clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

30Q: Who is Bogdan Bogdanovic?

Olympics: Basketball-Men's Team-Final -SRB vs USA Bob Rosato-USA TODAY Sports

Bogdan Bogdanovic is the best-kept secret on the Sacramento Kings roster. The two-time winner of Euroleague's Young Player of the Year award, Bogdanovic has developed into one of the best players in Europe. Last season was his finest; he guided the Turkish team Fenerbahce to the Euroleague championship, the most prestigious basketball club trophy outside of the NBA, while averaging 14.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 28 minutes per game.

Its natural to start with Bogdanovic's jumpshot. In his Euroleague career, he is a 37.6% three point shooter on 4.9 attempts per game. He's diligently improved his three point percentage every year (save for when he transferred from the smaller Serbian team Partizan to Fenerbahce), topping off at 43% in last year's championship-winning campaign.

He already shows that he possesses NBA range, often launching threes from waaaay behind the FIBA three point line

Not just a standstill shooter, he is comfortable shooting off of screens and dribble handoffs.

But the real intrigue behind Bogdanovic is his ability to attack using pick-and-rolls. If you think the Kings are just getting a spot-up shooter, you're in for a surprise; both at Fenerbahce and for Serbia at the ongoing Eurobasket tournament, Bogdanovic is the engine of his team's offense, making plays off the dribble for himself and for his teammates.

Bogdanovic's vision is excellent. When running the pick-and-roll, Bogdanovic sees every corner of the court, consistently hitting shooters, cutters, and the roll man for high quality looks.

Playing the pick-and-roll is like a game of chess. When the offense sets a screen, the defense will show a particular defensive coverage, and the offense has to react correctly. Bogdanovic has shown that he can both diagnose what the defense is trying to do and attack accordingly.

Going under a screen against Bogdanovic is a terrible idea because he'll just calmly pull-up and bury the shot.

NBA teams love to switch the pick-and-roll nowadays. Bogdanovic has no issues taking bigger defenders off the dribble one-on-one.

When his defender goes over the screen, Bogdanovic probes patiently. He does well pinning defenders on his back and getting to his spots to either pull-up for a midrange jumper or finish around the rim with an array of crafty moves.

Both at Fenerbahce during the Euroleague finals and for Serbia in the Eurobasket tournament, Bogdan's coach trusted him with the ball in high-pressure moments.

Bogdanovic is also an intelligent defender who uses his frame well. He was entrusted with guarding the opposing team's best player in the Euroleague tournament, such as Sergio Llull of Real Madrid and Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos. He's solid, but not a lockdown defender; he doesn't have elite footspeed or leaping ability, so he has to rely on positioning to contain his man, which he typically does well.

Bogdan has a smooth, but not fiery, approach to the game. There are times where he puts in a good amount of effort, but great defenders have an extra gear and hunger that Bogdanovic lacks. The difference is how much pressure the offensive player feels; Bogdanovic will usually be at the right place to contest, but someone like Andre Iguodala will really put the squeeze on his man and make him uncomfortable.

Bogdanovic will fight through screens, but will get caught in no-man's land after multiple screens because he gets left behind.

The biggest question with Bogdanovic is how he'll adjust to the increased size and speed of the NBA. He has all of the skills and smarts to be a quality playmaker in the NBA, but the level of intensity is a marked step up from Europe. He'll have to react faster to defenses in the pick-and-roll. As a crafty, but not explosive finisher around the rim, he will have to deal with the increased size, length, and athleticism of NBA rim protectors. And he'll have to continue to get smarter at using his size and wingspan on defense because the gap in footspeed between him and his opponents is only going to increase.

There is also the question of what position he'll play. At 6'6 and 205 pounds, he has good size for the shooting guard position, but that's also where Buddy Hield plays. It can be argued that Bogdanovic would be better at small forward next to Hield where he can fight with bigger wings as opposed chasing to quicker ones, but since small forwards often have to switch onto bigs, that would make the Kings dangerously small at the two wing positions. Personally, I think Garrett Temple will start at small forward while Bogdanovic adjusts to the NBA, but how the Kings manage Hield and Bogdanovic going forward will be interesting.

I think his floor is roughly Joe Ingles, a solid secondary playmaker and shooter who can also defend. Ingles was a good player for Maccabi Tel Aviv before coming to the NBA, but Bogdanovic is an even better Euroleague player than Ingles was. I think his ceiling is Joe Johnson, a big 2-guard who can shoot and make plays off the dribble, consistently giving you around 17 to 20 points per game. Bogdanovic is already 25 so there’s probably not much more development left; what you see is likely pretty close to what you will get out of his NBA career.

I'm very excited to see Bogdanovic play for the Kings. He's got a complete skillset and I think after an adjustment period he'll be a really good NBA player.