s no secret that the Grizzlies have found more misery than success in the draft (I‘ll never forget you, Rodney Hood). However, Zagorac has a chance to be a true jackpot for Grind City.


In the modern NBA, versatility is key. The dream of “positionless basketball” requires players to play multiple positions and do multiple things well. One-dimensional players often end up becoming mere journeymen in the NBA. That being said, Rade Zagorac is a highly versatile, unique player.

Zagorac has an offensive skill-set that coach Fizdale raved about in Parsons’ game. His length and wingspan allow him to play the 2-4 whenever he’s on the court. He’s not merely a post-up big, or a playmaking wing, but rather he can do both at a fairly high level. He’s quite graceful and explosive for a player who’s 6’9”. His length also allows him to be a very diverse scorer. Zagorac has very good handles for a player of his size, can create his own shot, and is effective at getting to the rim. His size also allows him to be effective in post-up situations against shorter players.

Like Chandler Parsons, Rade is also an excellent playmaker. He has shown flashes of being a great pick-and-roll ball-handler, and perhaps someone who can run a team when there’s not a point guard on the floor. He can be a matchup nightmare when he’s guarded by larger players in these situations due to his superb one-on-one skills.

Rade has compared himself to Danilo Gallinari and Nicholas Batum, two excellent playmaking wings. However, perhaps a more apt comparison already exists on this Grizzlies’ roster. Zagorac averaged 15 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game for the KK Mega Leks last season. Chandler Parsons has career averages of 13.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Could this be the second coming of “Chancun?” Rade most likely won’t be putting out peak-Parsons numbers next season. However, he does have a very similar skill set that will allow him to provide good minutes next season for the Grizzlies.


This may be the part where everyone tries to jump off of the “Rade Zagorac: 2021 NBA MVP” bandwagon. Despite a wide skill-set, Rade has definite weaknesses currently present in his game.

Defense. It’s always defense, isn’t it? Though his length allows for potential on that end, his lack of lateral quickness causes him to struggle to contain guards defensively. At only 205 pounds, he’ll also badly need to get stronger to hold his own in the post against the larger players of the NBA on both ends of the court. His lack of strength also hurts him in containing dribble penetration. Suffice to say that Rade won’t be picking fights with Blake Griffin his first few seasons in the league.

Despite his ability to score, Rade’s jumper isn’t as consistent as it will need to be at the NBA level. During this past season for the Mega Leks, Zagorac shot only 33.8 percent from three. During the 2015-16 season, he shot only 28 percent from three. To become an effective player for the Grizzlies,he will have to space the floor and become a more consistent 3-point shooter.


What do you think of when you think of the Memphis Grizzlies? All heart. Grit ‘N’ Grind. We don’t bluff.

Everything about Rade Zagorac just screams that he was meant to be a Memphis Grizzly. At the 2016 Vegas Summer League, Jerry West (the logo!) talked about how impressed he was with Rade’s toughness. That’s no small praise coming from one of the most clutch performers in NBA history. During the 2015-16 season, Zagorac broke his arm the first game of the season and then played the rest of the gameHe finished that game with 16 points and six rebounds.

Some players just have that certain something. Some players play with an extra edge of toughness and grit, and Rade Zagorac appears to be one of those players.

Next: Chandler Parsons Insurance Plan


Despite being drafted in the 2nd round, Rade Zagorac has the chance to be a really good player for the Memphis Grizzlies. He may or may not become the next Chandler Parsons, but his unique combination of size and playmaking could earn him minutes right at the beginning of the season. He has definite weaknesses that he’ll need to work on to be able to hold his own in the NBA. However, Rade brings toughness, a strong work ethic, and potential to the table. And if you’re a fan of the Memphis Grizzlies, what more can you ask for?