Predrag Stojakovic Dedication
Weight: 229 lb.
College: PAOK (Greece)
A native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Predrag "Peja" Stojakovic played professionally for three seasons in Greece before signing with the Sacramento Kings on June 15, 1998. The 6-foot-9 forward/guard had been the Kings' first-round draft choice at the age of 19 in 1996, the 14th overall selection. He played in 48 of 50 games for the Kings as a rookie and averaged 8.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. Stojakovic played three seasons with PAOK in the Greek Professional League, averaging 20.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in 73 regular-season games and shooting .395 in three-pointers. He was the league's MVP in 1997-98, averaging 23.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.20 steals in 24 games, shooting .462 from the field, .406 on three-pointers and .891 on free throws. He averaged 18.2 ppg in the 1998 Greek Championship Series, where PAOK lost to Panathinaikos in five games. One of his opponents was former NBA guard Byron Scott, who soon after took a job as an assistant coach with Sacramento. After signing with the Kings, he went on the play in 48 games as a rookie, all but one off the bench. He contributed 8.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.85 steals in 21.4 minutes per game, ranking third on the team with 57 three-pointers. Stojakovic was a productive reserve for the Kings as a rookie, appearing in 48 games, all but one off the bench. He averaged 8.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.85 steals in 21.4 minutes per game, shooting .378 from the field, .320 from the three-point arc and .851 from the free throw line. He ranked third on the team in three-pointers made (57) and attempted (178). He missed two games due to injury. He sat out February 22 at Orlando because of a bone contusion in his left knee and March 26 at the Lakers due to a sprained left foot. He ranked among the NBA's top 15 rookies in scoring, rebounding assists, steals, three-point percentage, free throw percentage and minutes. He led all first-year players in free throw percentage and would have ranked 15th in the entire NBA but fell short of qualifying for the league leaders by 13 free throws made. He scored in double figures 18 times, notching career-highs of 26 points, four steals and 43 minutes in the Kings' 104-101 overtime victory against Utah on March 30. He was 5-for-8 on three-pointers in that game, both also being career-highs. He matched the eight attempts against the Clippers on April 29, when he made three treys. Nearly half his total field goal attempts, 178 of 373, were three-point tries. Stojakovic topped the Kings' bench in scoring 15 times, rebounding 13 times and assists 11 times. He had a career-high eight rebounds at Philadelphia on February 24 and a career-high six assists against the Lakers on April 7. He played as a reserve in all five playoff games against Utah, averaging 4.8 points and 3.8 assists in 21.6 minutes per game, with more than half his shot attempts coming from three-point range. He shot .346 (9-for-26) from the field including .214 (3-for-14) from three-point range and 1.000 (3-for-3) from the free throw line.
(Most info. taken from NBA.com.)
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