Partizan's Rebuild: A Path to Success or Recipe for Disaster?

Partizan’s Rebuild: A Path to Success or Recipe for Disaster?

Written By Themis Prokopiou.

As a passionate Euroleague fan, I find myself pondering the current state of Partizan Belgrade. Are they in the process of self-destruction, or is this an essential overhaul under the guidance of Željko Obradović? My opinion leans heavily on the belief in Obradović’s experience and wisdom, yet I have significant reservations about reconstructing a team from scratch without retaining a core group to build upon.

The Overhaul Begins.

This offseason, Partizan has embarked on a massive rebuilding process. According to Mozzart Sport, Željko Obradović is actively seeking to strengthen the squad by adding two more key players: a high-profile point guard and a center. The expectation is that the new point guard will either come from the NBA or have significant European experience.

Uncertainty Surrounding Caboclo.

Bruno Caboclo’s future with Partizan remains uncertain due to recent events, making his stay with the team unlikely. This uncertainty adds another layer of complexity to the rebuilding process, as the team must find a suitable replacement to maintain its competitive edge.

Signed but Not Yet Announced.

Sterling Brown, Arian Lakić, Isaac Bonga, Mario Nakić, Isaiah Mike, Tyrique Jones, and Brandon Davies have all signed contracts with Partizan. However, they have not yet been officially announced by the club. It’s expected that Partizan’s management will gradually reveal these signings in the coming days, completing the roster for the upcoming season.

Željko Obradović has emphasized the club’s commitment to building a competitive team:

“We will build a good team for the next season, even though we don’t have many players on our roster right now. President Ostoja Mijailović, sports director Zoran Savić, and I, along with the coaching staff, will do everything necessary to ensure Partizan is at a high level, where we all want it to be.”

Obradović’s Experience vs. Complete Overhaul.

Željko Obradović is undeniably one of the most respected coaches in European basketball. His track record speaks for itself, having won numerous championships and built several successful teams throughout his illustrious career. I believe in Obradović and his strategic vision. However, Partizan’s current strategy raises some serious questions. The idea of overhauling a team entirely, especially after a season where they finished 11th in the regular season with a 16-18 record, seems risky at best.

The Obradović Factor.

Obradović’s coaching philosophy is grounded in discipline, tactical acumen, and the ability to extract the best from his players. His experience and knowledge are invaluable assets to any team he coaches. However, even the best coaches need time to implement their systems effectively, especially with a completely new roster. The challenge for Obradović will be integrating a host of new players into his system while maintaining the high standards he sets for his teams.

Last Season’s Core Players.

Last season, Partizan had a roster that included notable players like Kevin Punter, Zach LeDay, Bruno Caboclo, Frank Kaminsky, James Nunnally, and PJ Dozier. Despite the talent, the team failed to qualify for the playoffs, finishing 11th in the regular season. This was a clear indication that something needed to change, but was a complete overhaul the right answer?

Key Departures.

  • Kevin Punter: A reliable scorer and leader on the court. Punter’s departure leaves a significant void in the team’s offensive capabilities.
  • Zach LeDay: Provided consistent performance in the frontcourt. His departure means losing a versatile player who contributed significantly on both ends of the floor.
  • Bruno Caboclo: Showed potential but faced challenges. His departure adds to the instability in the team’s frontcourt.
  • Frank Kaminsky: Brought NBA experience but had an underwhelming season. Despite his struggles, Kaminsky’s experience could have been valuable in a more stable environment.
  • James Nunnally & PJ Dozier: Contributed but couldn’t lift the team to the playoffs. Their departure further depletes the team’s depth and experience.

Concerns About the Overhaul.

Partizan’s management, under Obradović’s direction, has decided to part ways with almost the entire roster, retaining only Balsa Koprivica from last season. They have announced new signings like Vanja Marinković, Iffe Lundberg, and Frank Ntilikina, with more expected to join. While these are promising additions, the lack of a core group from last season to build upon is concerning. Building team chemistry takes time, and starting from scratch means they are essentially racing against the clock.

The Challenge of Building Chemistry.

Basketball is a team sport that relies heavily on chemistry and cohesion. Players need time to understand each other’s tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. This understanding is developed through practice, games, and shared experiences on and off the court. A complete overhaul disrupts this process and puts the team at a disadvantage, especially in a highly competitive league like the Euroleague.

High Expectations and Realistic Outcomes.

Partizan fans, myself included, have high expectations for the upcoming season. The club aims to compete at a high level in both the Euroleague and the ABA League. However, the rapid roster changes might lead to instability. Basketball is as much about teamwork and cohesion as it is about individual talent. Integrating new players into Obradović’s system will be challenging, and the team might struggle to find its rhythm early on.

Potential Risks of the Overhaul.

The decision to reconstruct the team from scratch comes with several risks. The lack of continuity and the time required to build chemistry could result in a slow start to the season. This, in turn, could impact the team’s chances of making the playoffs, especially in a highly competitive league.

The Importance of a Strong Start.

In the Euroleague, every game counts. A slow start can put a team in a difficult position, making it harder to catch up as the season progresses. Partizan cannot afford to lose too many games early in the season if they hope to qualify for the playoffs. The pressure on Obradović and his new roster will be immense, and how they handle this pressure will be critical to their success.

The Role of the Management.

The decisions made by President Ostoja Mijailović and sports director Zoran Savić will significantly impact the team’s performance.

Obradović’s vision for the team must be supported by the management. This includes providing the necessary resources for player development, ensuring a stable and positive environment, and making strategic decisions that align with the coach’s philosophy. Management’s role in facilitating Obradović’s vision cannot be understated.

The Importance of Player Development.

In addition to building chemistry, player development will be crucial for Partizan’s success.

Players like Koprivica have the potential to become key contributors, but they need time and support to reach their full potential. Partizan’s coaching staff must focus on developing these players while integrating the new signings into the team.


In conclusion, Partizan’s massive rebuild under Željko Obradović is a bold move that comes with both high risks and high rewards. While I have concerns about the stability and cohesion of the newly formed team, I remain hopeful that Obradović’s experience and strategic vision will guide Partizan to a successful season. However, the challenges of integrating so many new players and building team chemistry cannot be overlooked.

As a dedicated Euroleague fan, I will be watching closely to see if Partizan can overcome these challenges and emerge as a competitive force in the league. Whether this overhaul will lead to success or disaster remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: the upcoming season will be a defining one for Partizan Belgrade.


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