Career: Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia, 1998-2001), Indiana Pacers (NBA, 2001-04), Charlotte Bobcats (NBA, 2004-…). Selected in the first round (#27) in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers.
The most successful European center in the NBA. No more, no less. But it took time to happen… Primoz Brezec is last year's European success story in the NBA. The Slovenian giant posted 13 points and 7.4 rebounds for Charlotte, which earned him fourth place in the vote for NBA Most Improved Player. Brezec's numbers are far from impressive at first glance, so what's the big fuss about? Well, one has to consider that his average in the previous three seasons combined was a pitiful 1.8 point and 1,0 rebound per game. Primoz played the best season of his career and is determined not to stop there. "I consider last season my rookie year, since I finally got the chance to play" Brezec says. He's got a point: from 2001 to 04, the Pacers barely used him – 5.4 minutes per game. Charlotte gave him half an hour every night, and the Slovenian big man responded. Primoz was drafted by Indiana in 2000, as the 27th pick overall, but the Pacers sent him back for the 2000-01 campaign to his native Slovenia to sharpen up his skills. He came back to the States, but didn't enjoy the status he was hoping for. Who cares if he's a late boomer? The say that centers mature later than others; Primoz hopes to continue to improve his skills and to enjoy the next ten years as one of the prime centers in the NBA. If he follows last year's rate of improvement, the sky is the limit. As for EuroBasket, Brezec will compete with Nesterovic for a place in the Slovenian starting five. A tough job, but whoever ends-up being the starting center, it will be for the common good.