Bridget Bennett for The New York Times
LAS VEGAS — When the Croatian national team arrived for the N.B.A.’s Las Vegas summer league this month, the players knew they would not dominate squads with big-name prospects. They were just hoping to avoid getting mopped off the court.
“I was afraid we would get destroyed,” said Veljko Mrsic, the team’s coach.
But by the time Mrsic huddled with his team before a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder last week, Croatia had proven itself worthy of inclusion with a pair of close losses. Mrsic had a team that moved the ball on offense and played beefy defense.