Dragan Bender
Dragan Bender
22-Year-Old ForwardF
Free Agent  Foreign  
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Dragan Bender in 2019. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a 10-day contract with the Warriors in February of 2020. Signed a second 10-day contract with the Warriors in February of 2020.
Personal Bio

Dragan Bender, son of Bernada and Rafo, was born in 1997 in Capljina, Croatia. Bender's younger brother, Ivan, is a senior basketball player at the University of Maryland. Bender played four professional seasons in Europe, most recently in Maccabi Tel Aviv, for whom he played 42 games in Israel and across Europe while averaging 4.4 points per game. He made his professional debut in 2012-13 at just 15, playing for KK Split in Croatia's A-1 League. In 2017, Bender played for the Croatian National Team in the FIBA Eurobasket Tournament, averaging 4.3 points and two rebounds as Croatia finished in tenth. You can find Dragan Bender on Twitter @DBender03 and on Instagram @Draganbender35.

College/International Summary

Bender was something of a basketball prodigy in Croatia. He played professionally when he was 15, appearing in two games for KK Split. In 2013-14, he played for a second division team, KK Kastela. Later that season, Bender played for the KK Cedevita junior team in the Euroleague Basketball Next Generation Tournament. Against the KK Mega Basket junior team of Serbia, the 7-foot forward notched 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists. He moved to the Israeli Basketball Premier League in 2014 and played for Ironi Ramat Gan of the second division league where he averaged 9.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 28 games. Bender moved back to the first division for the 2015-16 season. In 25 games for Maccabi Tel Aviv, the forward provided 5.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 13.7 minutes. Bender also appeared for the Croatian national team in the 2012 and 2013 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship as well as the 2014 Under-18 Championship, where he led his home country to the bronze medal with 14.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists.

Going overseas
FFree Agent
September 23, 2020
Bender has signed a contract to play in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Nemanja Zoric reports.
ANALYSIS
Bender saw action with both Milwaukee and Golden State in 2019-20, averaging 6.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 17.9 minutes. However, there was going to be little interest for Bender in the NBA after four underwhelming campaigns. As a result, he's opted to go overseas, where he should see a bigger role.
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Past Season Summaries
2019

Bender made his 2019-20 season debut with the Bucks Nov. 23 during a win over the Pistons. He played two minutes and posted one assist and one block. He appeared in seven total games with Milwaukee, averaging 3.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 13.0 minutes. The 7-foot forward was waived by the Bucks on Feb. 10. He then signed two 10-day contracts with the Warriors. When Bender made his Golden State debut Feb. 23, he posted six points (2-8 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 0-2 FT), five rebounds, three assists and one block in 20 minutes. Appearing in nine games for the Warriors before the season went on hiatus, the four-year pro averaged 9.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 21.7 minutes. Overall, Bender set single-game season highs of 23 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals. He shot 44.6 percent from the field, 34.9 percent from three and 71.4 percent from the free-throw line. In games that Bender saw 20-plus minutes, he averaged 8.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

2018

Bender appeared in 46 games (27 starts) with the Suns in 2018-19. He saw 18.0 minutes per game and averaged 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He shot 44.7 percent from the field (career high), 21.8 percent from distance and 59.3 percent from the charity stripe. Per 100 possessions, he set career highs in points (13.3), rebounds (10.6), assists (3.2) and steals (1.0). Bender's 9.5 Player Efficiency Rating also marked a career high. Across his 27 starts, he averaged 7.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists while totaling 21 blocks and 17 steals. During a seven-point win over the Pelicans, Bender had his best performance of the season, racking up 11 points (4-7 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 3-6 FT), 10 rebounds, seven blocks (career high) and six assists. That marked one of his five double-doubles on the season and one of his three games with at least five assists. Bender was part of a successful five-man lineup that was plus-3.1 points per 100 possessions in a 64-minute sample, and it included De'Anthony Melton, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton. Bender was also more effective at home, posting a better true-shooting percentage (55.2) than on the road.

2017

After playing 43 games as a rookie, Bender took the court for all 82 contests in 2017-18, including 37 starts. He nearly doubled his playing time, going from 13.3 minutes to 25.2, while posting career highs across the board. Bender averaged 6.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists. He also shot 38.6 percent from the field, 36.6 percent from three and 76.5 percent from the charity stripe. Arguably his best performance of the season was Feb. 10 during a 10-point loss to the Nuggets. In 33 minutes, Bender recorded 23 points (9-15 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 2-2 FT), eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal. Bender also tallied three double-doubles, 16 games scoring in double-digits, 38 games with at least five rebounds, four games with at least five assists, 19 games with one or more steals and 37 games with at least one block. Bender's most productive month of the season was April. In five games, he averaged 13.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 block. Plus, he shot 53.3 percent from the field, 46.7 percent from three and 60.0 percent from the free-throw line. The Suns finished the season 21-61 and did not make the playoffs.

