Dio's tour of the league pulls off in the Central Division, where some young players could be looking at additional opportunities for teams that are looking to take a step forward.
October 11, 2019, 11:55 pmDragan BenderPF, Milwaukee Bucks
Dragan Bender continued his hot play on Friday with 17 points, six rebounds, three assists, three threes and two blocks.
We've all made this mistake before, but is it time to consider Bender a potential fantasy contributor? He still doesn't project to get a ton of minutes on a title-contending Milwaukee team, but his play in the preseason so far has been impressive. If you're looking for a last pick lotto ticket, maybe he's an option there.
October 9, 2019, 11:50 pmDragan BenderPF, Milwaukee Bucks
Dragan Bender stayed productive on Wednesday, posting 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting (two 3s), with three rebounds and two assists to his name in just 15 minutes of action.
This is the second straight game Bender has shown some signs of life. He chipped in 12 points with seven boards on Monday. Bender was a bust-guy while playing for the Suns, however, this fresh start with the Bucks could turn things around for him. Keep an eye on him, especially if you're playing in 16-team leagues or deeper.
October 7, 2019, 10:19 pmDragan BenderPF, Milwaukee Bucks
Dragan Bender scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting while adding a 3-pointer, seven rebounds, two assists and a block before fouling out of Monday's game against the Bulls in 17 minutes.
Bender joined the Bucks on a two-year deal and fits their mold of long players. He struggled mightily in Phoenix, but the situation was too much of a mess for him to overcome. He's still young and has potential to be a solid bench player on a team that could use some depth in the front court.
July 25, 2019, 12:01 pmDragan BenderPF, Milwaukee Bucks
Free-agent Dragan Bender has signed with the Bucks on a two-year deal.
The 4th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft was recently linked to having a verbal commitment with CSKA Moscow, but will instead stay in the NBA for the next couple years. Bender has shown flashes since coming into the league, but he has mainly disappointed during his short career. He will compete for a role off the bench in Milwaukee.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
July 17, 2019, 11:51 amDragan BenderPF, Phoenix Suns
Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops is reporting that Dragan Bender has a verbal commitment to join EuroLeague champions CSKA Moscow on a multiyear deal.
The report adds that the former No. 4 pick will take the offer unless there is an intriguing offer to him from an NBA team in the 11th hour. Bender was linked to the Cavs and the Raptors but he hasn’t been able to generate much interest in the market and the move to Europe might be the optimal choice for him now.
July 16, 2019, 10:24 amDragan BenderPF, Phoenix Suns
As Dragan Bender continues to explore the NBA market, the Cavs and the Raptors are among the teams that have inquired about the former lottery pick.
The European market also remains an option for the Croatian forward as CSKA Moscow and Fenerbache are monitoring his situation. Bender is still only 21 years old and teams around the NBA could still take a chance on him after what has been a disappointing NBA career so far with averages of 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 131 career games.
June 30, 2019, 12:57 amDragan BenderPF, Phoenix Suns
The Nets are "kicking tires" on Dragan Bender according to a report from John Gambadoro.
Gambadoro isn't typically a newsbreaker but he does have a good read on the Suns, so this is at least worth mentioning. Bender ended up with a solid finish to his season after it looked like he was on his way out of the league, and a seven-footer with theoretical 3-point range is worth taking a look at considering how affordable his next contract figures to be. The Nets are hoping to add two max players this summer and will need to fill out their roster with bargain buys like this if their dream summer comes to fruition.
Source: John Gambadoro on Twitter
April 9, 2019, 11:01 pmDragan BenderF, Phoenix Suns
Dragan Bender double-doubled on Tuesday with 12 points and 11 rebounds while adding six assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer.
Bender went 4-for-9 from the floor and played fairly well in his 36 minutes of action tonight. Bender finishes this season strong just as he did last year, but whenever the Suns were fully healthy he couldn't crack the rotation. He had a game with seven blocks and has actually looked decent in spurts, but the Suns declined his option at the beginning of the year so he'll enter the summer as an unrestricted free agent. Even with his strong stretch of games, he's still outside the top-100 in value on a per-game basis in the closing two weeks of the year. There's bound to be a team that'll give a 21 year old 7'1 stretch big man another shot in the league, but you'll want to hold your breath in terms of fantasy expectations.
April 7, 2019, 11:27 pmDragan BenderF, Phoenix Suns
Dragan Bender kept his foot on the gas on Sunday night, scoring 19 points to go with eight rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer in 36 minutes of action.
The Suns have almost nobody left to soak up frontcourt minutes so Bender's going to get his numbers over the last games. He's worth picking up if he's still available following Friday's seven-block explosion. Headed for free agency, this run might be saving Bender's NBA career after he's looked lost in the wilderness for most of his three seasons to this point.
April 6, 2019, 12:44 amDragan BenderF, Phoenix Suns
Dragan Bender dropped 11 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks and six assists in Friday night's overtime victory over the Pelicans.
The Deandre Ayton injury is giving Bender an opportunity to shine and he has rewarded anyone that took a flier on him with top-70 production over the last week. Ayton is likely done for the year so Bender is a solid streamer over the last few games of the year.
April 5, 2019, 5:14 pmRichaun HolmesF/C, Phoenix Suns
Richaun Holmes (left ankle sprain) has been ruled out of Friday’s game vs. the Pelicans.
Holmes was previously labeled probable but his absence means the short-handed Suns will have to dig deep to find a warm body to start next to Dragan Bender. That could mean Ray Spalding but his lack of any kind of track record means he is a risky play.
Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter
April 2, 2019, 12:26 amDragan BenderF, Phoenix Suns
Dragan Bender scored 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting with 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks on Monday.
Bender provided another strong outing from a fantasy standpoint and there's a strong chance that Deandre Ayton (ankle) is done for the year so if you're feeling lucky you can go and grab him, but you should take a look at Richaun Holmes, Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges before you eye Bender.
March 31, 2019, 2:56 amDragan BenderF, Phoenix Suns
Dragan Bender played 30 minutes on Saturday and produced eight points, nine rebounds, two 3s, two steals and two blocks.
Although Bender did not have an impact in the scoring department, he was able to produce the fantasy goods by providing his owners with multiple threes and defensive stats. Bender is sitting outside the top-200 in the past month, but is staring at an opportunity at more usage to close out the year with Deandre Ayton suffering an ankle sprain tonight and the Suns looking for scorers to support Devin Booker. De'Anthony Melton started and played on 18 minutes, but was able to provide two steals and two blocks and is someone to consider if you need defensive statistics going into next week.
The Suns have pieces, but can they ever get on the right track?