Charlotte HornetsNBA

30-Year-Old Rookie Vasilije Micic Shines in Hornets Debut

Vasilije Micic. Photo via Printscreen

The Charlotte Hornets are in the middle of a losing season, but it’s not too late to find bright spots. They found one in their 52nd game through a 30-year-old rookie, Vasilije Micic.

Micic came off the bench for the Hornets against the Memphis Grizzlies and impressed. The Serbian delivered 18 points and nine assists to help secure Charlotte’s 11th win, a 115-106 victory over Memphis.

The six-foot-three point guard was one of the many names lost in the shuffle of the trade deadline. He was sporadically used in the Oklahoma City Thunder rotation but will have a chance to carve a bigger role in Charlotte. After all, the team is missing LaMelo Ball and has already traded Terry Rozier to the Miami Heat.

What made Micic stand out in his Hornets debut? Head coach Steve Clifford has this to say about the newest addition:

“His awareness, all the stuff that you can’t teach. He knows where everybody is on the floor. Obviously he’s a terrific passer, pick-and-roll player. He’s also got size – he’s big. Some of those passes, maybe other guys can see but don’t have the ability to make the play. Again, a bunch of guys played well, but those four guys off the bench were terrific.”

Steve Clifford on Vasilije Micic

At the very least, Clifford has someone besides the highly confident Brandon Miller to work with. Miles Bridges also chose to stay with the Hornets and continued his solid showing.

What Took Vasilije Micic So Long?

BELGRADE, SERBIA - DECEMBER 16: Vasilije Micic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul shoots on the basket during the 2022/2023 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague match between Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade and Anadolu Efes Istanbul at Stark Arena on December 16, 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images)
Photo by Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers took Micic in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft but only made his debut this season. Why? Well, it’s not always simple.

Micic chose to stay in Europe for nine years. The Sixers traded his draft rights to the Thunder in 2020, and both parties struck a deal on July 2023 to bring him after a multi-year stint with Anadolu Efes.

Back in Europe, the guy was practically a legend. He was the Serbian Cup MVP in 2014, the Euroleague MVP in 2021, and part of two Euroleague champion teams with the Turkish club.

Despite being already 30 years old, Micic is far from the oldest rookie to play in the league. That distinction goes to Pablo Prigioni, who made his NBA debut with the New York Knicks as a 35-year-old.