Bogdan Bogdanovic has transitioned into the role of the Sacramento Kings main facilitator off the bench this season, and he has looked comfortable doing so.
The 26-year-old, 6’6’’ shooting guard is averaging 15.3 points, 4.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1 steal per game in his second NBA season – all increases over last season, when he started in 53 games. (He has started in 8 of the 39 games he has played in this season.)
Following the Kings 135-113 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, Bogi spoke about the transition this season, the team’s pace, which he admitted is the first time in his life that he has played at such a pace, and his participation in the upcoming Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend.
You won MVP last year in the Rising Stars game, do you think you can pull it off again?
I never chase stats, I will never do that in my life. I always believe you have to go there and have fun and just do what you like to do, and try to make other players happy to feel they like to play with you. Not trying to be selfish and try to chase that. That’s my mindset, and with all of that I believe good things will happen. I’m not chasing that trophy again.
With so many of you guys in the All-Star festivities, how good does it feel to know this team has that kind of talent and future?
Coach said this morning, I heard him while I was shooting, he said one good thing: Most of these guys, I’m not including myself, will be All-Stars probably in a couple of years. They are in a good position, they just have to use it, they just have to take it over, no one will give it to them and it’s hard to get there.
How much of a transition has it been for you this season going to a bench role and being an anchor for the bench?
I am ready for everything, and I am here to help my team win all these games. That’s my game – I don’t care am I starting, am I playing, or whatever, I know I deserve what I deserve right now, and I’m always trying to do an even better job and be better every time. I’m satisfied with the season. I wasn’t happy earlier because I was hurt … it was kind of hard for me, but last couple of weeks I finally found some rhythm in the legs and I’m coming back.
Is a more structured offense rather than a fast pace more your style? Have you had to transition into that fast pace?
I think I can adapt to everything. I’m not as athletic as [De’Aaron] Fox, but I think I can shoot from transition and I can be a threat from different types of transition pick and roll … and I can be a threat from different ways.
Everyone has been talking about how the pace of the team has dropped off a little in recent weeks, why do you think that is? Is the team overall just kind of tired in general?
It might be that a little bit, it’s also the scouting reports – they know we are one of the fastest teams in the league, and that’s the way we want to play. So, probably they scout us. I realized on the free throw line, they always send one guy over there so we don’t run quick offense, but we will keep our game.
What do you think the combination of Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles can become?
It’s so easy with them. It’s so easy to score with them. It’s so easy to play with them, on both ends. You can change the offense, you can change the defense – that’s the hardest thing in the NBA, to adjust your offense and defense … They can shoot the ball, they can dunk, they can run, they can handle the ball, they can pass, that’s unbelievable when you have all five players with all that skillset, it’s unbelievable. It’s a big advantage.
You and Buddy [Hield] have been helping Marvin with his three-point shot in practice. What do you try to show him and how do you help a big learn how to knock down those shots?
His form is perfect, but to be locked in and always have the same motion – he has to repeat that again and again to have the same form every time. Also, he has to work on his speed – he’s shooting the ball right now a little bit slow, but I think that is because of his defenders, they don’t respect him right now as a shooter, but he will learn that, he will understand that it takes some time. He’s a hard worker, that is most important.
Did he come to you guys for that advice or did you take him under your wing to show him that? How did this come about?
We started shooting and he joined us, nothing else. There is no secret, he just wants to be better.
How are you liking living here by now? Are you getting used to it?
Yeah, I love it. I love it, I love it, last year, from the day I came, yeah, it reminds me of my city a lot, I love it.