Position: Shooting guard
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)
- Height: 6´6˝
- Weight: 205 pounds
- Wingspan: 6´11˝
- Standing reach: 8´8˝
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.
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.