by Conrad Brunner
May 19, 2003
By the Numbers: Appeared in 22 games, averaging 5.0 minutes, 1.9 points and 1.0 rebound. He shot 39.5 percent from the field and 60 percent from the free-throw line. Led the team in free-throw attempts per 48 minutes (8.6) and was second in offensive rebounds per 48 minutes (5.6). Most productive game came on Nov. 22 when he played 10 minutes, producing six points and four rebounds in a rout of Orlando.
Playoffs: Not on the postseason roster.
Plus-Minus: During the regular season, he ranked eighth at plus-21 overall, plus-1.0 per game.
Contract Status: Entering the third year of a reported four-year, $3.79 million contract.
Analysis: Since Brad Miller was acquired to be the starting center midway through the 2001-02 season, Brezec’s role has dwindled to little more than occasional garbage-time minutes. Earlier in the ’01-02 season he started consecutive games and appeared to be on the way to a place in the rotation, but that came to an end with the Chicago trade. Though he has good athleticism and a nice touch for a big man, his low-post game remains very much a work in progress. He also needs to develop as a defensive rebounder. In two seasons, he has more offensive rebounds (31) and defensive (22). Enjoyed the best season of his career as a forward with Kraski in Slovenia in 1997-98, averaging 19.2 points and 6.9 rebounds, playing quite a bit on the perimeter. Upon signing with the bigger, more powerful Olimpija Ljubljana team in 1998, the process of converting him into a center began with mixed results. He averaged 6.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in two seasons with Olimpija before the Pacers drafted him with the No. 27 overall pick in 2000. He spent one more year in Slovenia before coming to the United States, averaging 10.6 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting an astonishing 74 percent from the field.
Crystal Ball: It’s hard to envision a more prominent role opening up for Brezec unless free-agent disaster befalls the Pacers and either Jermaine O’Neal or Brad Miller depart.
Final Grade: Incomplete.