Dino Radja was a center and power forward who had success throughout Europe, in the Olympics and was a solid player in the NBA.
After starring on the international stage Radja was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1989 NBA Draft. He was the 40th pick, and when he joined the Celtics he would wear number 40.
Radja arrived in the NBA for season 1993-94. The Celtics and the rest of the NBA knew he was a solid player who was more than ready for the NBA as he won the first Rookie of the Month award for the season.
He would later be named to the NBA’s All-Rookie second team. His first year averages were 15.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Radja shot 52.1% from the field. Second on his team for scoring average, he did finish first for the Celtics in total points for the season.
Radja played 80 games that season, often starting next to Robert Parish. Some of the scoring skills and moves Radja had were similar to another power forward who used to play there, Kevin McHale.
Radja’s best NBA season was in 1995-96 as he went close to getting a 20-10 average for the year. If his numbers were rounded up he would have had those numbers, his averages were 19.7 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game. Radja also blocked 1.5 shots per game.
Listed at 6-11 and 225 pounds, Radja had the muscle to operate close to the basket against big centers of the NBA and he could also step out and hit a medium-range shot.
Radja needed to take on the scoring load in 1995-96 as the two centers who got most of the minutes for that position, Eric Montross and Pervis Ellison, were defenders and rebounders.
Most of Boston’s points came from perimeter players like Dana Barros, David Wesley, Dee Brown, Rick Fox and Todd Day so Radja played an important role as an inside scorer.
For his NBA career, Radja averaged 16.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. A very good scorer in the low post, his career field goal percentage was just a tad under 50% at 49.7%.
Dino Radja’s NBA career looked like being extended after he was traded to the 76ers. The deal was power forward Clarence Weatherspoon and forward/center Michael Cage going to Boston for Dino Radja. When Radja arrived in Philadelphia the 76ers gave him a physical and said he failed it, the trade was rescinded and Radja left for Europe after Boston waived him.
It was just one of many odd moves that new coach Rick Pitino did after taking charge of the Celtics. Back in Europe, Radja continued to play well and won several championships.
Radja played with Jugoplastika Split and Virtus Roma before going to the NBA.
After his NBA career was over, Radja would play for Panathinaikos, KK Zadar, Olympiacos, Cibona Zagreb and KK Split. In 2008, Radja was named on the list of the Euroleague’s 35 Greatest All-Time Players, among other greats of the game like Dejan Bodiroga, Arvydas Sabonis, Manu Ginobili, Anthony Parker and Mike D’Antoni.