Dragic brother, record-setting point guard and fearless sniper join VTB United League

VTB United League and Sport-Express present a new installment of Transformation, our series profiling new players and coaches expected to make an impact in the upcoming season. Goran Dragic's brother Zoran moved to Khimki, league assists record-holder D.J. Cooper signed with Krasny Oktyabr, while Zenit picked up sniper Ryan Toolson.

Zoran Dragic, Khimki

Position: Shooting guard/small forward
Country: Slovenia
Age: 26
Former Clubs: Slovan, Slovenia (2006-10), KRKA, Slovenia (2010-12), Unicaja, Spain (2012-14), Phoenix Suns, NBA (2014-15), Miami Heat, NBA (2015)
2014-15 Stats: 1.8 points, 0.5 rebounds, 0.3 assists in 4.7 minutes per game

Don't be fooled by Dragic's modest stats in the NBA. He's a star in Europe and guaranteed big minutes anywhere after proving himself at Unicaja and on the Slovenian national team. Goran Dragic's younger brother has a similar game to Manu Ginobili. It's no fun guarding the left-handed guard: he's practically unstoppable driving to the basket and dangerous from anywhere on the court. Much like Ginobili, Dragic is also extremely competitive and has an uncanny sense of timing, which compensates for his limited athleticism. The Ljubljana native loves to dive after loose balls, lock down bigger opponents and pick off errant passes.

Khimki made headlines in July by signing Alexey Shved, who also failed to stick in the NBA. Now the Moscow Region club has added Dragic, its final addition of the summer. Not surprisingly, the team's deep and talented backcourt (which also includes Tyrese Rice, Petteri Koponen and Egor Vyaltsev) will make Khimki one of the most dangerous clubs in Europe.

D.J. Cooper, Krasny Oktyabr

Position: Point guard
Country: USA
Age: 24
Former Clubs: Ohio University, NCAA (2009-13), PAOK, Greece (2013-14), Enisey, Russia (2014-15), Panathinaikos, Greece (2015)
2014-15 Stats: 11.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 9.2 assists, 2.0 steals in 26 minutes per game in the VTB United League

D.J. Cooper showed last season how big of an impact he can have on his team. Playing for Enisey, the American led the league in assists with 9.3 per game. He also set the single game record with 23 assists in January vs. Astana. There were some NBA rumors this summer, but Cooper decided to move to Volgograd for a second season in Russia.

"I just have the talent to always make good passes and make my teammates better," - Cooper said, shortly after signing with Krasny Oktyabr. It seems like a good fit for the ambitious club, which is determined to return to the postseason. Cooper will help new Volgograd head coach Kirill Bolshakov bring order and organize his team's offense. Krasny Oktyabr may not be as flashy, but it should be more consistent. That's the goal next season for Oktyabr's backcourt, led by one of the league's most unselfish and talented players.

Ryan Toolson, Zenit

Position: Shooting guard
Former Clubs:
Utah Valley State, NCAA (2003-04, 2006-09), Karsiyaka, Turkey (2009-10), Bennetton, Italy (2010-11), Montegranaro, Italy (2011), Aliaga, Turkey (2011-12), Gran Canaria, Spain (2012-13), Unicaja, Spain (2013-15)
2014-15 Stats:
10.9 points, 1.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists in 23 minutes per game in the Euroleague

By signing the 30-year-old Toolson, Zenit met a specific need. The American brings excellent outside shooting to St. Petersburg, coming off a big season in Spain and the Euroleague. Toolson is famed for his 3-point shooting, averaging almost 50% last year in the ACB.

Toolson is surrounded by talent at Zenit and won't automatically become the team leader. But if St. Petersburg can use him effectively and get him plenty of open looks, he should be a huge asset. After making his mark at the highest level in Europe, Toolson is expected to be one of the league's most dangerous snipers this season.