Former Brooklyn Nets First Rounder Bests Luka Doncic Overseas

Brooklyn Nets, Dzanan Musa (Photo by ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets, Dzanan Musa (Photo by ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP via Getty Images) /

Combo guard Džanan Musa is only brought up these days as a joke punchline amongst Brooklyn Nets fans. While surely excited at first to be joining the NBA after playing four years overseas, he could not have picked a tougher time to join the Nets when he did so back in the summer of 2018.

Musa barely touched the floor during his rookie campaign, playing mainly on Long Island. Regardless, the Nets were still a young team by the end of it, led by prospects and with no title pressure as far as the eye could see. Surely that would not change in the one offseason between his rookie and sophomore year.

Spoiler alert: it did.

The Nets acquired Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving the following summer. The free and easy environment that once surrounded Musa quickly brewed into a storm, as the team’s goals went from fostering young talent to building a championship roster in a flash.

Even with the then-injured Durant never suiting up beside Musa, he struggled to find proper footing on the new era Nets during the 2019-20 season. His defense and shot selection made long stretches with him on the floor tough to watch. He averaged just 4.8 points per game and posted inefficient .372/.244/.750 shooting splits.

After that season, the Nets traded him to the Detroit Pistons, who waived him just before the 2020-21 campaign tipped off.

The NBA and Musa simply did not work out. I don’t mean to rag on him by saying this. Talented prospects struggle to make it in the league year in and year out. If anything, you almost feel compelled to root for Musa wherever the game takes him next.

Well, for those feeling that same way, look no further than EuroBasket 2022 to ease your conscience.

Former Brooklyn Nets Guard Dzanan Musa is Cooking at EuroBasket

While the NBA’s big names like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, and even another ex-Net in Goran Dragic continue to stir up hype at EuroBasket 2022, Musa is putting on his own show and doing quite a fine job with it

Currently playing for the Bosnian national team, Musa is averaging 21.4 points per game, the fifth most across the entire tournament. Some of the players Musa has outscored thus far include Dennis Schroder, Jonas Valanciunas, Jusuf Nurkic, Deni Avdija, and fellow ex-Net Bojan Bogdanovic.

As it stands now, he is outscoring the reigning league MVP in Jokic as well. Musa’s efforts in a game this past weekend also helped his team hand Doncic his first loss of the tournament. Not too shabby for a guy mocked all the way from Brooklyn back to Newark.

But even with Musa having bested so many household names this summer, the way he’s turned his weaknesses with the Nets into strengths at EuroBasket remains his most impressive accomplishment.

The aforementioned inefficiencies Musa suffered from in Brooklyn have been replaced by pristine numbers at EuroBasket. His shooting splits currently stand at .571/.450/.867. That field goal percentage ranks in the top five and his free throw percentage ranks in the top-10.

This is by no means a campaign for the Nets to bring Musa back. This current Brooklyn Nets squad has more than enough shot makers and instead needs to concentrate on rounding out their defense with any remaining moves this summer.

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However, if Musa is trying to work his way back into the league, perhaps on another team, he’s making about as good a case as possible with his performance at EuroBasket. As long as that team’s not the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, or Miami Heat, I’m sure Nets fans will be pulling for him.