2016

The No. 4 overall selection in the 2016 draft, Bender struggled with an ankle injury for a good portion of his freshman campaign. Despite being limited to just 43 games, the 18-year-old put together some impressive performances. Bender began his NBA career with a 10-point effort in an opening night loss to Sacramento on Oct, 26. He nailed a pair of three-pointers in that game. All told, Bender posted double figures in scoring on five different occasions. That included a season-high 11 points against Houston the day after Christmas. In that same game, Bender added a season-high 13 rebounds. The 7-foot-1 big man also displayed an ability to chip in defensively throughout the course of the year. Bender logged four multi-block efforts. He also posted one three-steal tally.

2019
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Transaction History
  • June 23, 2016
    Selected by the Phoenix Suns in the first round (fourth pick) of the 2016 NBA Draft.
  • July 7, 2016
    Signed a rookie-scale contract with the Phoenix Suns
  • July 26, 2019
    Signed a two-year contract as a free agent with the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • February 11, 2020
    Waived by the Milwaukee Bucks
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
After playing in just 43 games as a rookie, Bender took the court for all 82 contests this past season, including picking up 37 starts. He nearly doubled his playing time, going from 13.3 minutes to 25.2, while posting career highs across the board. However, those averages were still just 6.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists, so despite the improvements, Bender wasn't a viable Fantasy option in the bulk of leagues. His upside as a floor-stretching big man still remains after hitting 1.4 three-pointers at a 36.6 percent clip, but if he doesn't take another step forward as an all-around player during the upcoming campaign, the Suns could look elsewhere to fill their power forward minutes. With the potential for the Suns to roll out some small ball lineups with guys like Trevor Ariza and T.J. Warren at the four, as well as less time being available at center following the addition of No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, Bender could have a tough time even matching his workload from last year. It'll be safe to avoid Bender in a plethora of different formats.
Bender missed almost half of his rookie campaign last season due to a combination of DNP-CDs and an ankle injury, which required surgery. When he did step on the court, however, he averaged 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds across 13.3 minutes per game while shooting 35.4 percent from the field and 28-of-101 from beyond the arc. While the lack of efficiency is certainly disappointing, it’s important to keep in mind that he wasn’t a staple within the Suns’ rotation and often played on a sore ankle. That said, he did occasionally flash potential when he was feeling good. During Dec. 26’s game against the Rockets, Bender recorded 11 points (5-11 FG, 1-4 3Pt), 13 rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists across 27 minutes. He will have to compete for playing time during the upcoming season, however. The Suns drafted Josh Jackson with the fourth overall pick during the 2017 NBA Draft. With Jackson being primarily touted as a small forward, that may push the likes of T.J. Warren up to power forward – Bender’s position. Not to mention the presence of Marquese Chriss and Jared Dudley. While coach Earl Watson will likely do what he can to get Bender significant run, it may come down to how Bender performs during training camp and what kind of improvements he can show throughout the season. As a result, Bender can probably be avoided in the vast majority of Fantasy formats, as it’s uncertain if he’ll even take the floor during every game he suits up for.
The consensus top foreign player in the 2016 NBA Draft, Bender went No. 4 overall to the Suns, who doubled down on the power forward position by using their second lottery pick on Washington freshman Marquese Chriss. The 7-foot-1 Bender epitomizes the stretch four most teams are looking for in the modern pace-and-space NBA, but the 18-year-old may face a longer development curve than most of his fellow first-rounders after doing little to distinguish himself in summer league play with the Suns. Over five games, Bender averaged 8.6 points and 5.6 rebounds across 32.0 minutes per contest while shooting an abysmal 27.5 percent from the field. The Suns won’t overreact too much to the small sample, as Bender exhibited much improvement from three-point range last season with Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv and was lauded during the pre-draft process for his willingness to move the ball, ability to make plays off the dribble and excellent mobility. While Bender’s lack of bulk makes him susceptible to getting outmuscled in the paint defensively, his long arms still allow him to make an impact as a shot blocker. Both Bender and Chriss are expected to see their minutes expand in the second half of their rookie seasons once they’ve gotten fully acclimated to an NBA training regimen, but in the meantime, veteran Jared Dudley is set to assume most of the court time at power forward in the early going. As such, Bender’s fantasy value figures to remain mostly limited as a rookie, but he makes for a worthy target in dynasty formats.
More Fantasy News
Pops for 23 points in loss
FGolden State Warriors
March 11, 2020
Bender totaled 23 points (8-12 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 5-5 FT), seven rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes during Tuesday's 131-107 loss to the Clippers.
ANALYSIS
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Re-ups with Golden State
FGolden State Warriors
March 5, 2020
Bender re-signed Thursday with the Warriors on a second 10-day contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.
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Contract expires
FGolden State Warriors
March 4, 2020
Bender's 10-day contract with the Warriors expired Tuesday, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports.
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Coming off bench
FGolden State Warriors
March 3, 2020
Bender will return to a reserve role in Tuesday's tilt against the Nuggets, Wes Goldberg of The San Jose Mercury News reports.
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Starting Tuesday
FGolden State Warriors
February 27, 2020
Bender is in the starting lineup for Thursday's contest against the Lakers, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports.
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