Phoenix Suns select Croatian forward Dragan Bender with 4th overall pick in 2016 NBA Draft

Posted at 5:06 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-24 20:40:48-04

The Phoenix Suns selected Croatian-born forward Dragan Bender with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft on Thursday.

The 7-foot-1, 225-pound Bender has played for Maccabi Tel Aviv in each of the last three seasons, and he had a 43-point, 21-rebound game last season.

"I guess just versatility on both ends of the floor," Bender said Thursday when asked what he will bring to the Suns. "Defensively just being able to switch a lot of positions on the court, and then staying in front of the guard on the perimeter."

Bender said he's ready for the hot Phoenix weather.

"I guess it's pretty similar weather in Israel and Phoenix," he said. "It's pretty hot during the year and in the summer. So I guess that's a good thing for me."

Bender, who doesn't turn 19 years old until November, is a versatile power forward; he shot 41.1 percent from 3-point range with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel last year.

"He can theoretically protect the rim, and he can definitely shoot threes. Those are the two most valuable skills in basketball right now," Sports Illustrated's Andrew Sharp wrote. "In Phoenix, his perimeter game could be a nice long-term fit next to Alex Len."

See also: Suns trade up to take forward Marquese Chriss with the 8th pick in the NBA Draft

Check out Bender's draft profile here.

Fun fact: Bender says he learned English by watching "Friends." His favorite character: Chandler Bing.