The pros and cons of Bogdan Bogdanovic

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Bogdan Bogdanović, the 27th draft pick, is a good long-range shooter and a capable defender. If his improvement stays constant he won't be stashed overseas for long (unless McStunna has other ideas for him), although there are many aspects of his game that need work.

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 21

Last season Euroleague stats (those matter, the ABA league really isn't close to NBA level)

Games played: 23 (723 minutes)

Points average: 14.8 (340 total)

Field goals: 42.6% 2FG, 37% 3FG, 75.4% FT

Rebounds: 3.7 (3 Deff, 0.7 Off)

Assist/turnovers/steals: 3.7/3.4/1.6

Measurables

  • Height: 6´6˝
  • Weight: 205 pounds
  • Wingspan: 6´11˝
  • Standing reach: 8´8˝
The dull stats out of the way, let's delve a bit deeper into the "poor man's Ginobili" the Phoenix Suns drafted with their 27th pick.

Offense

At 6´6˝ he is perfectly sized for a shooting guard, and coupling this with his solid frame (that needs a few pounds of muscle though) it means he can get his shot off against pretty much every guard or wing defending him. He's not the most athletic guard on the floor and not the speediest (we've got Goran for that), but he should be able to hold his own once he gets used to the NBA tempo.

Like most of European guards, Bogdan has good fundamentals and footwork, enabling him to get his shot off quickly and accurately from pretty much anywhere with his feet planted. He's got a swift stroke and a high release point as well, adding to the difficulty of defending him. Pointing out his percentages, which are not that good, they need to be considered against the role he had in Partizan this year. For most of the season he was the primary (some say only) offensive threat and opposing defenses were for the most part focused on him and making his shots difficult.

His numbers dropped later in the season, when the starting PG for Partizan (Leo Westermann) went down with an injury and Bogdan was required to step into the PG role. While this is not his strong point, it was obvious he actually handled it pretty good because of his good court vision, ball handling and passing. This is definitely a plus considering the current Suns team incarnation thrives on guards with drive-and-kick capabilities. That being said, he is still young and often makes mistakes and bad passes under pressure, hence the quite high turnover count.

His first step really isn't that quick, his speed not meep-meep and most of his drives come off screens, but when he gets to the rim, he can finish with both hands, although he does seem to shy away from contact, something that will not do in the NBA. Watching some highlight videos, his playing style brings to mind one of the best European players of all time never to play in the NBA, Dejan Bodiroga. Problem is, Bodiroga was a virtual jump-shot and free throw machine, something Bogdan really needs to work on (his efficiency inside the arc is troubling for a guard) and he could finish through contact like a man possessed.

Bogdan's best weapon by far is the catch-and-shoot and coming off screens where his range comes in handy and he'll let it fly from pretty much anywhere on the floor. Even if it's a bad shot. Even if it's a bad, contested shot and the shot-clock is nowhere near the bottom. Another thing, if he's not tuned in, he can force plays that aren't there and be on the whole very careless with the ball and passing it to non-existent teammates or directly into opponents hands on cross-court diagonal lobs. Let's hope time and experience cut that down to a minimum.

Defense

Here again, his size is a good thing, his wingspan even more as he's able to defend multiple positions. He's also quite quick going laterally and coupling that with his good footwork and understanding of the game, he is good at staying in front of his man, fighting through screens (although NBA bigs will be a problem if he doesn't bulk up) altering shots and also at not getting pump-faked out of his socks (cue one of my all time favorite pump fakes. Disclaimer: it's Gogi in a rockets uniform).

His defensive capabilities are somewhat hindered though by the mental aspects of his game, the above mentioned spacing out at times. And there doesn't seem to be a lot of drive to compete defensively, probably because up to now he was used primarily as a scoring threat, which in a young guard from the Balkans usually translates to: I don't need to play defense, really. But the fundamentals are there, if he's willing to put in the effort.

Summing it up

Bogdan Bogdanović is on track to becoming a contributor in the NBA, if he stays the course of his improvement, works on his mid-range and free throw shooting as well as bulking up and being prepared to go to the rim harder, as he has the size to do it. And he will need to put in heavy minutes into decision-making and reading the game as well as being more engaged on the defensive end.

Fit for the Suns

The current Suns roster would benefit from a confident long range shooter that would space the floor and put up solid numbers across the board, the only problem is that same roster is quite busy at the guard-end and it will take improvement in all aspects of his game for him to actually crack the rotation. But the potential is definitely there and I'm excited to see what he'll make of it.

Agree or not? Discuss.

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