Bojan Bogdanovic: Brooklyn Nets 2014-2015 Preview

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Bojan Bogdanovic on Twitter
Height: 6’8″
Weight: 215 lbs.
Date of Birth: April 18th, 1989
Years Pro: 0
Before NBA: Fenerbahçe Ülker, Turkey
Drafted: 31st overall, 2011 NBA Draft
Nickname: Bogie
– Full Stats –

He’s no longer a distant mirage, visible only in grainy YouTube footage. After three years of waiting, the Nets finally pulled the trigger on Bogdanovic, and have hitched their wagon on his success coming sometime in the next three years to justify their investment in a youth movement.

The numbers don’t lie: Bogdanovic can flat-out score. In Europe, he was capable of creating an open look for himself anywhere on the court, whether it was in isolation, cutting to the basket, or out of the pick-and-roll. He’s a deadeye shooter inside and out, is comfortable posting up other guards or spotting up around the perimeter.

He has the shooter’s conscience, which is to say he has no conscience, and on a good night can quickly pile up the points against anyone. Just ask Kevin Durant.

Despite his young age, Bogdanovic has played professional basketball in Europe for a decade, opening his career for hometown youth club Zrinjski Mostar at 15 years old. He eventually joined Euroleague for one game in the 2007-2008 season for Real Madrid, before playing two seasons for Cibona Zagreb and three Fenerbahce Ulker, routinely ranking among the league’s best in scoring.

That’s not to say he’s coming out of the gate like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. I mean, only an idiot would say that.

He’ll have some adjustments to make to the NBA game. The basketball is different here, right down to the leather and seams. The three-point line is further — just ask Mirza Teletovic, who took a full year and a rotation spot from Jason Kidd to get accustomed to the 23’9″ NBA line. The stakes are higher in the NBA, and even assimilating to the culture of New York City might take some adjustment for Bogdanovic.

His biggest adjustment won’t be on the offensive end. Scoring is his bread-and-butter, but if he wants to stick in a starting lineup featuring three primary scorers, Bogdanovic will have to prove he can bring the energy on the defensive end. Coach Lionel Hollins has said repeatedly that defense will be a priority for Bogdanovic, who wasn’t known for his defensive acumen in Euroleague and now faces bigger, stronger, and more athletic challenges each night in the NBA.

Bogdanovic struggled with double-teams in Euroleague, which might actually benefit him in the starting lineup. If he’s running with lesser offensive players, he’ll see more double-teams, which will lead to turnovers. If he’s playing off the ball with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez, no one’s going to leave their man to double-team the fourth option.

The Nets want Bogdanovic to develop, if only to prove that re-signing Paul Pierce would’ve been a luxury and not a necessity. Though Pierce is primarily a power forward in his older age, there are strong similarities between his and Bogdanovic’s offensive game, and Bogdanovic has a real chance at taking Pierce’s shot in the team’s original starting lineup last year. If he can hold onto it, he’ll be one of the few crown jewels in Brooklyn that’s worth more than the price tag.

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