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NBA India Games 2019

NBA India Games 2019: Fast facts on Indiana Pacers' rookie center Goga Bitadze

Goga Bitadze
(NBA Getty Images)

Goga Bitadze is one of seven rookies set to participate in the first-ever NBA India Games - a couple of exhibition games at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai between the Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers.

He is a rookie from the eastern European country of Georgia.

Background

Goga Bitadze was born in Sagarejo, a town in eastern Georgia on 20th July, 1999.

Pre-NBA career

He began his professional career at the age of 16 when he signed with VITA Tbilisi in the VTB United League (an international men's professional league mostly made up of clubs from Russia). The following year, in 2016, he signed with Mega Basket, a club that participated in the Basketball League of Serbia and the ABA League (commonly known as Adriatic League first division).

MORE: Pacers' roster for the NBA India Games

After three games, he was loaned to the Serbian club Smederevo 1953, averaging 10.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game in 19 games for his new team.

For the 2017-18 season, he returned to Mega Basket and began to show positive signs. He mainly played with the senior team but he briefly played with the club's junior team to help them capture the 2018 Junior Adriatic League champion. For his efforts, he was named the 2018 Junior Adriatic League MVP and selected to the 2018 All-Junior Adriatic League Team.

If those recognitions weren't enough, he performed even better in the following season. Midway through the 2018-19 season, he was loaned to Montenegrin club Budućnost. At that time, the franchise played in the top-tier of the EuroLeague.

For Budućnost, he played in 13 EuroLeague games, averaging 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. Thus, being named the EuroLeague Rising Star as the best under-22 player in the league.

With the Montenegrin club failing to qualify for the EuroLeague playoffs, he returned to Mega Basket for the rest of the season. He completed the Serbian Super League schedule and finished the 2018-19 season with multiple individual recognitions - 2019 Serbian Super League MVP, 2019 Adriatic League MVP, 2019 Adriatic League Top Prospect, 2019 Adriatic League blocks leader and All-Adriatic League Team.

Bitadze was drafted by the Pacers with the 18th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Skill set

Prior to coming over for the NBA Draft, Bitadze averaged 2.3 blocks per game in 13 EuroLeague, the second-best league in the world after the NBA. Adding him to Myles Turner in the frontcourt, the Pacers have another legitimate shotblocker.

He isn't just a defensive anchor as he contributes on both ends of the floor. He does a majority of his scoring on his rolls to the rim but he also possesses a decent threat from long range, shooting 36% for his career from beyond the arc during his time in Europe.

For more updates and stories on the NBA India Games 2019, you can follow NBA.com's page dedicated to the historic event.

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