A seasoned veteran who knows when to stay cool and when to turn up the heat, forward Bostjan Nachbar has proven himself to be the steadiest of influences on an Efes Pilsen team that aspires to big things in the upcoming Top 16. Coming off the bench each night to average double digits as a scorer, Nachbar has played a big part in Efes becoming the Turkish Airlines Euroleague's best team in both three-point and free-throw accuracy during the regular season. His ability to help Efes keep playing efficiently will be a key to the team's intention to keep playing past the Top 16.
After turning pro as a teenager in his native Slovenia, Nachbar debuted in the Euroleague averaging 7 points at age 17 for Union Olimpija. He soon sky-rocketed to prominence as a double-digit scorer on the 2002 Final Four team of Benetton Treviso. His next stop was the NBA, where he spent six seasons with Houston, New Orleans and New Jersey. His return to Europe was impressive, as he made the All-Eurocup First Team while leading Dynamo Moscow to the Eurocup Final Eight in 2009. He arrived last season to Efes but saw is minutes dwindle as the team missed the playoffs by a few points.
The season, under new head coach Velimir Perasovic, the 30-year-old Nachbar has been rock-steady, scoring between 10 and 13 points in every game as Efes jumped to a 4-2 record. He was also key in the most important game of the regular season, shooting Efes ahead big in the early going against Panathinaikos in what became a dramatic home win to clinch a spot in the Top 16.
Nachbar finished the regular season as the second-best scorer for Efes with 10.8 points per game, giving the team a solid alternative when Igor Rakocevic, who ranks second in scoring on all Top 16 teams, had to rest. He also went to the free throw line as much as any Efes player except Efes, making 32 of 38 shots there, or 84.2%. Efes led the Euroleague with 82.9% as a team, just as it did with 39% three-point accuracy. Nachbar contributed to the latter by making 10 of 24 three-pointers, or 41.7%.
In addition to his scoring, Nachbar proved a dependable rebounder on both ends of the court and a safe option moving the ball on offense. As a threat wherever he touches the ball , whether beyond the three-point line in the set offense or on the run in fastbreak situations, Nachbar has helped Efes get to the Top 16 stage, where the heat always gets turned up and cool heads are worth victories.