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Bogdan Bogdanović and Serbia place 4th as Eurobasket2015 comes to an end

Suns draftee Bogdan Bogdanovic goes home without a medal.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Serbia breezed through the first part of the competition, going 5 for 5 beating the likes of Spain and the 4 other teams in their group; Germany, Iceland, Turkey and Italy. And kept on breezing through their next two opponents; Finland and Czech Republic wining by 13 and 14 points respectively. Then they lost their groove in the semi-final against Lithuania. Serbia was out of tune the whole game, but the saddest moment happened in the end: with 14 seconds left on the clock and Serbia down by 2, Bogdan managed to get the rebound from Lithuania's missed free throw, take it all the way to the other end, run into traffic and miss the layup. Lithuania snagged the rebound, was fouled once more with 5 seconds remaining, split the free throws and then intercepted a pass on Serbia's next play ending the game at 67-64. Here's the game report with highlights.

Bogdan and his teammates were very upset after the loss since Serbia was flirting with an undefeated gold. Bogdan later told the press it was hard to describe the disappointment and none of them got much sleep before their game against France for the bronze two days later. If we ignore the 4 turnovers Bogdan had a good game. He led his team in scoring with 14 points (5/9) and at one point became unstoppable - scoring 9 straight points in 2 minutes, giving Serbia their first lead early in the 2nd quarter. Then gradually it went downhill. At the end of the 3rd they were down 14 and they didn't come closer than 9 in the 4th. Final score was 81-68. It didn't help that France was highly motivated to end the tournament with a win in front of their fans and at least get 3rd place, Spain having beaten them behind Pau Gasol's 40 point performance in the semi-final.

All in all I thought Bogdan had an ok tournament with some bright highs and some sad lows. (A Serbian friend commented he either saves the day or Fs up completely - she was probably still a little upset.) In 9 games he averaged 21.2 minutes per game, 8.9 points, 3.4 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 1.3 turnovers, had a total of 3 blocks and shot just under 40% - a very high 70% from 2 (14/20) and a low 27% from 3 (13/48). Coming of the bench he was 4th in scoring among his teammates and 2nd in assists, behind the 7.1 assists by one of my new favourite players Miloš Teodosić.

Bogdan's minutes and points, as well as his shot percentage were lower compared to last year's World Cup where he averaged 26.9 minutes and 12 points per game on 47% shooting, but his assists and rebounds both went up by 0.8 per game. Apparently he was dealing with some back pains in late August/early September but was cleared to play before Eurobasket began. I read a report somewhere that this might have hindered his penetrating ability somewhat. Honestly, he looked fine to me.

His performance got him on ESPN Insider's list of 10 players who might be heading to the NBA that stood out during the tournament and he was commended on his playmaking ability from the wing. Here are his full stats for the Eurobasket2015 tournament:

Warning: This part has nothing to do with Bogdan. I just need to rant for a paragraph. I sat down to watch the Serbia - France match for 3rd place Sunday at 2 PM Europe time when it was scheduled to begin. Tuning into our national program that had thus far transmitted all the Eurobasket games I found there to be a canoeing race/tournament? (I'm not savvy on the lingo) on instead. It turns out it was the first day of the Canoe Sprint World Championship and apparently that's more important than finding out who's getting the bronze at Eurobasket. I surfed through the 100+ channels at least 9 of which are sports, 2 of which are called Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 and none of them thought to transmit EURObasket (there's a bunch of curse words missing in that last sentence). Also, no stream anywhere. I did see that there would be a what they called "a premier viewing" of the game at 4.30. I took some deep breaths, calmed down and resigned myself to pretending the Internet didn't exist for the next 2 hours. I came back at 4.20 and had missed half of the 1st quarter. The genius behind this should be forced to watch their favourite team lose on buzzer beaters on repeat or miss the last turn badly or whatever's the equivalent of a buzzer beater in canoeing.

Oh, and Spain beat Lithuania in the Final.

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