So is Balša Koprivica ready to join the Pistons

Detroit Pistons introduced draft picks. Mandatory credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press via USA TODAY NETWORK
Detroit Pistons introduced draft picks. Mandatory credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press via USA TODAY NETWORK /

One player the Detroit Pistons drafted last year has yet to play in an NBA game. Balsa Koprivica chose instead to play in his native Serbia, but the Pistons still retain his rights. Will he attempt a return this season and try and make the team?

He was there for the post-NBA Draft press conference and then in Las Vegas for Summer League, but that was the last Pistons fans have seen of Balsa Koprivica, who Detroit took with the 57th pick in the 2021 draft, which was part of the Mason Plumlee trade.

That he was officially part of a trade hurt Koprivica’s chances to shine last off-season. Because he had to wait until the Plumlee trade officially went through, Koprivica was only allowed to participate in one practice before they flew off to Vegas for summer league.

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Koprivica’s timing was also bad. After Luka Garza, selected six picks before Koprivica, tore it up in the summer league, he was signed to a two-way contract. That left Detroit, at the time, with 18 guaranteed contracts for 17 spots. There, literally, was no place to put Koprivica.

He had played high school ball with Cade Cunningham at Montverde Academy and then two years at Florida State, so Koprivica was acclimated to the American style of ball, and obviously hoping for a spot in the NBA.

However, he could see the writing on the wall, and signed a three-year deal with KK Partizan in Serbia. It is assumed, like most European deals, that his contract has an out if he makes an NBA team (and his club team gets some $$$ in return).

Under NBA rules, the Pistons still own his rights. That means the only NBA team that Koprivica can try out for this off-season is Detroit, unless the Pistons renounced his rights.

So you might see Koprivica back on the Pistons summer league team. This time, he can be a full participant in practices  beforehand, and be properly acclimated.

Standing 7-foot-1 and weighing 240, Koprivica just turned 22-years-old, so he is still a young prospect.

How is Koprivica doing with Partizan this year (their season is still in progress)? This was nice:

How did Detroit Pistons draft pick Balsa Koprivica do in Europe?

According to, Koprivica averages 6.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 16 minutes a game. He finished second in the EuroCup in blocks per game, and fifth in offensive rebounds.

Per 36 minutes, Koprivica averages 14.6 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks a game. That is pretty good for someone who was basically a role player at Florida State.

Obviously, he has made an impact with his size. While not NBA level, Partizan played a good European schedule, while also participating in the Adriatic League, where two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic got his start.

Koprivica is strictly an inside presence for Partizan. He has not attempted a single three-pointer, according to the stats, which is something that is almost mandatory in the NBA.  Koprivica had been working on his outside shot when he was with the Pistons last summer, so he does have that ability.

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Partizan is playing in the Adriatic League final, so Koprivica is contributing to a winning team.

You can be sure that Pistons general manager Troy Weaver has been monitoring Koprivica’s progress. Most NBA teams have European scouts and also have scouts make tours of European club games to check players out.

The scoring part, particularly the lack of outside shooting, probably is not ideal, but could Detroit use a big man who can hit the offensive boards and block shots? Absolutely.

Is there room to fit in Koprivica now? Well, Detroit does not have more guaranteed contracts then roster sports, unlike last summer, so that is a positive for his chances. And the current group of players went 23-59 last year, so it is not like the bench players solidified their positions.

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Whether we see Balsa Koprivica in Summer League (and maybe play more than last year) is something to follow as part of the Pistons off-season developments. Detroit fans certainly would like to see how he looks after a year of development.