The Phoenix Suns took Dragan Bender with the No. 4 pick in last year’s draft, and like much of the top of this draft class he’s not come around quickly (not one of the top 10 picks in the draft started opening night for their respective teams).
On paper, the 7-foot forward fits the direction NBA bigs are going because he showed off a three-point shot overseas, plus has good court vision and passing skills. He was also very raw and not physically strong enough, and that showed as he tried to adjust to the NBA. Bender played in 38 games for the Suns, averaging 3.2 points a game on 37 percent shooting 32.1 percent from three), with a PER of 5.9. He’s got a long way to go before we know if he’s an NBA rotation player or not.
This setback is not going to help.
Bender is done for the season due to an upcoming ankle surgery. These reports are from overseas (Bender is Croatian ) but reliable sources. From Sportando then David Pick:
Dragan Bender is done for the season, according to Croatian journalist Bernard Djurisic. The Croatian rookie will need ankle surgery and miss at least three months of action.
This isn’t going to impact the Suns on the court, Bender had played in just one of the last eight games for the team and was getting limited minutes before that.
However, it’s a setback in the efforts to develop the young forward.