Bogdan Bogdanovic is navigating the transition every NBA rookie goes through, even if he has quite a bit more professional basketball experience than the average first-year player.
The 25-year-old Bogdanovic is settling into Sacramento, saying he enjoys the weather, food and people. He also appreciates that the area doesn't have a ton of traffic like some big cities. When he is not out at dinner or grabbing coffee with his teammates, Bogdanovic spends time with his friends and family, who take turns coming out to stay with him. He said this makes him feel like he is home and not out of Serbia.
On the court, Bogdanovic, who came to the Kings this season from Serbia where he played internationally in the EuroLeague for years, has a good grasp on the game for a rookie and looks like he belongs in the NBA. He is averaging 23 minutes per game this season as head coach Dave Joerger appears to trust "Bogie.” The 6’6’’ shooting guard has proven he can rebound, pass, get steals and take care of the ball (he is only averaging one turnover per game).
Though it isn’t too unexpected given he is transitioning into the NBA, he has struggled slightly from the field. Going into Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, he was averaging 41 percent from the field and 30 percent from three. He averaged 50 percent from the field and 43 percent from three in his last season with Fenerbahce.
He knows he can do better.
"I can [shoot better], but that's part of the adjustment," he told Sactown Royalty.
He certainly shot better against the Lakers, going 6-9 from the floor, including 2-3 from three, on his way to 14 points. The game boosted his field goal percentage to 43 percent on the season and 32 percent from three. (It’s worth noting that Peja Stojakovic averaged 37 percent from the field and 32 percent from three in his first season in the NBA.)
He said the Kings coaching staff is working with him on shots off the dribble, and he acknowledges he needs to be less hesitant.
"I didn't get used to take some transition threes, but if you are a little bit open, you've got to take it here. So, I've got to change that mentality to take even, if, not say it’s a bad shot, but if you are open you've got to take it,” Bogdanovic said.
He has had a couple of other good shooting performances. He went 6/7 for 14 points against the Detroit Pistons, 7/9 for 15 points against the Washington Wizards and 4/7 against the New Orleans Pelicans. His willingness to pass the ball and facilitate the offense is something he takes pride in. Against the Lakers, he dished out a season-high seven assists, many of them lobs to Willie Cauley-Stein, who he seems to have great chemistry with in the pick and roll. Joerger has granted Bogdanovic the opportunity to run the offense on occasion, and the court vision that was on display Wednesday is a good example of why.
"I feel comfortable to lead the offense. I like the way I get my teammates involved in the offense," said Bogdanovic, who often also gets quite a few "hockey assists", or passes that lead to another player getting an assist.
What he doesn't like is losing. He says he takes losses "so emotionally.”
Bogdanovic watches each Kings game two or three times afterward, which is something he did for his games overseas and has continued in the NBA. Between the plane and his house, he regularly watches videos of his plays as well as the team as a whole.
"Even if you win, even if you lose, you’ve got to go forward," Bogdanovic said.