Bojan Bogdanović is Primed for a Breakout

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NEW YORK, USA - APRIL 15: Bojan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets during an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on April 15, 2015. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Bojan Bogdanović is not to be mistaken for Bogdan Bogdanović. Both men hail from the former Yugoslavia and both are talented basketball players. Both men represented their respective countries in the recently concluded 2016 Rio Olympics. Bojan Bogdanović played for Croatia, while Bogdan Bogdanović played for Serbia. Both men played very well, but for the sake of this piece, Bojan Bogdanović is the focus.

Bojan Bogdanović has been a member of the Brooklyn Nets since the start of the 2014-15 season. As a rookie, he was honored as a member of the NBA All-Rookie Second Team for his solid play. Though he played behind Joe Johnson and Sergey Karasev on the wing, Bogdanović found a way to contribute when called upon. Prepare for Bogdanović to have a breakout season, as his career trajectory points to it.

Bojan Bogdanović is Primed for a Breakout

At First, He Crawled

Bogdanović started 19 games for the Brooklyn Nets during his rookie season. As with most rookies, he struggled with consistency, but he managed to play in 79 of the 82 games. His stats were not spectacular, averaging just about nine points and three rebounds per contest. With that said, Bogdanović was not afraid of big moments. In the last game of the 2014-15 season, with a playoff berth on the line, Bogdanović delivered. He caught fire, delivering 28 points, three rebounds, and two assists in 34 minutes against the Orlando Magic. In this game, he attempted 17 field goals, converting on 12 of them. He shot four of eight from behind the arc in that game. Though the Nets were eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in a six-game first round series that year, Bogdanović made his presence felt. In games three and four, Bogdanović scored 19 and 15 points, respectively. The Nets won both games, as well.

Then, He Walked

During Bojan’s second season, his development was evident. He played with much more confidence, and though the Nets had a very trying season, Bogdanović had his moments. Against the hapless Philadelphia 76ers, Bogdanović scored 44 points on 27 shots. He played 37 minutes that night. Two nights later, Bogdanović scored 26 points versus the Chicago Bulls — in Chicago. He finished last season with averages of 11.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

It’s Money Time as Bojan Runs

Moving forward, it is clear that Bojan’s trajectory is headed upward. This is his third season, and a contract year for Bogdanović. The numbers bear it out. If Bogdanović is a primary option in the team’s offensive scheme, he will deliver more times than not. Looking at his stats, one would notice that Bogdanović averaged 20.4 points and about six rebounds per 100 possessions. He has shot 37 percent from behind the arc over the course of his career.

Nets Brought in the Big Guns

Bogdanović averaged 25 points per game for his native Croatia during Rio 2016, leaving Nets fans encouraged. With the appointment of Kenny Atkinson as Brooklyn’s head coach, one should expect Bogdanović’s improvement to continue. Atkinson chose Chris Flemming as an assistant and offensive coach. Flemming’s system is based loosely on the pace-and-space concept. The system is ran with one player in the post. This style appears perfectly suited for Bogdanović. The Nets also hired Adam Harrington, as per David Aldridge of TNT and NBA.com. Harrington was Kevin Durant’s shooting coach in Oklahoma City. Harrington is credited for the development of Dirk Nowitzki’s patented one legged fadeaway jumper. Flemming and Harrington played and coached in Europe for many years, which should aid Bogdanović immensely. Additionally, Nets assistant general manager Trajan Langdon was a supremo in Europe and is a shooting savant. For Bogdanović, help is literally right down the hall.

The Present and Future of Bogdanović

“Sometimes the greatest ability is availability,” former NFL head coach Tony Dungy once said. Bogdanović missed just five games in his first two seasons; he is always available. He showed time and again that he is willing to work hard. With a massive re-build taking place in Brooklyn, expect the Nets to lean on Bogdanović next season more than before. All signs point to him having a breakout season, so fans and players alike should expect it.

 

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